This bed’s not big enough for the three of us

“Then when we have another baby that one will sleep between me and the bed rail and Talitha will sleep between us. Or maybe she’ll sleep on a mattress next to the bed. I don’t know.”

“Wait, what? She’ll still be sleeping with us?”

“Umm, she might be.”

“No she won’t.”

“But she might.”

“But we don’t have a big enough bed.”

“We could buy a bigger bed.”

“Or we could buy her a bed.”

We are getting a bigger bed. My in-laws aren’t giving it as a donation to the co-sleeping cause but I can’t wait.

There has never been enough room for the three of us in our bed. When she was a newborn, we stayed well away from her – terrified that we might squish that fragile frame.

She has mostly slept between me and the rejected cot, which acted as a bedrail. Now that she is strong enough to kick the cot away from the bed, she sleeps between us.

The cot sulks in the corner, knowing it will only hold this tiny human for the first three-hour sleep of the night. Then madam demands to be where the action is.

This so isn't where I sleep

It’s been magic mostly not having to get up at all in the nights. She stirs, I flop a boob her way and within seconds or, at most, minutes, we’re asleep again.

But now she sleeps between us star-fished while we are consigned to the edges, fingernails gripping duvet so we don’t to fall out.

Ok, it’s not quite as bad as that but I can’t work out why it suddenly feels like there’s even less room in the bed.

It could be because we didn’t expect at almost 9 months to still be co-sleeping. That can’t entirely be it though because before she was born we’d never intended to bring our baby into bed.

I wrote a post about how reluctant I was about doing this but how unwilling I was to sacrifice the sleep necessary to do otherwise.

I worried that it would wreck our marriage, make our baby overly dependent, risk her safety, cause the universe to implode.

It was on the long list of things only weird parents did like breastfeed beyond a year. By the time she was born my mind had changed about extended breastfeeding but not about sleep sharing.

I’d never expected that eight months down the line it would feel so sweet, so cuddly, so normal – even when she pokes fingers up or nostrils to wake us up. Life as we knew it is still in tact – in fact it’s better. But darn it, I need some more space.

We need more space. We have different opinions of what this means. I know that he’d be fine with putting her to sleep in “her” room tomorrow. I’ll admit, I’m not ready for that, mainly because I don’t think she is.

Call me soft. I call it instinct and have only made one parenting rule for myself, never to override it.

This is the baby who so was so insistent on being with me that the night she was born even the midwives in the hospital agreed that she needed to be in a cosleeper instead of a cot. Born at 9pm, we finally drifted off together at 5am.

To be honest, I just wouldn’t even know how to make the transition. I have little impetus to think about it because the six-month landmark has come and been. For all his talk, I’m pretty sure Laurence doesn’t have any specific age in mind anymore either.

I’ve heard that parents in Japan share sleep with their children sometimes until the age of ten. I’m pretty sure he’d say: “Well, not that.”

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43 Comments

  1. Laura
    February 27, 2012 / 8:25 am

    We bought a super king bed a couple of years ago. It is fantastic! Our 20 month old usually comes in with us from about 3am and our 4 yo comes in for a cuddle when he wakes up. And there is still plenty of room. Bliss. Laura x

    • February 27, 2012 / 7:41 pm

      I’d love to have known beforehand that a bigger bed would count for a lot more than a cot or Moses basket! That’s so cute that he comes in for a cuddle.

  2. February 27, 2012 / 9:12 am

    My 3-year old goes to sleep in his own bed but every night around minight wanders into ours for the rest of the night.¬† So far it’s still cute. (most of the time ūüôā¬† His 7-yr old brother sleeps in his own bed so I figure the little one will be ready to let go one day as well.¬† I’m definitely NOT doing the Supernanny screaming method to make him stay in his own bed.

    • February 27, 2012 / 7:40 pm

      Leaving them to cry just doesn’t agree with my instinct so I’ve decided not to do it though I must admit I’ve been tempted when tearing my hair out for daytime sleep! I guess with your three-year-old coming into bed but seven-year-old not it means you get to enjoy the closeness with one of your children while seeing the end in sight.

  3. February 27, 2012 / 9:13 am

    We roll with what the girls need – if it’s sleeping with us then fine, if not then also fine.¬† We have started bedtime routine and trying to put them down in their own beds but if they want to sleep in ours also ok

    I’m fairly sure they won’t both be in with us in another 10 years…And saying that Bigger slept in her own bed all night last night

    • February 27, 2012 / 7:35 pm

      You are so chilled about your arrangement, I love it. It’s inspiring as well because you go out to work so it’s not as if a disturbed night doesn’t have a domino effect.¬†

  4. February 27, 2012 / 9:29 am

    I think you have to go with the flow. We’ve had the odd night (on holiday etc) where F has been in the bed with us because she’s refused to sleep in her travel cot. It’s always ended with the husband asleep on the floor or the sofa though. Generally, F likes her own space when she sleeps so she goes the whole night in her cot. She’s such a fidgety sleeper I like it that way – whenever she’s in the bed I often get a kick in the head or find myself hanging off the edge!¬†

    • February 27, 2012 / 7:33 pm

      The fathers seem to struggle with this sleeping arrangement more than the mothers do. I wonder why. Talitha is a kicker too. The worst for me is that sometimes when she’s rolled away from the breast, she grabs my nipple with her hand and yanks it towards her! Ouch! I’d love for T to be like F, in her own cot, to be honest. All in its time I guess.¬†

  5. HonestMum
    February 27, 2012 / 9:37 am

    You must do what is right for you. In Japan co sleeping happens until the child is 7 or so. It’s seems so natural to me and when your ready, you’ll know.¬†

  6. Aly
    February 27, 2012 / 9:40 am

    My youngest is the longest to still come into my bed.She never had a cot and she was in her own bed in our room from 18 months.When the ex left I didn’t mind her coming into bed as she was breastfed until she was 3 and 1/2 years old she would feed from me every morning.Co-sleeping is what helped us get breastfeeding off from when she was born as she didn’t feed from me for a few days.She’s now in with her brother and sister and still comes for cuddles.I’m not bothered and i’m sure it won’t be forever

    • February 27, 2012 / 7:31 pm

      Co-sleeping is amazing for breastfeeding, isn’t it? It’s been wonderful in helping boost my supply as I’ve struggled with not enough milk continuously. Even now our best feeds are when we lie down together. It’s great that your children sleep together. That sounds like a much cosier arrangement than being stuck in individual rooms alone.

  7. Anonymous
    February 27, 2012 / 9:40 am

    Listen to your instinct lovely, and get some stats to explain it to hubby.  
    My son slept with me until after my daughter was born. ¬†Then he moved to his own bed in my room, and then we all moved upstairs together when he moved into his own bed (I’m in a townhouse). ¬†It means that he is brilliant at bed time as there has never been stress associated with sleep. ¬†I have a little kids pull down sofa chair thingy incase he has a nightmare, so that he can still come in the room with me if he needs (he has night terrors). ¬†Willow sleeps with me and isn’t an easy sleeping partner – but she’s not ready for her own room yet (she’s 2).We decided that this was best for our children (but I can see it’s not right for everyone), so hubby gets sleep in his own room, which is now a perfect little getaway as well, with computers buzzing from all sides!

    • February 27, 2012 / 7:28 pm

      I think this is the thing that most makes me want to continue: I don’t want sleep to be associated with stress. I personally hate sleeping alone and don’t see why I would force her to do it until she wants to. I was scared of the dark for a very long time. I still occasionally get superstitious at night. I’d just rather help her form a connection between sleep time and feeling safe. My husband read your comment and is intrigued that your husband has his own room!

      • Anonymous
        February 29, 2012 / 11:31 am

        It can work quite well to have separate rooms and give hubby a bit of space away from the family! ¬†We might sometimes just have to make sure that we don’t forget to spend time together having a coffee out somewhere to make up for it. ¬†Doesn’t affect our sex life – as you can see, we had a second child!

  8. February 27, 2012 / 10:20 am

    Oh this is so refreshing to hear.¬† Aaron had head colds and colds November to January end of 2010 and as a temporary measure he came into the bed (after being a baby who slept all night in his cot) then for the months after he’d be in the cot for the 1st few hours of the night and then in with us.

    The day came when it was the whole night in with us (can’t remember when, but ages ago) and it’s stayed like that.

    He is now 20 months and still in with us.

    When hubby is on nights he is between me and the cot (yes it is still next to the bed BUT he has never tried to kick it away – and he’s a strong boy.¬† Don’t give him any ideas please).

    And when hubby is in the bed, he sleeps between the 2 of us.

    It completely effects my life as it usually means I go to bed with him and get up with him.

    However, when I was bf, it was amazing as I would do EXACTLY what you described and I definitely got more sleep as a result.

    Now, I can’t imagine him not being there, but it is something I was dead against before I had a baby.

    I saw various relative do it over the years and even as a teenager I would arrogantly think “it couldn’t be good for their marriage” (my uncle spent 4 years sleeping in the box room because of it).

    Isn’t it funny how you can’t really know how you would react to any given situation until you are in it yourself.

    Thanks for sharing, as now I do not feel alone.  I already felt better knowing that Freddy was still in the room with Wendy (Inside the Wendy House).

    Great post.

    Luv, Liska x

    • February 27, 2012 / 7:24 pm

      I started my response saying “Wow, when is his bedtime?” but then I remember you saying it was late. A friend of mine who lived in Nepal says that their babies go to bed with them and get up with them. So, it is hardcore but you’re certainly not alone in living that way! I’ve found having a child changes your mind about everything. Glad to let you know not just from my post but from all the comments on here that co-sleeping is a lot more common than conversations at baby groups might lead you to think!

  9. Anonymous
    February 27, 2012 / 10:59 am

    Sounds familiar! We eventually got a huge mattress on the floor and used that. My littlest is now 3 and still co-sleeping!

    • February 27, 2012 / 7:20 pm

      Mayim Bialik who plays Amy Farrah Fowler in The Big Bang Theory does this with her husband and two sons. One is six and the other is three. We talked about it but we’re just not keen on the idea though I know it could make a huge difference! Lovely that your littlest still wants to be with you.

  10. February 27, 2012 / 12:20 pm

    my littlest who turns 5 in may still sometimes creeps into our bed, and was a firm fixture up till about a year ago… he did as a baby start the night in his moses basket but then would wake i would pop him besided me to breastfeed and thats where he’d stay so that everyone got some sleep, when he was too big for his basket we had his cot in our room by our bed, but again he would not last long in there before he wanted in with us, then as he out grew his cot, we converted it into a cot bed, still in our room, with intentions of him sleeping in there for a decent amount of time each night before moving him to his own room, but still he would always sneek in with us, even tho our bed seemed terribly small! some nights my oh would retreat to the sofa due to a sprawled boy taking up far more spaces than 2 adults.. how can that be? anyway we moved his cot into his room when we moved house last year, and slowly he has cut out the coming into ours, not sure if hes just happy in his own bed or if being at school is just making him more tired so he doesn’t wake, either way I’m happy!¬† hope you find a time that is right for you to encourgae your little one to sleep in their own bed but in the meantime enjoy the snuggles ūüôā x

    • February 27, 2012 / 7:19 pm

      We find this too – how can an 8-month-old take up more room than 2 adults?! I think I’d feel happier about moving her into a separate room along with a sibling but then who knows when or if we’ll have another? One night at a time. I think the spare room (the “baby’s room!) is starting to look attractive to my husband… ūüôā

  11. Samerahassan1
    February 27, 2012 / 2:34 pm

    Sophia doesn’t like co- sleeping, it seems. The times I’ve tried, she usually cries, fusses, generally fails to relax until she’s in the familiar setting of her moses basket (yes she’s 5 months and still in there, erm she still fits I guess…) This morning was actually one of the first times I’ve managed to get her to sleep in the bed with me. I was pretty militant about not letting her co- sleep from day one and now I’m suffering the consequences cos I just want to stick her in bed with me, get her to feed and let me sleep, damn it! But on the plus side, I guess I won’t have to worry about ever having to teach her to sleep by herself.

    • February 27, 2012 / 6:57 pm

      It sounds to me like she takes after her mother! ūüôā You were always such a light sleeper. That is a plus. But it’s also something I don’t worry about. It’s not going to be forever and I’m going to miss the intimacy between Talitha and me. I can’t believe she’s five months already! And, man, she must be tiny. After about 3 months, putting T in the moses basket was a joke.

  12. MsXpat
    February 27, 2012 / 6:24 pm

    As I read this I had to chuckle very similar situation in my household except that when we wake its not in bliss. I usually feel like a scrunched up bag, lol. Truth be know I’d find a way to make it work but hubby is not up for it. When I told him what you wrote about Japanese families I can’t repeat his¬†response¬†to their choice, lol. ¬†Our son now has his own room, so one of us co-sleep with him for half the night when he wakes (usually me) as he’s also got a single bed in his room. I’m¬†losing¬†the will to leave with this sleeping arrangement. I’m sooo tired :0(

    • February 27, 2012 / 6:54 pm

      I giggled at your husband’s response. It’s such an individual choice and one that you have to make together. The “bliss” is what I feel emotionally. Lately I feel like a scrunched up bag too. Hence I’m looking forward to a bigger bed. I’m not making any commitment to co-sleeping. Our arrangement could change next week. I just feel like right now this is what’s for us. I suppose you’d still be losing sleep if your son entirely co-slept with you?

  13. February 27, 2012 / 11:59 pm

    I slept in my parent’s bed until I was about 7 or 8 years old and my sister slept in her crib in their room as all up til then as well, for no particular reason. It wasn’t weird nor extra comforting. It was just normal. In fact, I never thought anything about it until I read this blog post. My sister and I got our own room simply because we moved somewhere else. But even at the new house, our room and our parents room were adjoining and we kept the door between our rooms opened all the time =/. I grew up in a Chinese home in Trinidad, I dunno it has anything to do with my parents upbringing. Maybe I should ask them.¬†

    • February 28, 2012 / 5:26 am

      I think you can carry on thinking its normal. I think it is normal. It feels weird to me to put your kids in a separate room just because. As you probably know, I’m from Trinidad as well. My mother is half Chinese. Yet I was put in a separate room at the age of six months. I’m not making a judgement on that – just stating it as a fact. My whole life I have hated sleeping alone and always slept better with someone else in the room. I think it’s great that that’s what your parents did with you and interesting that within one culture there are so many cultures. That’s Trinidad for you.

      • February 28, 2012 / 5:54 pm

        I got my own room right before SEA and cannot¬†fathom¬†sharing a room with anyone ever again. I bask in the solitude of my room.And find it difficult to share a bed now even. It’s weird how things to turn out.¬†

  14. Anonymous
    February 28, 2012 / 2:00 pm

    Husband here… I am so glad that I’m not the only guy who isn’t on board (nearly did the pun, phew) or reluctantly on board.¬†
    I can see the pros and the cons. I like that early on Adele got more sleep, and that I didn’t have to get out of bed and go and fetch her from next door. I like being close to her and it’s very cute waking up and seeing her asleep between us.¬†
    But, it stresses me out. And thinking about it this is the big thing for me. I am very grumpy in the mornings anyway, and when I’ve been kicked awake and then can’t drift off again with her chatting nonsense in my ear, it makes me even more stressed and I worry as she gets older if she will pick up on this? I know the answer is probably to not be stressed, but easier said than done right? If she was in another room I would at least have 10 steps to sort my stress, get calm and put a smile on. Yesterday was a tough day at work as I was especially tired from all this and it definitely effected my brain and therefore work. I’m okay today and picking up the slack I think.¬†
    This is why I’m only partially onboard. And I worry a bigger bed will just have the same issues, you always fill the space you’ve got.¬†

  15. JaneT
    February 29, 2012 / 3:31 pm

    Hey Adele,

    Read your post yesterday and also read the Mayim article as well, don’t really usually comment on things however for some reason it has been weighing on my mind, not sure why.¬†

    Joseph slept really well as of 1 month, I had one wake up per night usually about 1ish. Most nights I put Joseph down after feeding him to sleep about 7 in our room (in his moses basket). I would either feed him to sleep or rock him, there was a couple of time I just put him down and he would fall asleep himself. We ended up putting Joseph to sleep in his own room at 2.5 months, we just felt that whenever we went to bed we were waking him up and disturbing him. After about 1 week Joseph slept through the night, it seemed that we had been disturbing him. He has done this ever since. Joseph is an amazing sleeper and I think I have been lucky. 

    Why am I sharing this, well I think it is because you and your husband need to decide what is best for all of you. Joseph spent two nights in our bed the first time David (my husband) picked him up after he feel asleep and put him in his moses basket, he couldn’t sleep with him in the bed. The second time Joseph was ill, this time I slept in the middle, I think David preferred that. For us I think the best thing is for Joseph to be in his cot. In addition David and I have always chatted before going to bed it is a way that we end our day together if Joseph was in the room we couldn’t do that. Joseph does have time with us in bed, every morning I feed Joseph in my bed, and after that we always play, and with David on the weekend. ¬†Lastly I think David needs his sleep more so than I do, I can get through a day with little sleep (not that I have had to) but I couldn’t if I was working full time.¬†

    You are an intelligent women who loves her little girl, I don’t think that you are going to harm Talitha with your decision (whether she stays with you or she goes to her own bed, although it might be hard for her the first couple of nights), there is one thing that you give her that is important and that is love! Remember that in order to look after Talitha, you and your husband have to look after yourselves and each other.¬†

    Jane xx

    • February 29, 2012 / 3:39 pm

      I agree – there are a few different needs to be balanced. I don’t agree 100% with the Mayim piece by the way. I think we’ve decided to take it one step at a time. For me it’s not just a matter of the practicality but what feels right and actually to both of us, for the moment, not putting her on her own feels right. That could change any time, obviously. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I’m glad you’ve found a set up that suits all of you so well and that you’re getting such good sleep! Go Joseph and Jane!

  16. March 2, 2012 / 11:02 am

    It’s s tough one, isn’t it? I am sure each child finds their own way to most things – toilet training, reading and writing, etc. Sleeping is just another one of those. Ten? hmmm….maybe not so good for your relationship!!!

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