It was not easy to make the decision to bed share, in fact I didn’t decide for sure until the day Billy was born. The books and internet, your parents, doctors, & friends are armed with very strong opinions on the subject. Below I’ll share why I choose to bed share, how it’s going for me, and some tricks/hacks that have made me feel like it’s safe so far and very ideal for me and Billy. Even if you don’t bed share, you may want to nurse in bed, allowing you to nurse baby to sleep during the day for naps without moving them. Either way, I hope some thing in here will click and help you on your journey.
I mentioned I didn’t decide to bed share until Billy was born. We had an unplanned, on the fly home birth and right after he was born 8pm, I nursed him on our bed, spent an amazing 2 hours with him. But then I left him at home with Dad to get a tear repaired at the hospital. Finally home at 2am, and we were alone with my angel. And I nursed him to sleep beside me – and there was just no way that I was going to try to pick him up and transfer him to bassinet. He needed sleep, I needed sleep, but I also needed him next to me to watch him sleep, to watch him breath, to soak it all in.
Before giving birth I had read most of “Sweet Sleep” from La Leche League. There are several “rules” to safe bed sharing. Before reading this book, I just couldn’t piece together the advice I had gotten from people – but this book made bed sharing seem approachable, safe, & possible. I highly recommend it to anyone thinking about having baby even nap in their bed.
Unlike the stories I hear from a lot of parents about sleep deprivation and exhaustion, I love the nights with my baby Billy. I share a queen size bed with him. He sleeps in the middle I sleep on his right side, Dad sleeps downstairs in another bedroom on another bed. My baby usually sleeps on his back or on his right side facing me. Sometimes, I put him to sleep in beginning of the night in the bassinet and then once he wakes up he spends the rest of the night in the bed. I love nights, they are the cuddliest. He wakes, we nurse, do a bedside diaper change or potty opportunity and back to sleep, repeat until the early morning when he’s a little more alert and wants to vocalize and hang out before taking another nap. I can’t imagine nursing baby, and then waiting another 20-30 minutes each time until he is dead asleep to put him down into his crib, sometimes having to start all over if he startles awake. The side lying nursing position keeps me in a semi sleepy state so that I can go back to sleep once he does.
I’m not saying it is possible or the right choice for you! There is a lot of information out there stating the dangers of bedsharing, and putting children to sleep on their sides or stomachs. You need to decide what is right for you, your baby and your family.
Tip! When babies sleep on their right side they are able to relieve pressure from gas, spit up, and even fart -something about how the body is designed and their airways. This means baby will be more likely to relieve discomfort, and less likely to wake up from gas.
Below is a pic of my set up and some “essentials” that have made my bed sharing easier.