Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sleeping Arrangements

Courtesy of Rumor Queen
Friday, April 07, 2006

I mentioned the family bed last time. That worked best for us, but it's not for everyone.

The important thing to remember is that it is very unlikely that your baby is going to sleep in the nursery by herself. It is possible, but it isn't likely.

I think the thing I have seen the most is people putting a twin bed in the nursery and then the parents taking turns sleeping on the twin bed while the baby is in the crib. The idea being that eventually the kid will be used to sleeping in there and they won't need to be in there anymore. I know of one family that has done this for almost a year. I know of dozens of families who did this for several weeks and finally just brought the kid to bed with them.

I also see a lot of people just moving the crib into the master bedroom. Apparently there are some small half sized cribs that some use for this.

Just remember that you are working on attachment. You want to teach the child that you will always be there. Always. She has to learn that it is okay to trust you to take care of her needs. So, don't start out on the twin bed and then go to your own room when the child goes to sleep. You don't want to teach the child you'll be there until they go to sleep and then you won't be there anymore.

My opinion on this is that as long as you aren't leaving the child alone when they don't want to be alone, and as long as you are there to help them get to sleep in a secure way... and as long as everyone (adults included) are getting somewhere close to having enough sleep... then I'm not sure that how you go about it really matters. Just do whatever works best so you can all get sleep and the kid is being nurtured by you and not being taught that you can't be depended on to take care of her at night.

We plan to do the family bed again - but if we have a child who flips and flops so that no one can sleep then we'll do the thing with the crib in the room. If I'm kept awake all night by a child who bashes into me every couple of minutes then I'm going to be pretty irritable the next day and that's not good either.

The one thing I see the most when people give reasons for not doing the family bed is that you won't be able to have sex. That is hilarious. No one with a new child has much sex unless they take off work and sneak home to do it in the middle of the day while someone else is watching the child. And yes, my husband and I are guilty of this. We both took off work two hours early and it was so worth it. We've done it several times, actually. I highly recommend it.

How much sex do you think the people who are taking turns on the twin bed in the nursery are getting? They aren't even getting the intimacy of sleeping together.

And, if the baby is screaming in the other room because she's alone and terrified, I certainly hope you aren't having sex while this is happening. And after she's done this for two or more hours and finally gone to sleep, I can assure you that sex is the last thing you'll be thinking about.

And then there is the noise factor. Even if you can manage to not yell, there is the noise of the bed moving around. You'd be surprised what will wake a kid up even when they are sleeping across the hall.

So, trust me on this. Don't make decisions on sleeping arrangements based on thoughts about having sex with your spouse.

Make decisions based on what your child needs.

(Note from Kimberly: Jeff and I have yet to decide exactly how we are going to do this. The family bed is not something that we are contemplating, for our own reasons. However, we are seriously looking into a co-sleeper bed idea, for at least the first few months. This bed is a 3/4 bed, no wall on one side. that attaches to our bed. The baby is within reaching distance, can see us and know we are there, but is not *right* in our bed. Everyone has their own "space". We will see how it goes. No one knows what is best, until they experience it. While we do want her to learn to sleep in her own room, we will follow her lead, depending on her needs, to see when this transition happens. It could also be that she is more comfortable in her own bed, in her own room. There again, we will see what she needs and go in that direction. We do, however, look forward to sleepy weekend mornings with all of us (including Max!) snuggling, chatting and sharing in our bed. What better way to spend a morning could there possibly be? ~May 5, 2007)

(Note from Kimberly: As it happens, at the moment, Emi is sleeping in her crib in her room. We did try to put her in the pack-n-play in our room but it seems that our night movements and noises disturb her. While she is not perfectly happy in her room, so far it seems to be the best fit we have been able to come up with. That said, if it needs to change we will change it. As always, following her lead. ~November 2007)

(Note from Kimberly: Well, sleeping in her room by herself wasn't the answer either. We decided to purchase a co-sleeper and have set it up on my side of the bed. Wonders of wonders, it's working! We may never get her out of our room, but right now we are all sleeping. And I have to admit to loving her right next to me. She loves waking up in the morning and seeing me/us {depending on the day}. She gets so excited. I am just sad that we wasted six weeks of sadness and battles that didn't need to be. I wish I had listened to myself earlier. ~January 1, 2008)

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