Crying in Our Family Bed

December 15th, 2011 by Dionna | 32 Comments
Posted in Ensure Safe Sleep, natural parenting

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Welcome to the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival hosted by Monkey Butt Junction. Our bloggers have written on so many different aspects of cosleeping. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I’ve sobbed a grand total of five times during my two weeks post-partum, and it’s all been about cosleeping. That doesn’t sound like a glowing endorsement for the family bed, but hear me out:

I’ve cried because I miss snuggling with Kieran.

We’ve been cosleeping with Kieran ever since we brought him home from the NICU. In fact for the first year or so of his life, he literally slept on my chest – he very rarely stayed asleep in a side-lying position, and heaven help us if I tried to lay him down somewhere I was not. Eventually he did start sleeping next to me instead of on top of me, and that is where he’s been for the past four years.

Four years. I have been snuggling up to that child every night – and for many, many daytime naps1 – for four years.

I’ve learned how to curl quite comfortably around a sweet baby’s-toddler’s-preschooler’s nursing body. I’ve heard every dreamy whimper and sigh. No matter how rough our days have been, as soon as Kieran surrendered to sleep I could let the frustration wash away by marveling at the ordinary miracle inherent in the rise and fall of my baby’s chest. Neither coughs nor colds nor vomit nor encroaching little toddler toes have made me wish our sleeping arrangements are different.

I never even considered the fact that once I had a tiny, frequently nursing newborn to care for, my nighttime snuggle time with Kieran would suddenly disappear.

And so I’ve cried, heartbroken that not only was I finding it hard to connect with my older child during the day, but I also could not count on that healing reconnect time that snuggling afforded us at night. This has been compounded by the fact that weaning draws ever closer – Kieran now nurses for less than three minutes a day before bedtime. And on several nights he has not nursed at all, falling asleep instead on the couch, or in bed rolled away from me, or once even on papa’s back.

To get back some of our snuggle time, we’ve started replacing his former nap time with “curl up and read time.” We always read before naps/bed anyway, so now we read longer and skip the nap. But we still read snuggled up under the covers – we’ve just had to put Kieran in charge of turning pages since my hands are full of baby. It’s a win-win solution – we get extra cuddles, and we all get some extra down time.

And if we’re really tired we take a quick cat nap, my two babies snugged tight into the crooks of my arms.

Right where they should be.

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Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival

Thanks for reading a post in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival. On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the #CosleepCar hashtag.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

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  • Emotive Co-Sleeping Campaign – Miriam at Diary of an Unconscious Mother talks about her feelings on Milwaukee’s anti-cosleeping crusade and its latest advertising campaign.
  • Why Cosleeping has Always been the Right Choice for My Family – Patti at Jazzy Mama shares how lucky she feels to have the privilege of sleeping with her four children.
  • Cosleeping is a safe, natural and healthy solution parents need to feel good about. – See how Tilly at Silly Blatherings set up a side-car crib configuration to meet her and her families’ needs.
  • Black and White: Race and the Cosleeping Wars – Moorea at Mama Lady: Adventures in Queer Parenting points out the problem of race, class and health when addressing co-sleeping deaths and calls to action better sleep education and breastfeeding support in underprivileged communities.
  • Reflections on Cosleeping – Jenny at I’m a Full Time Mummy shares her thoughts on cosleeping and pictures of her cosleeping beauties.
  • Cosleeping and Transitioning to Own Bed – Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine shares her experiences in moving beyond the family bed.
  • What Works for One FamilyMomma Jorje shares why cosleeping is for her and why she feels it is the natural way to go. She also discusses the actual dangers and explores why it may not be for everyone.
  • Really High Beds, Co-Sleeping Safely, and the Humanity Family Sleeper – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama gives a quick view of Jennifer’s bed-sharing journey and highlights the Humanity Family Sleeper, something Jennifer could not imagine bed-sharing without.
  • Crying in Our Family Bed – With such a sweet newborn, why has adding Ailia to the family bed made Dionna at Code Name: Mama cry?
  • Dear Mama: – Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares a letter from the viewpoint of her youngest son about cosleeping.
  • Cuddle up, Buttercup! – Nada of The MiniMOMist and her husband Michael have enjoyed cosleeping with their daughter Naomi almost since birth. Nada shares why the phrase “Cuddle up, Buttercup!” has such special significance to her.
  • Co-Sleeping With A Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler – Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how co-sleeping calls us to trust our inner maternal wisdom and embrace the safety and comfort of the family bed.
  • Fear instead of Facts: An Opportunity Squandered in Milwaukee – Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses Milwaukee’s missed opportunity to educate on safe cosleeping.
  • Cosleeping: A Mini-rant and a Lovely Picture – Siobhan at Res Ipsa Loquitor discusses her conversion to cosleeping and rants a little bit about the Milwaukee Health Department anti-cosleeping campaign.
  • Our Cosleeping Story – Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares her cosleeping story and the many bonus side effects of bedsharing.
  • Cosleeping can be safe and rewarding Christy at Mommy Outnumbered shares how her cosleeping experiences have been good for her family.
  • Adding one more to the family bed Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses the safety logistics of bed sharing with a new baby and a preschooler.
  • The Truth About Bedsharing – Dr. Sarah at Parenting Myths and Facts discusses the research into bedsharing and risk – and explains why it is so often misrepresented.
  • Cosleeping as a parenting survival tool – Melissa V. at Mothers of Change describes how she discovered cosleeping when her first baby was born. Melissa is the editor and a board member for the Canadian birth advocacy group, Mothers of Change.
  • Dear Delilah – Joella at Fine and Fair writes about her family bed and the process of finding the cosleeping arrangements that work best for her family.
  • CoSleeping ROCKS! – Melissa at White Noise talks about the evolution of cosleeping in her family.
  • Safe Sleep is a Choice – Tamara at Pea Wee Baby talks about safe sleep guidelines.
  • 3 Babies Later: The Evolution of our Family Bed – Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment talks about how her family’s cosleeping arrangements evolved as her family grew.
  • Tender MomentsThe Accidental Natural Mama discusses tender cosleeping moments.
  • Cosleeping Experiences – Lindsey at An Unschooling Adventure describes how she ended up co-sleeping with her daughter through necessity, despite having no knowledge of the risks involved and how to minimise them, and wishes more information were made available to help parents co-sleep safely.
  • The early days of bedsharing – Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her early memories of bedsharing with her then new born and gets excited as she plans including their new arrival into their sleeping arrangements.
  • The Joys of Cosleeping in Pictures – Charise of I Thought I Knew Mama shares pictures of some of her favorite cosleeping moments.
  • Symbiotic Sleep – Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children discusses how the symbiotic cosleeping relationship benefits not only children but also parents.
  • Co-sleeping Barriers: What’s Stopping You? – Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she was almost prevented from gaining the benefits of co-sleeping her family currently enjoys.
  • Co-Sleeping with the Family Humanity Sleeper – Erica at ChildOrganics shares a way to make co-sleeping safe, comfortable and more convenient. Check out her post featuring the Humanity Organic Family Sleeper.
  • Why We CosleepThat Mama Gretchen’s husband chimes in on why cosleeping is a benefit to their family.
  • Adding to the Family Bed – Darah at A Girl Named Gus writes about her co-sleeping journey and what happens when a second child comes along.


A big thank you to all of the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival participants!

  1. Kieran only dropped his last nap recently – on the day Ailia was born.

32 Responses to:
"Crying in Our Family Bed"

  1. Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction   MBJunction

    Changes like that are always sad. I love that you have found ways to work with what your family needs.

    Regarding your “cuddle up and read time” – Once I was old enough to read on my own, my mom instituted “quiet time,” where we would read quietly for 30 minutes before bedtime. We’d either read together, or we’d each read our own book. It made me nice and sleepy for bedtime and it really helped me learn to love reading. I loved that tradition – it made a huge impression on me growing up.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I’m so glad to hear that you have special memories of reading with your mom!

    • Terri   onelovelivity

      Oh I love this idea Jenn, I’m so going to do this when my kids can read. Right now my 3 yo reads her books to us (from memory not actually reading the words) and that is a joy!

  2. Fine and Fair   fineandfair

    Reading this choked me up Dionna! What a beautiful contribution to the carnival.

  3. mamapoekie   mamapoekie

    Oy… is that what awaits me? We still share a bed with our daughter, even though throughout this pregnancy, she’s been removing herself more and more often. She’ll either sleep with daddy on the couch, and she has spent a total of 4 nights in a single bed the past couple of weeks. I am completely heartbroken and feel so lonely whenever she sleeps alone…

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Sounds like it then! Hopefully it won’t be such a huge shock for you since she’s already sleeping separately now and then. Hugs!!

  4. Christy @ Adventures in Mommyhood   MommyOutnumber

    awwww, huge hugs to you mama!! I know exactly what you are talking about!! Teddy was not even 2.5 when Kimmy was born and I was so sad, I felt like I had abandoned him some how. BUT, that’s when he became really close to daddy, up until that point he had been a total mama’s boy and wanted me to help him do everything. Daddy became his nightly snugle buddy and Ted loved it! NOW, at age 5, when he wakes at night he is more likely to call out for daddy than mommy and when you have 4 kids that is just a beautiful thing hehe. “Sorry babe, he wants you and not me” :oP

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Awww, I’ve already thought of how sad I’ll be when K starts calling for Tom instead of me! And I will also admit to crying as I watched them snuggle up at night. {sniff}

  5. Oh how rough! We transitioned Sasha into her own little bed right next to ours months ago, but lately she has only been sleeping there for an hour or two per night.

    I worry about balancing my attention for her after Spencer arrives.

    Thanks so much for sharing this, it had me all teary-eyed, too. Good for you, finding a way to make it work.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I didn’t even consider moving K, b/c our bed is big enough that we didn’t see a need to (at least in the beginning). Maybe I should have done it to wean myself off the snuggle time ;)

  6. Trudy

    We are expecting #2 in July and I’m having major anxiety over the bed sharing issue since I have always cuddled my 14mo old and she still nurses very frequently thru the night. I know a lot can change in the next 7 mos but I’m curious to see if I will ever sleep again lol! Thanks for sharing this post :)

  7. Charise@I Thought I Knew Mama   ithoughtiknewma

    Aww… I so fear that lack of cuddle time with Baby when baby #2 arrives! What a great idea to have a snuggle and read time. I’m so glad you’ve found a way to keep up your cuddle time!

  8. I’ve often wondered what will come of my special bedsharing times with Burkley if and when another little one comes along. Especially considering we only have a full-sized bed. Of course I know there are other ways to bond and make bedtime special, but it’s also nice to see you make it work with two little ones! :)

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I would highly, highly recommend a bigger bed if you plan on keeping Burkley with you. Those toddler toes can be so pointy ;)

      • Melissa Vose   WhiteNoiseWoman

        I second that!! Big bed makes allllll the difference! We can (and sometimes do, though not so often anymore) fit six in a pinch. We have a king, too! =)

  9. Ruth

    I have always known that you would find new and wonderful ways to spend quality time and get plenty of loving and cuddling in with Kieran. And if you add a 3rd little Ford…you will just learn more ways to spread the love!!! You are such a great Mama!!!

  10. Yes, I think cosleeping changes when adding another little one to the bed, but often in a good way, as you start to see the emerging relationship with the siblings and THAT is heart-melting….

    -Kerry @ City Kids Homeschooling

  11. My babies never co-slept very well and we never had more than one in our room at a time, but the loss of cuddling time – I can so relate. I am so glad that it seems that you have found something that works well. I think that is a long process of change and shifting of what your day looks like to fit the needs of you and your little ones.

  12. Terri   onelovelivity

    I totally relate Dionna. I cried so much the first night we co-slept and my newborn’s cries woke up my toddler who would usually sleep through the night. She was crying for me so much (she was just 15 months at the time) and could not understand why her Mama was not able to give her cuddles back to sleep. In the end I had to move into another room for a few months so her sleep pattern was undisturbed. It was so rough for me leaving my baby girl (but at least she had Daddy) although it made it much easier for all of us to sleep. We are now all happily in one big bed and well snuggled!

  13. Oh Dionna… I feel for you, hope that if weaning does come for Kieran one day, it will leave a sweet sweet memory for you guys!

  14. Melissa Vose   WhiteNoiseWoman

    I got all teary, too! So bittersweet. It’s tough, watching them grow up, and also sometimes not being able to have or give something you wish you could, because of another little one. Someone needs to invent a way to divvy ourselves up temporarily, so we can literally be in two places at once. Not only for them, but also for US! =) I’ve been feeling some ouchies lately for my oldest, who is now nearly nine. He is so tall! And so independent! And not nearly so snuggly. BUT he is very interesting to talk to, so I often reassure myself that I didn’t lose anything, it just transformed into something a little different. We talk lots, and read together (side by side as well as me reading to him), and I listen to long monologues about things he is interested in, which replaces the cosleeping and etc that we used to have. Le sigh. It aches, really, and I don’t think that ache ever fully goes away.
    There are upsides, though! He showers all by himself! I can leave him in charge of a vanful of younger siblings while I go into Shoppers Drug Mart! And he teaches me things about Captain Underpants. There’s a character you don’t want to miss!!

    Lots of love to you and your sweet babies. I’m feeling for you! And hopefully as Ailia grows bigger you can steal back a few of those sweet Kieran moments… Your family is gorgeous. I wish you many happy snuggly nights. xxoo

  15. You will find your groove. While things will be different than they were, they will still be good. Chapter books saved me so many times as we transitioned to a new baby joining our bed and family.

  16. Isil   smilinglikesuns

    oh,that gulit when you feel when you have another baby. Sending big hugs to your way mama. I found that bit quite difficult,especially what with having no family nearby and having a very active second baby meant almost no one to one time with my first born.Oh well,after two years it’s getting better. xxx

  17. This is so pretty, Dionna. Bittersweet, but beautiful! Munchkin was also right next to me or on me for the first year, and he was (still is) a total thrasher in his sleep so it was rough. I just kept reminding myself that one day I would miss it. These days,I love having him near me at night, although I’m thinking seriously about night weaning(sigh). No matter what, I know I will miss these days when they’re gone. Book-cuddle time sounds so….yummy. I felt cozy just reading about it. What a lovely way to welcome a new era in your mothering journey :). Happy nesting!

  18. Erica @ ChildOrganics   ChildOrganics

    Oh those little ones and their snuggles, we need them as much as they need them!! You are not alone! I was really surprised how hard of a time I had falling asleep when I went to bed without my little one snuggled next to me!! Thanks for sharing mama!

  19. This is truly heartwarming post, I also did add another bed for my 5 year old daughter in our room after I gave birth to my son, Jacob. Anne is still not up to the idea sleeping in her own room, she is so attached with me that is why me and my husband, Daniel, decided to buy a new cute bed for her so that she can still snuggle with me and at the same time I can nurse Jacob. I don’t want Anne to think that her new brother is having all the attention and nothing is left for her. I want her to know that we love her as much as we love her brother.

  20. Melissa   VibrantWanderer

    Oh, Dionna. This is so sweet. At the moment I’m in the midst of working out what needs to change so that our situation will be workable when the new baby comes. It has me so focused on improvement, and on the inconvenient aspects of co-sleeping and night nursing, but you have reminded me that those are so very small next to the sweetness of being snuggled up with a sweet baby. Now I just want to go snuggle her!

    I’m so glad you’ve found a way to make up for some of the lost cuddle time, and I trust that a balance will come soon where you can divide your snuggles more evenly. You’re such an inspiration, the way you love those two. They’re blessed to be your children!

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