Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Roll Over, I'm Crowded!

We have co-slept with Kieran since the beginning. I had a bassinet that I tried to use a few times - he had none of it. Along with breastfeeding, co-sleeping is one of the most convenient things we've done as parents. We have never had to get up in the middle of the night to either make a bottle or leave the bed to tend to a crying baby, and that has been wonderful for our sleep. Now that Kieran is a toddler, however, co-sleeping is becoming more of a challenge.

For some reason, many toddlers have a tendency to flail and spread out in bed.
I am woken up several times each night because I feel Kieran flipping over and kicking Tom, so I wrestle him back over with me. Invariably, Kieran and I both end up crowding Tom by the end of the night, who has to fight for both bed space and the sheet. We have a queen size bed right now, but we have outgrown its usefulness.

Make yourself comfortable, kid!

 Consequently, we have been on the hunt for a king size bed. We think we have it narrowed down to this memory foam bed from Costco, but I hate buying a bed without being able to lie down in it first. If anyone has any experience with NovaForm from Costco, I'm interested in hearing your story. Personally, I wish we could just put another bed down next to ours. We could just have a room full of beds! But Tom is drooling over memory foam.

Why do we continue to co-sleep, you may wonder? Well, for many of the same reasons we started out that way. Here are a few of our reasons:

1) Convenience: like I said before, there was nothing easier than nursing in bed and falling asleep with Kieran. It took me a few months of nursing before I was able to do it in my sleep, but we have it down to a science now. And since we're still nursing to sleep (and many other times each day), it's still convenient to have Kieran in our bed.

2) Bonding: what better way to form a solid attachment to both parents than snuggling up with them every night? I can't tell you the hours Tom and I spent just staring in awe at the little life nestled in bed with us. Along these same lines, Tom can tell you that I hate sleeping without him; my thoughts on Kieran in his own bed are - why would he want to sleep alone either? He's just a little guy! I'm not forcing him into his own bed until he's ready.

3) Health: skin to skin contact is so essential for a new baby; it can act as pain intervention, it can help stabilize heartrate and breathing as well as reduce crying, it is an essential part of establishing a breastfeeding relationship, it completes brain growth/development, and more. I also felt more secure as a new mama having such close contact with my baby.

4) Sleep: all of us have gotten hours more sleep with Kieran in bed. As a baby nurses, the mother produces a special hormone which acts as a sleep aid for both mother and baby. It was easy for us to drift off during breastfeeding! And having Kieran in bed meant never getting up to tend to him when he was sick, wet, or just restless. (For the record, we also do not believe in "crying it out" or "Ferberizing" kids: it is psychologically and physically damaging to babies and is simply disrespectful to babies' needs. This blogger describes my feelings on CIO exactly.) And even though Kieran is in the midst of the toddler nighttime Olympics (a close cousin of the breastfeeding Olympics, by the way), we still get much more sleep than if we had to get up several times a night to go settle him back to sleep in a separate bed. Kieran simply doesn't sleep well on his own - and yes, we envy those parents who have the rare good sleepers. But it is much more common for kids (and adults) to wake up many times each night. (For a really quick lesson on sleep cycles, read pages 41-47 of the No Cry Sleep Solution, available in this Google Book Preview.)

Those reasons have been compelling enough to keep Kieran in the family bed. It may not work for every family, but we are quite happy with it. Well, if happiness includes a toddler's foot in your eye.

Have a restful evening,


  1. You guys could buy a bed the size of your room...trust me, you will always have a foot in your mouth. ;)

  2. Does the mattress have a guarantee on it? The cheapy memory foam we bought at Walmart (which we love by the way :) and was $280 for king) had a 30 day guarantee. If we didn't like it we could mail in a 1 foot by 1 foot section and get our money back.

  3. We got a Novaform (different model) from Costco earlier this year and generally LOVE it. It's gotten more challenging for me to get out of bed from the pregnancy, but I still sleep well in it.

    We went and tried out a Tempurpedic at JC Penney and I had been on a friends' Nova IRL. So if you wanna come try ours on for size...! ;)

  4. And Costco has an awesome return policy, although returning the Novaform would have been challenging (if you get one, you'll see what I mean). But we never looked back, so it didn't matter.

  5. If you end up with one of the beds, plan on allowing Grandma to come and check it out so I can start working on Grandpa for one of our own!!!

  6. Out of curiosity, when are kids who co-sleep generally ready to go it alone? Darin and I have had many discussions about what our sleeping situation will be once we have kids, and we both agree we aren't going to be using the CIO method, but I'm not sure either of us want to give up 'our bed' for two years plus. Is there a happy medium?

  7. Tonia - $280?!?! Wow. The Costco one does have a 20 year limited warranty, but who knows how much they'll actually cover.

    Michelle - I so wish I was close enough to come try your bed! I'm glad you like it though. I can see how they'd be difficult to get up from when you're very pregnant, but aren't they great on your back?

    Tammy - I think co-sleeping is so different for every family. Some people start the baby out in a separate bed and then bring him into the bed sometime in the night when he wakes up - maybe that would be a good compromise for you. Some people do actually have 2 mattresses laid side by side so there is some separation. Regardless, you're going to think about things entirely differently once you have a babe in arms ;)
    (To answer your question specifically, I've read somewhere that most kids are ready to mive into their own room around 4 yrs old. I'll have to find that source though.)

  8. No joke, our backs have never been happier.

    What's rough now is vacations. We stayed over at my parents' for the 4th of July and their guest bed was just awful. And I didn't sleep well on our "post-bar pre-baby getaway" in Santa Barbara, either. But apparently there are some hotel that have memory foam beds. (Yes, I looked into it!)

  9. No advice on the bed....I'm yearning for a better mattress, myself!

    But I wanted to ditto Kelly--kids' limbs seem to magically expand to fill all available bedspace as they sleep! :D

    And to Tammy: our "happy medium" has been that I start transitioning the kids to their own space (crib in our room) for naptime pretty early--around 3 months. This allows them to get used to the crib, and allows me to not worry about them rolling off when I'm busy. Around 9 months, I start the night by putting them in the crib, then bringing them to bed when they wake. Then at about a year (depending on the kid) I start to very gently/gradually nightwean, and by the end of that process the baby is generally sleeping all night (when they wake, I get up, give a drink of water from a sippy, rock, etc) in his own bed--maybe waking early morning to nurse and snuggle for a couple hours before we get up.

    Much as I respect "full-time" cosleepers, it doesn't work for me because I have a bad back and was always trying to guard the baby, which made me wake up very sore. But there are many ways to strike a balance that will meet your needs and also gently meet the needs of the baby! :)

    Dionna, I'm so glad I found your blog! Kieran is adorable, and getting so big! :D

  10. Thank you! I'm looking forward to perusing pictures of your little chunker too ;) Did I hear a rumor that you are in a new DDC?? I must go check this out!

  11. We're in the midst of our own Olympics. Eleanor starts the night in our bed, cribs it from the time we go to bed until she wakes and needs us, then 'nuggles until morning. I can't speak to the type of bed, but get the BIGGEST you can afford! Best. Investment. Ever. So glad to find you here ....

  12. Thanks for all the feedback, guys. I'm sure we'll have to figure out our own variation on co-sleeping, but it's nice to have some ideas - although I guess it's pretty far in advance :)