Like any design-loving mother-to-be, I spent many hours perusing Pinterest looking at baby nurseries. I wanted to create a warm, gender-neutral room with a comfy yet stylish aesthetic. I put it all together and was so pleased with the result; I imagined reading stories in the white Acapulco chair, placing tiny folded outfits in the mustard yellow chest of drawers, and laying my contented sleepy baby into the lovingly painted grey cot.
Well. Hugo has never slept in the cot, we’ve read a handful of stories in the chair and the drawers are still filled with odds and ends. Oh and his bedroom was pretty much a storage room with a change table until he was eight months old.
You see, as my post 24 hours – the newborn phase details, we didn’t have one of those babies who sleeps all the time, even as a newborn. For weeks I diligently picked up my hungry/unsettled baby from the moses basket next to my bed and fed him on the couch in the lounge, keeping myself awake by reading blogs on the Ipad. Then it was a quick nappy change and back to bed - for an hour, tops. We'd mastered feeding lying down for day naps, so Hugo would come into bed with me at 5am. Then it became 3am, then finally 1am. We were both sleeping so much better together; it was a revelation. But of course, SIDS guidelines recommend against bedsharing, plus it’s just not the ‘done thing’ (in mainstream parenting circles at least). I felt I was doing something that was taboo, even though it felt like the most natural thing in the world.
So I got informed. If we were going to do this, I needed to understand the risks, how to mitigate them, and I needed Marcus on board. Thankfully, he was – anything to ensure I got the rest I needed – and he even built a beautiful side cart to give us more space in the bed.
I read Dr James McKenna's work on mother-infant sleep and the physiological benefits of bedsharing and how well it facilitates the breastfeeding relationship, and the many evidence-based articles on the Evolutionary parenting site, and I was sold.
These days Hugo goes to sleep at night on a king single on the floor in his room, and comes in with us when I got to bed. He feeds when he wants to overnight, and we all get a pretty good sleep – and a smiling, playful baby to wake us up every morning.
Bedsharing wasn’t something we set out to do, and it won’t be forever, but right now it works for us!