lesson #2.

Lesson #2 – When sleep is at stake, nothing is off limits.

Cosleeping. The very word makes me shudder a little bit. Before Everett was born, I always thought of cosleeping as something hippies did. I rolled my eyes at the term “family bed” and thought the whole idea was, to be quite frank, somewhat unhealthy. Not to mention dangerous. What if I rolled over on him in my sleep?! What if he suffocated against my pillow? What if he broke out of his swaddle and suddenly learned to crawl and crawled right over my body and fell onto the floor? I’m actually not the paranoid parent, but even I had a few concerns.

And then I went four straight weeks without sleeping and all hell broke loose.

We started off slowly. An hour here, an hour there. We’d take him out of his bassinet at 5:00am and into bed with us for the last hour when we were too tired to play the pacifier game (Everett cries, we get up, put pacifier in Everett’s mouth, get back in bed, pacifier falls out of Everett’s mouth, Everett screams, repeat). It was amazing how quickly he stopped screaming once he got into bed with us. Eyes closed, he would cry and cry until the second his tiny body hit the bed. And then? Silence. Golden silence. Sometimes he even SMILED. Brett and I would fall back asleep within minutes and we’d all get up between 6:00 and 7:00 totally refreshed. Okay, that’s a lie. More like, slightly less zombie-ish than we were at 5:00am.

After the first few times, we became more lax about it. Sometimes Everett would wake up at 3:00am and after five attempts to get him back to sleep, we’d give up and plop him down in between us. And every single time, he fell asleep within seconds. SECONDS! It was AMAZING. We had a super bed! With super powers!

And just like that… we became cosleepers (*shudder*).

And you know what? Sorry but I’m not sorry. We are all sleeping better. Everett’s happy, momma’s happy, daddy’s happy. Done and done. I know it won’t last forever. As soon as Everett learns to sleep through the night, we’re giving him the boot to the crib (mark my words). But, for now, I’m going to allow myself to enjoy these extra snuggles, sleepy smiles, and the sound of his sweet breaths next to mine.

Call me a hippie all you want to.

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39 Responses to lesson #2.

  1. Holly says:

    We coslept for the first month or so – I didn’t even know cosleeping was a “thing”, I just did it so we could all get some sleep 🙂

    • Erin says:

      I didn’t realize that was a “thing” either. While I don’t have kids, I’d just always had it in my mind baby was in my bed until.. 🙂 My parents did it, their parents may have done it. who knows. 🙂
      Erin´s last blog post ..The Goal: Morning Runs

  2. Kelly says:

    Girl…I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO. haha. Love the pic btw. So gorgeous!

  3. Lori says:

    I wasn’t vehemently opposed to cosleeping before E got here , but it did make me extremely nervous, for the very reasons you mentioned. And then we discovered that our bed had magical powers as well! E also loved to sleep on her side (which we wouldn’t allow when she was in her crib)and nurse that way as well, and it really helped with her gas issues, plus the snuggles were awesome. No judgement here!!!
    Lori´s last blog post ..Have I mentioned that I hate diaper rash?

  4. Lesley says:

    As we discussed last night, things would be a lot easier if we were sister wives and could just help each other out in situations such as this.

    Oh, wait. We didn’t talk about that. Do you want to talk through that idea? No?
    Lesley´s last blog post ..When I’m With You: A Video of Anna’s First Year

  5. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard this story!! And the same thing happened to me.

    “NO COSLEEPING!! DANGER!!” And then I realized, <a href="http://ourlittleapartment.com/2011/11/true-life-my-baby-slept-in-my-bed/"cosleeping was THE answer for us. I was less tired in those days than when we moved him out of our room!

    It’s funny how you think you’ll parent one way, and then end up doing what works for you. 🙂
    Ashley//Our Little Apartment´s last blog post ..West Virginia, Mountain Mama.

    • Ah! That link looks weird. Oops. Here it is.
      Ashley//Our Little Apartment´s last blog post ..West Virginia, Mountain Mama.

      • Ashlee says:

        Thanks for sharing, Ash! So true…I had it in my head that we would be the no-pacifiers-no-cosleeping type of parents and then BOOM. We actually had a baby and all of that went out the window. Learning more and more each day.

        • Nancy says:

          I’m reading some old posts because I was actually looking for your gift giving one, but this is soooo us right now! Our baby girl is almost 7 months old. 🙂 I was completely against pacifiers and co sleeping 100%, but you have to do what works. We also only do it for a few hours in the morning. Glad to know we aren’t the only ones!

  6. Christina says:

    Great post Ashlee! As we wait for our little man to arrive, I have pretty much vowed “never to say never” even though if everything magically went as I planned I wouldn’t complain! 😉

    It cracks me up (well now) when people offer unsolicited advice and say “do this” or “don’t do that” because at the end of the day different things work for different people.

    I think it’s great you guys are doing what works for your family and you should keep doing that! It’s also nice as a future mamma to read posts like these because of how open and honest you are with your readers. I know the road ahead won’t always be easy, but like I tell myself (and I know you have shared as well) once I’m holding him in my arms nothing else will really matter.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Ashlee says:

      It’s funny even when you “never say never” how you STILL think in the back of your head that you know how you’ll do certain things. I was also of the never say never variety, but had quite a few preconceived notions about pacifiers, cosleeping, etc. And the ironic thing is—I had all those thoughts before I actually had a baby….some even before I was pregnant! I swear becoming a mom has made me so much less judgmental. It’s a good thing. We’re all learning together 😉

  7. Amy says:

    I too was of the belief that my baby would never sleep with me. And then…I didn’t sleep for longer than 2 hours for months. Then one night, I brought baby to bed, side nursed, he fell asleep and I was back to sleep in no time. WIN! I think you are still in survival mode, and you need to do what you can to get by. People will judge and say this and that, but if it works for you 3 right now, it works. And , it’s prety darling seeing your soundly sleeping baby right next to you.

    • Ashlee says:

      I love that. We are definitely in survival mode at this point! And you’re right….Ev is pretty cute all curled up next to me in the mornings 😉

  8. Ana says:

    You should do whatever works for you! If that means you’ll sleep more, than what other say should not be important. And a lot of people co-sleep too.
    Ana´s last blog post ..Summer fun.

  9. Natalie says:

    Gorgeous picture! No judgement here, I would do the same thing 🙂
    Natalie´s last blog post ..We’re Homeowners!

  10. Sarabell says:

    I love the idea of those little crib things that attach to the side of your bed for “co-sleeping,” but not… because I can see where it’d be easier for everyone to sleep this way, but I’d also be terrified to roll over and squish him/her.
    Sarabell´s last blog post ..Check Out This Place 14

    • Ashlee says:

      It’s really weird, but I think when you cosleep you become HYPER AWARE of where your baby is. I also think it makes a difference whether or not you have a big bed. We have a Cal King and Brett and I tend to sleep on the edges so Everett has a good foot of space on either side of him. We snuggle in the morning and while I nurse him, but when we’re all actually “sleeping” none of us are even touching. I feel like it’s a lot safer than it sounds.

      • Brett says:

        “Brett and I tend to sleep on the edges” – just to clarify, we don’t hate each other. We just really love us some sleep. Before it would always be awkward when I had to do the tuck and roll to create some separation. Now, we have a mutual understanding 🙂

  11. Jen says:

    Absolutely, do what works! With Jessie I even got a special spit up/potty accident waterproof pad to go under our sheet, because the middle of the bed was her sleeping spot for about 3 years! Happy sleeping to you and the little man!!

    • Ashlee says:

      That is a really good idea. Our current mattress pad is stained with spit-up. Half from Everett and half from Brett. Kidding. Kind of 😉

  12. ToscaSac says:

    I am delighted to read that yet another mom is beginning this awesome journey learning as she goes. It is heart breaking to read and encounter people not learning through their trials and instead trying to make things happen that never will.

    My first thoughts as a new mom were that I wanted to breast feed and use cloth diapers. I wish I had heard about diaper less babies back then. We would have really been living on the edge.

    Labels like Attachment Parenting, Co Sleeping, Granola/Crunchy and Extended Breastfeeder or Homeschool to Unschool came much, much later.

    I was all alone so I had to figure out what my limits were and how I would handle stressful moments. It is all almost a blur right now. My “baby” is poised to get her drivers permit, first job and turn 16 all this year.
    ToscaSac´s last blog post ..Our July 4th 2012

  13. Beth says:

    Ashlee, I love reading your “mom” posts now! Thank you for your honesty.

    Before she arrived, I never even thought about having Juliette in the bed with us. In my head, I pictured “cute sleeping baby in frilly bassinet.” Then we brought her home from the hospital and she’s never left my side. Being a working mom, I couldn’t handle the sleep deprivation of my child waking every two hours or so in the middle of the night. Side nursing was a life saver and I could sleep right through it. Yes, mothers do become in tune with their sleeping child. You get on the same sleep cycle (this doesn’t always happen to dads, though, so be careful.) Anyway, what am I trying to say here?

    I know a lot of parents who did Babywise and loved it. I have also heard of Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child as another good book. Did I read any of those? No, so I can’t tell you if they worked or not. I did take snippets from the Happiest Baby on the Block. The swing was our life saver. Personally, I think I subconsciously became an attachment parent and just did what came naturally to my colicky, high maintenance child.

    My advice: Every baby is different, with a God given personality and temperament. Do what feels right to you, as the mom, and don’t be pressured into anything else.
    Beth´s last blog post ..Tricks of the Trade

  14. Laura says:

    So funny because I WANTED to cosleep but it didn’t work for us. Ellie sleeps and has always slept better by herself.
    Laura´s last blog post ..A love letter to Sacramento

  15. Mel says:

    Mom’s have to do what mom’s have to do. 🙂 I don’t know for sure what I will do once we have kids, but for the longest time I have said “no” to cosleeping. I am wondering now about that…
    Mel´s last blog post ..Dinner: Mahi Mahi

    • Ashlee says:

      I feel like you really can’t say “no” to anything before you have kids. And, even after the kids are born! Your “no” one day can easily turn into a “yes” the next day.

  16. Helen says:

    My son was always a cluster feeder even up to 5, 6 months old. And he was never a good sleeper. The worst was from when he was 5 month up to 10 month. He literally woke up every hour on the dot. Some nights he even wakes up every 20 minutes. Finally when he was 10 month old, we kept him in bed with us. He would fall asleep while stroking my face and he started to have lOnger stretches of sleep. Now he is almOst one and is finally sleeping through the night (well, we still wakes up but he will roll around and fall asleep on his own again). I think it’s natural for babies to want that securities. Sleep training is probably something modern people invented to make their lives easy.

  17. Kathleen says:

    My daughter is one now and she still sleeps with us. We are all happy and well-rested. She can fall asleep in her crib just fine so I’m not worried about the transition. I think the most important thing is to find out what works best for you, and know that it’s different for everyone.
    Kathleen´s last blog post ..Meredith’s First Birthday Party

  18. kelsey says:

    i’d love to know more about cosleeping and how it works! Rooney slept on me in our bed a few nights when she was first born, but i’ve read that her on me is more unsafe than if she had slept next to me. does E sleep in your bed, or in a cosleeper on the side? Roo slept in a rocker on the side of our bed, but RIGHT next to me…what qualifies as cosleeping?
    kelsey´s last blog post ..How We Get Rooney to Sleep So Much

    • Ashlee says:

      We only really coslept for a few weeks, from the time Everett was probably 4 weeks old to about 10 weeks old. We didn’t do it every night, but he was waking up multiple times a night in addition to feeding times, and we noticed he slept a LOT better when he was in bed with us. We have a Cal King bed, so it’s big, and we just put him in between us. Brett and I would basically sleep on the very edges of the bed and Everett ended up getting the most space. We usually brought him into bed sometime between 2:00am-5:00am, and more often than not, he would sleep fine until the morning. Sometimes I fed him at 4:00am, sometimes I didn’t. We started Baby Wise at 11 weeks and he started sleeping in his crib at that point.

  19. Ruthie says:

    I read this when you first posted but came across it again this morning when I was looking at your motherhood posts and all I can say is THANK YOU! I’ve been feeling guilty and a little embarrassed that we’ve been cosleeping (love the term sleep-sharing) lately, but honestly, it has saved my sanity! We all sleep so much better, I can nurse him without fully waking up, and I just love feeling his little body next to me.

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