This is going to be a bragging post. We have the best night time set up I could imagine. I sleep wonderfully, and so do Mr. Fair and Little Man. You’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise if you’ve read my recent posts about the flack I get from family over baby night-wakings. You see, the flack-givers don’t understand what attachment parents do: that night-waking in a family bed is barely waking at all. It goes something like this: baby rubs nose, mom angles boob at baby’s face, baby latches, mom’s asleep again. It’s actually so easy, that most nights I couldn’t even tell you how often it happens. At least twice, but beyond that… who knows? Gotta love that family bed.
Except, I’m not sure it is a family bed. You see, we split up our family bed – which consists of two queen mattresses – into two different rooms. Ya, that’s right. He sleeps in his own room… and we sleep in our own room… but we all sleep together. Confused yet?
So this is how it works. We put Little Man to sleep in his bed, in his room. Then I get my off time. Woot! From bed until about midnight, Dad is in charge. There’s usually one wakeup before I go to bed – or round about the time I’m going anyway. But since Dad is in charge, he goes in to snooze with Little Man. I go to bed in our room, and some time in the night – lately it’s been midnight like clockwork – Little Man wakes up and decides that Dad is no longer cutting it. It’s booby time.
Now the musical beds start. Dad usually heads back to our room, and I nurse the Hungry Man. Most nights, I’m so sound asleep before he’s done nursing that that’s where I stay all night and Mr. Fair joins us for morning cuddles before he heads off to work. But some nights, I’m still awake after he’s drifted back off to sleep, so I decide to head back to our room. Some nights I feel like I want that night-time autonomy, so I stay awake on purpose. That’s the beauty of our divided beds, you see. I can choose where to go.
There are also occasional nights when Little Man gets restless and won’t settle with me. It’s usually a vicious cycle of wanting to nurse but being full, so he unlatches, but he wants to nurse, but he’s full… ad infinitum. On those nights, Dad comes back in, and I head to our room. Presto.
It might sound complicated, but it works remarkably well. We get to strike the balance of sleeping together, while having the chance to sleep separately when we want or need to. Little Man is used to being in his bed in his room, so if and when we want to transition to sleeping less with him and more together in our own bed, I know it’ll be easier. Best of all, it lets me balance my two sleep priorities: that I get as much sleep as possible and that Little Man’s needs always be met. We get what we need, so we aren’t your typical parents complaining about being exhausted. He gets what he needs, so he isn’t your typical toddler stalling bedtime because he dreads being isolated all night.
But I’m still not sure I’m really allowed to call it a family bed. Oh well, I’ll just call it awesome!