I have mentioned this briefly before, but we co-sleep. (this term still feels weird to use since I had no idea there was a special term for sleeping with your kids until I became a parent!)
When our twin boys were newborn (until 5 months), they slept in their own bassinets, beside our bed, until they outgrew them. Afterwards, they slept in their cribs, in their room, up till they were about 10 months. Around that time the boys were still not sleeping well from frequent sleep-regressions, and we were considering some of the many thought-provoking, but entirely too many different options, from online studies, professionals, and opinion-based anecdote. Little did we know that we would both come full-circle and do what our parents had done with us.
I am glad we didn’t co-sleep with them when they were little and fragile though. With my husband and I exhausted from being new parents of newborn twins and getting little to no sleep, we were concerned about our awareness when we did manage to sleep. Both of us were uncomfortable with having such tiny babies who couldn’t roll well beside us in our bed! After all, while we want to spend to close to our babies, we felt the risk of hurting them outweighed the need for night-snuggles.
Our boys started waking up many times at night around 8-10 months, and we tried sleep training briefly but it was not for us and it left us with traumatic experience. That’s when I said, why don’t I sleep with them to see if they sleep better?
I LOVE snuggling with my babies and I have napped with them on the floor or bed lots, so I thought I would enjoy it as much as the babies might sleep better. I am from Japan, where sleeping together as a family is extremely common. Especially when children are very young, the parents sleep in the same room as the babies. That’s how I was raised and I loved it.
We are aware of some of the controversies and risks of co-sleeping. When I was pregnant with my twin boys, my husband and I took a series of prenatal classes offered at a local hospital. It was amazing. I learned so much new information on giving birth, dealing with purple crying, breastfeeding, bathing babies, exercises to do before birth, postpartum depression, etc. And I also learned what NOT TO DO. We were told to NEVER sleep with our infants. (possibility of SIDS due to overheating, suffocating, and being rolled on, etc)
So, I am glad we waited till the boys were old enough to be able to roll away if they are in an uncomfortable position or get rolled on by the other baby, etc.
This wasn’t actually a huge change for me since I used to be in their room so often doing night time feeding for two babies (sometimes at different times) and settling two babies at different times. I admit, I used to fall asleep until morning with them in my arms on top of the thin play mat on the floor in their nursery. My back and shoulders couldn’t have taken that abuse for this long though.
When we decided to actually sleep with them, we had to think of options. We have two babies who move a lot in their sleep. We also have a cat who always sleeps with us at night. So five of us will have to fit in a bed. Our Queen sized bed is not big enough and it is too high to have babies on it since they might fall in the middle of their sleep.
So we purchased an extra firm, king size mattress that’s 4 inches thick to put down on their room floor.
The boys enjoy playing, reading and wrestling on the mattress as well as sleeping on it.
After bath time, we (if my husband is home, he will always help with putting them down for bed) read them books and we snuggle on the bed while we sing them many songs. Even when the boys slept in their own bassinets or cribs, we always always sang to them and that’s something I really enjoy doing. When we sing to them, they start to get sleepy and they eventually settle down to fall asleep. Once they are asleep, we come out of their room and tackle housework and other things (like blogging, working out, watching TV, etc) until it’s our bed time. Then we go into their room to go snuggle with them again until morning.
Due to some of the silliness and judgement that sometimes surrounds the differences in “Mothering”, I was afraid to share with other people that we sleep in the same bed with our children before. But this is what got our boys to sleep through the night, sometimes really well that they won’t wake up till like 8:30 am! This was the only option I was able to get any sleep. Because taking care of twin babies sometimes felt like “work” rather than “connection time” in the early days, they were left on the flour to play and entertain themselves, I could never get one-on-one time, and I felt like I never gave them the amount of skin-to-skin time that is “recommended “, etc… (I had to stop breastfeeding after 8 weeks) That often gave me a guilt as a mother. But after we started to sleep with the boys, I don’t have that guilt any more. They cuddle right up to me and I love it.
(the elephant blankets and custom baby window banner are from an Etsy shop called BlanketsETC)
The only question I have now is, what to do with their room now? The king size mattress is pretty big and two empty cribs are still in there too. I have some ideas of how to transform their room but I don’t want them to grow up and stop sleeping with us anytime soon either! haha!
Anyways, thank you so much for reading.
I just wanted to share our experience of sharing the bed with our children. There are so many ways to parent our kids and I think every way is right for each family. I have never experienced raising children that aren’t twins, so I am sure there are lots of different challenges for each and every family. I understand this so much more since I became a parent. I never truly understood how we have to play it by ear and how our strategy may change each day!
Have a great day!