When I started to reveal that I was pregnant to those around me, one of the words of advice I received was that I should not sleep with my baby. One of the people that told me personally knew someone who had smothered their baby while sleeping. At the time I took this piece of advice seriously and knew that was what I would do.
But… as time passed and my baby bump grew bigger and I did more research on the topic of bed-sharing, my opinion on the matter slowly began to form. I could clearly see the benefits that sleeping with my baby could have. Not just convenience reasons, but also because it would be more comfortable and reassuring to a baby to wake up by their mother’s side. It also just seemed to make sense, considering how other mammals do this.
The night I gave birth to Lilah, she slept soundly between Justin and I. The next night we stayed at his parents house, and since we didn’t have anything for Lilah to sleep in, we were given a warning before we put her to sleep between us. The next day, his parents brought a used bassinet into the room in which we were staying. A kind gesture of course, but only a few minutes after placing my little girl in there, I couldn’t bear it. I needed her next to me. So I scooped her up and put her next to me in the bed. By the way, this mattress we slept on was definitely not made for two people and a baby, so in order to feel somewhat safer I ended up sleeping with nearly half my body teetering on the edge of the bed.
When we finally took Lilah back to our place, she continued to sleep with us. This was nice but I still hadn’t mastered the side laying nursing position and I was still using a nipple shield at the time because of latching on issues. Any sort of fear I had that I would smother my daughter was dying since I wake up every single time before I move or switch positions. I am positive that sleeping with a gigantic belly to shift around for months helped me develop the habit of constantly waking to move.
We never took the bassinet with us but after about 6 weeks I was finally ready to truly try letting Lilah sleep on her own in there. I missed being able to cuddle with Justin, and I didn’t feel this was possible because in order for Lilah to sleep next to me, I only feel satisfied if I am facing her he whole time. Talk about having a sore side, but at least I can fall asleep knowing my little girl is alright.
Now the sleep situation is great, with her sleeping in the bassinet only during naps. I know when Lilah is tired and ready to sleep for the night. Night feeds are easy since I don’t have to get up out of bed, and I can fall back asleep much easier too. Waking up every hour to check on Lilah when she was in the bassinet was just too ridiculous to keep up with at sleeptime.
It is a shame that in this culture it is mainly looked down upon to sleep with your baby. I can’t understand the whole sleeping in a separate room thing either. I believe that as long as you take the proper precautions, that sharing a bed with your little one is a wonderful experience.