Family Cuddles

There is nothing sweeter than waking up to your little baby girl snuggled up against you. It’s one of the many joys of parenting.

Looking back, before giving birth to Harper we never thought about her sleeping in bed with us. To be honest, we were not very familiar with the notion of attachment parenting or more specifically of co-sleeping. We registered for a crib, decorated the nursery and planned on her having her own room. And then she arrived. I didn’t want to put her down. I wanted to cuddle with her all the time. She had been in my womb for 40 weeks and it didn’t feel natural to have her lying in a plastic bin next to me. They strongly discourage co-sleeping in the hospital for “safety” reasons, so my husband and I would take turns sleeping, while the other would hold, hug and caress her.

When we arrived home from the hospital we had planned for Harper to sleep in her co-sleeper. It was a last-minute purchase we picked up when we began to learn more about attachment parenting. We knew we wanted her close by and thought the co-sleeper would be a safe alternative to having her in the bed with us. Plus, her crib was on back order so we figured it would be a useful temporary bed.

The first few nights were rough. Which is normal for all new parents with a newborn. But we started to notice some patterns. Harper wouldn’t sleep longer than 1 hour at a time in her co-sleeper. However, she would sleep for hours on her daddy’s chest, her favorite spot. Well, they say necessity is the mother of invention, and in this case necessity was the mother of creating a new environment to foster better sleep patterns for all parties involved. It wasn’t long before Freddie suggested that Harper move from the co-sleeper to the bed with us. Lucky for us we had a California King, so there was plenty of space for the three of us to be comfortable.

Harper began to sleep longer stretches but it seemed that she still was not comfortable. The new “safety” suggestions for babies is for them to sleep on their backs. But as I mentioned earlier, we noticed that not only did Harper sleep better when she was near us, but she slept better on her belly. We spoke to our midwives about it and they suggested we have her on her belly when she naps as long as we were keeping an eye out for her. The difference was night and day. As soon as Harper began sleeping on her tummy she would sleep for 8 hour stretches, and everyone, including Harper, was much happier.

Harper is approaching her 8 month birthday. And what I have come to appreciate about being a parent is that there are so many different ways you can accomplish the same result. Suggestions from books, doctors, family members and friends can be helpful when raising your children. But ultimately the decision is up to you. As a parent, I have learned that instinct and intuition drive the majority of my decisions, and they are always spot on. For our family, co-sleeping and belly sleeping were the solution to our sleep problems. In addition, as a nursing mother, Harper and I are able to accomplish nighttime feedings with little to no interruptions to our nights sleep. And the more we read about co-sleeping, the more we learned about the abundant benefits which helped to reassure us of our decision.

In hindsight, I am glad that her crib was on backorder, because at this point, it would have been a waste of money and space. We plan to co-sleep with our daughter as long as it is working for our family and we will approach (or not approach) the crib situation when the time comes. Until then, I am going to savor every moment with my little girl, whether awake or asleep.

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9 thoughts on “Family Cuddles

  1. Jennie says:

    Love this blog!!

  2. Annemar says:

    We are in the same boat on so many things. I, too, don’t apologize for how we have chosen to raise our baby, no matter what others might think. Burke has been in bed with us since day 1. I did decorate a nursery, get a crib, and all that before I ever knew what it was going to be like. Burke also has been sleeping on his tummy since he was born. ;) We just this weekend did some rearranging in our house….we got rid of “Burke’s” room and now have one room for sleeping and a new office. We moved his crib into our room and while he’s transitioned to sleeping more in his crib (since he now wakes up and starts crawling) he is still right next to me. I love our new arrangement but know that some parents have got to think we are nuts! ;)

    • inherchucks says:

      I love that you guys have the knowledge and the confidence to do what you think is best for Burke and your family. That is what it is all about. Harper is crawling now too and co-sleeping has gotten a lot more interesting. I like your idea of using the crib as a safety tool…might have to look into that…or putting our mattress on the floor…Harper sure is quick and hardwood floors would make for a tough fall. Keep doing what your doing…and follow your heart!

  3. […] them organize their nervous system.  Harper for one grew out of it very quickly as she started sleeping on her tummy, but for the short time she would take a swaddle, these blankets came in very handy.  The muslin […]

  4. Christina slept in the bed with us for ten months and then decided she wanted to finally use her crib, since then she goes in her crib (which has now converted to her big girl bed) at 8 30 pm and sleeps a good 12 hours. Now Hopey sleeps with us in our bed, and just like Harper she sleeps HOURS on her belly, and only 20 minute cat naps when on her back. I never leave her alone on her belly, but that is how she is most comfortable, now that she is older, if she is placed on her back she will roll over to her stomach to sleep. Christina was always most comfortable sleeping on her back. It is true that each child is different and that the best parenting tool is instinct, attention to the child, and CAREFUL loving attention to child at ALL times, awake or asleep.

    Last week our heater was broken so we had to put both babies in the bed with us (thank God for a King Cali Bed) But the week was full of snores and cuddles (and a few farts lol) but I will cherish those memories for a lifetime….no crib, no matter how expensive and nice looking, could ever give me the memories, comfort and bonds that are brought by co sleeping.

    • inherchucks says:

      Family cuddles are the best…especially with a Cali King! I am glad you are enjoying having the girls in your bed. There is nothing like it. I have a feeling Harper will be ready to go into her own bed before I am. She is very independent and always wants to do things on her own because she is a big girl. Crazy how fast they grow up!

  5. Astrid Henao says:

    WONDERFUL to read Heather – I too, have taken on the attachment parenting style of co-sleeping with Sophia and with Sam :) Sam is now 10months and he still cannot sleep nearly as peaceful as he can when he is with us. And being a nursing Mom also – it’s just the best. I love just snuggling up with my babies – it’s the most precious time to see them sleeping.

    <3

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