RSS Feed

Tag Archives: co-sleeping

Family Bedtime: The Oldest Sleep ‘Trick’ in the Books

“When do your kids go to bed?”, I get asked frequently.

“Well, usually, we all just go to bed together, around 8 or 9 o’clock.”

This conversation usually raises some eyebrows! But, ever since my oldest was a baby, my family has slept in the same room. My kids have never had to go to sleep on their own. I bet you’re wondering if my husband and I are human… Ha! Yes, well sort of (what’s normal anyway?). We are busy with work and things we like to do.

If one of us has work to do at night, we take turns being the one to go to sleep with the kids. Occasionally, we both find ourselves awake after the kids have gone to sleep. But, at least a few days a week, the whole family crashes in bed, at the same time, in one big sleepy heap, on our two mattresses on the floor that are smooshed together.

And it’s awesome.

I’ve never had to chase my kids back to their beds because they sleep IN my bed. It’s actually so easy, I honestly can’t understand the fuss over bed time that our society has created.

The idea of having to chase kids back to their bedrooms, or reassure them in the middle of the night that they can be brave enough to sleep in their own room… sounds like a lot of work!

Family bedtime is so easy. Little kids won’t want to stay up if their parents are asleep and the whole house is dark. Believe me, if you announce you’re going to sleep, most kids will follow you. Little kids want to be with their parents at night, it’s really natural. It’s dark. It’s scary. I don’t like being in a dark room alone… why would a child?

Family bed time means my husband and I get more sleep because we go to sleep at the same time as the kids. The times when we do put the kids to bed and then stay up for a little living room ‘date’, are fun and all, but it can be such an effort! To have to peel ourselves up from that sweet cloud of children’s sleep, is no easy feat. When we do stay up late, we end up staying up way too late and wake up the next morning feeling pooped!

Kids go to sleep faster when the whole family goes to sleep at the same time. It doesn’t take long for kids to drift off when everyone is falling to sleep at the same time. But, if I’m sitting there waiting for them to fall to sleep, it can take AGES for the kids to fall to sleep! Kids feel the energy of you doing the agonising ‘wait‘ for them to fall to sleep! The longer it takes for them to drift off, the more resentful the parents get. The more resentful we get, the more our kids pick up on our vibes and it then it takes them even longer to fall to sleep!

Family bed time creates this beautiful sleepy energy that takes over everyone. I love the feeling when I know that this is the end of the day. Nothing else to do. I sleep next to my 2 year old son, he’s so warm and cuddly and I can feel when he drifts off and then it’s my body’s cue to do the same. Ahhh…

I’ve read a lot of parenting books, and almost all of them have dedicated entire chapters to bedtime strategies (actually, some books are ENTIRELY about sleep). How to get kids to go to their beds, go to sleep and stay there until a reasonable time in the morning…

Elaborate bedtime routines, sticker charts, bribes, systematic ignoring of crying… you name it. One particular popular parenting book I read, which I don’t even want to mention the name, suggests that it’s ok if your 4 year old child cries for 1-2 hours at night alone in their bed, as long as they’re physically ‘ok’ because you can just make up for it by positive parenting during the day. *facepalm*. The book gives the reader the message that under no circumstances should let your child into your bed, otherwise, God knows WHAT bad habits might form! (forgetting that children have been sleeping next to their parents since the beginning of time).

I sigh… as I snuggle close to my babes, I feel sad… What an effort it must be to follow the advice in those books!

And, for mornings, once a kid is awake, there’s not much else you can do about that. We get up too, but remember, if we went to bed early, it doesn’t matter as much. If your child is waking up really early and won’t sleep without you glued to their side, there are some things you can do, and I can save that for a later post!

Time goes really slow for a child, so if they’re sitting there at night or in the morning, waiting to be allowed to get up out of bed, even if it’s only half an hour, that half an hour can feel like an eternity for them!

Family bed time and family beds are so beautiful and easy. At the time of writing this, I have three kids, 8 1/2, 6 and 2. My 2 year old sleeps next to the 8 year old. I know that sometimes the little guy rolls into her. I asked her, “Does it bother you when he bumps into you at night?” She said, “No way! I love him, even if he bumps into me, I just wake up for a second and go back to sleep, because he’s sooooo cute!” We found an arrangement that makes everyone happy

Despite the fear that bed sharing will inhibit your child’s ability to be independent, some people (like me) would argue the opposite. That when a child feels safe and secure both day AND night, they will become every more confident and have less to worry about. For us, family bed time has been so easy. Yes, they are some of logistics to figure out, like, how do you and your husband ever have sex (well, we have three kids, so don’t be silly and look at India, they roomshare and they have a population of 1 billion people), and what happens if one wakes up crying, pee in the bed, etc. These are all real legitimate concerns and I think the answer is different for every family. And sometimes, one parent really cannot put up with room sharing, so then you have to accomodate for that in order to save your relationship. But, guaranteed, after a little trial and error, everyone finds some sort of system that works where needs for connection at night can be met.

Some nights (and these nights are rare), yes, we are all up because somebody got sick or there was a problem or something. But, 99.9% of the time, it’s beautiful cuddles. My kids feel safe and secure knowing that if they wake up at night for anything at all, somebody will be right there to help. And, I actually sleep better, knowing that everyone is safe and next to me! And, best of all… it’s all very VERY easy.

Disclaimer: If you’re going to bedshare with an infant, please make sure you read proper co-sleeping guidelines. Never sleep with your child if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Young babies should sleep on a firm surface, away from any cracks, blankets or pillows or anything that could obstruct their airway.

Co-Sleeping: The Sleep Bomb

Posted on

IMG_6744Something beautiful and cozy and snuggly happens at least once, and usually twice a day in our house. A giant warm fluffy sleep bomb goes off at bedtime and for naps. It’s glorious and enticing. My kids get excited for sleep. We jump under the covers and giggle and cuddle (and hope that nobody farts). We talk about our day and say silly things. Maybe read a book or two. We talk and giggle some more. Then, usually, right when I start to get comfy, someone will shout out that they have to go to the toilet… sigh… up we all go. To the toilet, and then jump right back in bed, where we can cuddle again.

Read the rest of this entry

Dry Through the Night: Elimination Communication with a Newborn

Elimination Communication baby poo

Ahhh… thanks mom! I really had to go!

Some would call me a mad woman! Who bothers taking their newborn to the potty in the middle of the night?! Well folks… I do. (Actually, I use a bucket). And you know what? She stays dry all night long.

Read the rest of this entry

Writing About Co-Sleeping, Because I Can’t Go to Sleep

Posted on
Co-Sleeping

Do you see something funny about this picture?

Well, I ate too much for dinner and now I have heart burn, I may as well stay up and write this post on co-sleeping until the food goes down a bit (36 weeks, no room to pig out anymore).  The Jewish superstition sort of goes against buying anything for the baby before it’s born.  My 80 year old Jewish grandmother told me that she made a makeshift baby bed out of a dresser drawer when she brought her first home from the hospital in the 1950’s, and Art’s 80 year old Jewish father recommended that a camera bag is usually big enough for them to sleep in.  He said, ‘Don’t buy anything until you’re holding that kid in your arms!’.  So, we just decided to hold off.  We really didn’t have the room , or the money to buy a crib or bassinet, so it was okay anyway.  We bought this thing called a Tetra cot, sort of like an au-natural bassinet made from tea tree bark, just as a of last resort thing.

Sometime just before I had Margo, I was reading that stupid book, ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’, it’s ok for the basics and I have to say that I had a good laugh or two while reading it, but really, now that I’ve been through it, I wouldn’t recommend that book to anyone.  Somewhere in it, it talked about this thing called co-sleeping.  Mostly it talked about how dangerous co-sleeping is… and I thought to myself, well, now…. co-sleeping, that sounds like a pretty good idea actually!  I had never ever heard of allowing a baby to sleep in the same room as you, let alone in the same bed!  What did our cave ancestors do?  Surely, they didn’t put their precious offspring on the other side of the cave to freeze or be eaten by the lions?  Did they?  And, wouldn’t it be easier to just roll over and feed a waking baby rather than roam around at night into another room to get a crying baby?  And, wouldn’t that little babe feel a bit safer if it was right near its parents?  Of course, babies who sleep in separate rooms now a days don’t know that the lion isn’t coming to get them,,, but how do they know it’s the year 2012 and we have four walls around us? Hmmmm…. a strange, unconventional idea was brewing in my head.

So, that’s how the co-sleeping started.   Read the rest of this entry