I learned very quickly how important (and hard it could be) to get a good night’s sleep with a newborn baby in the house. I realize that people have many different ways for getting their kids to sleep through the night, and I believe that if something works for your family, then that is what is most important. We all just need our sleep, right? In my house, I found that a co-sleeping strategy worked best.
I had a different experience with each of my children when they were learning their sleep routine. When I had Mason, co-sleeping just kind of happened naturally so I quickly embraced it.
As a new mom, I did my research to explore the benefits of co-sleeping and how I could most safely continue to co-sleep in my bed. I used this DockATot, which gave me peace of mind knowing my baby was safe and protected by this comfy barrier, so that he had his own space in the bed away from mom and dad. Scott and I always kept it in the middle of the bed with each of us on either side to prevent Mason from rolling off the bed. Because we did so much traveling when Mason was a baby, and I took him everywhere with me, I also traveled with the DockATot. I found that as long as Mason was next to me, he adjusted to ANY time zone and slept 12 hours. This approach worked best for our lifestyle.
When I had my daughter Penelope, I made the decision that we were going to co-sleep (where with Mason it just happened). When I was pregnant with P, I read The Attachment Parenting Book by Dr. Sears and really related to his point of view on the sleep method. He’s known for defending shared sleeping and clearing the stigma that it’s a dangerous habit. “Instead of making parents afraid to sleep with their babies, a more contemporary approach would be to teach parents who choose to co-sleep to do it safely,” he explains on his site.
The sleep dock I mentioned earlier is a great way to practice responsible joint sleeping. During this time, Mason was still in my bed most nights. I remember going through times of trying to get him to sleep in his own bed. Many nights he would start off in his room and make his way into ours. I eventually embraced a family bed and followed his lead for when he was ready to sleep in his room. When he was seven, he started sleeping in his room on his own.
When I gave birth to Reign, I decided to have him sleep in his own room from the start. The decision was for the good of my relationship. With two kids in my bed, Scott had begun sleeping in the guest room, so I made an effort to try and get Reign to sleep in his crib. I actually spent the first two months sleeping in a bed in his room, as I was up at night nursing.
Then at three months, I started sleeping in my room again. He is my only baby who has always slept in his own bed in his own room. We didn’t use any training methods for him. By 2 1/2, he started sleeping through the whole night without waking up for the most part. He still gets up and comes to my room sometimes, and I walk him back to his and give him a gentle back scratching and lullaby to get him to fall asleep.
Some of the advantages of shared sleep for my family included a better and longer night’s sleep and more time together as a family. As a working mom, if I didn’t have much time with my babies during the day, at least I knew we’d have our nights together. Penelope is now the only one who still sleeps with me sometimes, and I love when she does.