Co-Sleeping: Keeping Him Close

After years of not writing anything besides to-do lists and facebook posts, I decided to start writing again at 4am on April 3, 2016. I literally woke up and started making notes on my phone. I’m not at all trying to give advice, tell you how to do anything, or tell you how right I did everything. After years of reading other peoples blogs I decided to share how we do things in my family.

I started thinking about writing blog posts again after a friend, who had recently had a baby, asked me how I get Maddox to sleep through the night. We messaged for hours back and forth talking about everything from his bedtime routine, to what time he goes to bed, to how he falls asleep to where he sleeps. Then a few months later another friend and I had almost the exact same conversation. Full disclosure- I admit that Maddox sleeping so well could have absolutely nothing to do with anything we have done. He may just be a great sleeper! We’ll see when Marlow comes. I may be writing a whole new ‘Help! I have no idea what to do’ post. With that being said, here’s what we did with Maddox.

From the time Maddox was born he has slept with us. In the hospital he slept exclusively on my or Josh’s chest. When we brought him home, the first couple of weeks were a mix of various sleeping positions. The first few days he was mainly sleeping at night on my chest while I was propped up with pillows (I was in the middle of our king bed). I didn’t want to put him down and he seemed so comforted and calm sleeping on me. Then he began sleeping on the bed between Josh and me. We gave him a good amount of space to himself and were more of a barrier between him and the end of the bed. He also had no pillows or blankets near him. This set up made it really easy for me to nurse him at night. In the beginning when he woke to eat I would wake up and place him on a nursing pillow. After he and I were more confortable I would just roll over and nurse him on my side so neither of us really had to move much and we could easily roll back over and fall back asleep after. I really think this set-up is what kept our entire family well rested! Most nights Maddox never really “woke up” to eat. I could feel him starting to stir and as long as I got to him quickly I could nurse him back to sleep before he made a sound or opened his eyes. At times it was more comfort nursing than actual hunger. As time went on there were even nights I would wake up and find him nursing without me even realizing it. He just found his way himself. This system went on pretty consistently for about 6 months and slowly tapered off. Since neither of us were fully waking up for his feedings I never felt tired in the morning. And by age 1 he rarely woke at night to nurse at all.

During the first few weeks or so Josh and I were super cautious about our co-sleeping. No pillows or blankets near Maddox. If Josh or I was super tired we slept on the opposite side of the bed and put pillows up so we wouldn’t roll near Maddox. We also used Maddox’s bouncy seat a few times as well. We set the raised, soft lounging seat on the bed in between us and buckled him in (I also did this a few times when I needed a nap).

I always knew I would co-sleep. My mom co-slept with us and it just seemed like the right thing for me. Josh and I talked a lot about co-sleeping before Maddox was born and I think he had the attitude of “I trust you and lets see how it goes.” We knew we didn’t want him to be far from us, but we debated whether he would be in bed or in a cradle near our bed. We set up a crib in his room, a cradle beside our bed, and pack-n-play in the living room because we were new parents and really had no idea how any of this was going to go. We just knew we wanted to follow our instincts as parents and Maddox’s natural instincts as a baby. And that’s exactly what worked for us. “Crying it out” or “sleep training” was never an option for us (I’ll post later about our reasons why). We loved co-sleeping and have continued to co-sleep with Maddox. We always wanted Maddox close to us and he seemed equally as comforted in knowing we were nearby. No sleepless nights, no running to his room to get him, no fighting over who’s turn it was to get him, and most importantly no screaming and/or crying baby. I highly recommend trying things until you figure out what works best for you and your family. We had no set expectations or “goals,” except for all of us to get some sleep! This is what worked and continues to work for our family. However, I know that no two babies are alike so let’s see what works with Marlow.

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