Determining where the baby sleeps is a decision every parent has to make. Neither my husband or I liked the idea of having the baby in our bedroom. We had talked to numerous people who had gone the co-sleeping route and still had their children in bed a few years later. That absolutely terrified us. We wanted our baby in the crib as soon as possible.
Before Hailey was born, we decided not to buy a bassinet – why buy something that we were only going to use for a such a short time when a laundry basket or a dresser drawer was sufficient back in the day? We made up a laundry basket by padding it up with towels/blankets so she wouldn’t have to sleep directly on the bottom. We figured we would have that in our bedroom for the first week or two and then we’d transition her to the crib. Piece of cake.
When I look back at this plan, I laugh. We had no clue.
We tried the laundry basket but Hailey had a plan of her own. She wanted to be in our bed, on our chest or right next to us. We kept trying to put her in the laundry basket but she would start crying the moment she was put down. When I think about it now it makes total sense. She was used to being inside of me and to totally separate right away was unfamiliar and scary.
The first night we had her in our bed I was so afraid I was going to roll over on her in my sleep. I got over that really quick. I put her on the bed beside me right near my tummy and slept facing toward her on my side. I figured that I had to wake up every time I wanted to roll over while I was pregnant so this was no different. I placed her exactly where my belly used to be and trusted that I would continue the trend of waking up to roll over. And I did.
I was also used to tossing and turning all night and having Hailey in our bed made me get used to sleeping in the same position longer. We slept with a small lamp on in our room so we could see her every time we woke up. She would either sleep curled up next to me or on my husbands chest. When we stuck her in the middle of us she would always shimmy over toward me and perch her head right next to by breasts.
While she was in our bed, she most commonly slept on her side and we got used to breastfeeding lying down. This was perfect because neither of us really had to wake up.
By week 3, I realized that I was very much enjoying co-sleeping and wanted it to continue. Alarm bells went off in my head. I still eventually wanted her in her crib in her own room and didn’t want to be blinded by my desire to have her next to me.
At the week 4 mark, all 3 of us had a rough night and Hailey rolled over onto her tummy. The idea of her sleeping on her tummy in our soft bed scared me. It felt like the right time to move her to the crib. The first night was a breeze. The second night was worse and that was the start of a rough couple of weeks with almost no sleep for me. Our instincts were still telling us that the crib was the better option so we stuck with it. We didn’t even consider going back to co-sleeping until my midwife suggested it just so I could get some sleep.
We live in a small house and Hailey’s room is also our guest bedroom so we still had a queen-sized bed in there. Instead of bringing Hailey back into our bed we would put her in the crib at the beginning of the night. If she was waking up too often then one of us would sleep in the guest bed with her. By 8 weeks, she was able to spend the entire night in her crib.
I’m so grateful that Hailey chose the co-sleeping option. It’s something we would have never initiated but it was extremely enjoyable. The biggest benefit by far for me was learning to breastfeed lying down. We still do all of our nighttime feedings in the guest bed lying down. I’m happy to just lay there and doze while she feeds. I’m also happy that she sleeps in her crib. I sleep much better without her next to me and sleeping by herself is a good skill to have.
I definitely plan to co-sleep with our next child.