Family Bed or Sleep Deprivation?

Second pregnancy, advanced maternal age, full-time job, with an active 3 year old. This is the situation I found myself in earlier this year.

A year or so back, Baby had successfully transitioned into a big girl bed in her own room with very little sleep disruption for the household. DH and I were extremely proud of this accomplishment since it only took us a single weekend. Each night, our bedtime routine ended with a little shared snuggle time between Baby and Mommy in her big girl bed. I was convinced this helped her sleep soundly through the night. Most nights I would fall asleep too, only to wake a little later and head to my own bed for the night.

Then I got pregnant. The first trimester can be tough with so many hormonal changes happening for the mom-to-be. I, personally, was exhausted. I started to wonder if it was my age or the fact that no two pregnancies are ever the same. Adding to my exhaustion was a long family commute. I found myself, as soon as we got home, grabbing a bite to eat, and heading straight to bed. However, I was not alone when heading to bed.

You see, when I said I was tired, Baby chimed in with “I’m tired too, Mommy.” I did not have the energy to fall asleep in her bed with her, only to climb into my own an hour or two later. I wanted the comfort of my own bed. I needed sleep! What was I to do? Should I break our established routine due to my own sleep needs? That would be an emphatic, YES! I admit it, I changed the routine.

Good, bad or indifferent, Baby and I were soon sharing snuggle time in my bed, and both asleep most nights by 8:00 PM. Was this the right decision? I am still debating it in my head even now as it continues, but being a full time working [pregnant] mom, I feel it was. I cherish evening snuggle time with Baby. I didn’t want to choose between snuggle time and comfort for myself. So I found a way to accommodate both. However, I am still not sure my DH is overly enthused at my choice, since he was the one banished to the spare room.

Now at 7 1/2 months along, I know DH and I will AGAIN need to transition Baby back to her own room and into her big girl bed. I am racking my brain for ideas on how to do it this time. I am not sure the same “tricks” we used last time will work again. Baby is older and wiser now. We have about 6 weeks to figure it out, and I could use any and all input from moms and dads out there!

As for the baby # 2, I already know where he will be sleeping…in a bassinet!

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11 Responses to “Family Bed or Sleep Deprivation?”

  1. Steph Wiestling November 18, 2008 at 10:14 pm #

    I have only one child, but we do the same thing. However, instead of my husband being banished to the guest room, I end up in our son’s room. Someday, the boy will stop asking for me and I will sleep in my own bed. But until that day comes… musical beds it is.

  2. Deb - Mom of 3 Girls November 19, 2008 at 9:29 am #

    Hmm, I think what Baby has gotten used to is falling asleep with you – no matter where you are. And that’s unfortunately what you’re going to have to break her of – especially since you’re going to be busier once the baby arrives… It’s not an easy thing – I have a friend who’s 5-1/2 year old still won’t sleep in her own bed alone. I don’t have any advice for you – my own girls all transitioned easily, although my 2-1/2 year old now sleeps on the floor in her doorway (sigh). I hope you can find something that works for all of you – good luck!

  3. Jendi November 19, 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    Don’t feel guilty about it! Sounds like you both needed sleep and it worked. What a nice husband to let you have the whole bed. My husband used to just crawl in beside us and I was squished in the middle.

    I’m no expert, but I would start with the same tricks you used last time. If those don’t work the second time then try others.

    Some things that came to mind: Start in her bed then move to yours when she’s sleeping. Put a sleeping bag on the floor in your room. Put a comfy chair in her room and sit till she sleeps.

    Best of luck.

  4. Kim @ What's That Smell? November 19, 2008 at 4:17 pm #

    My son would not sleep alone from the minute he as born. He was the poster-child for babywearing and that included nighttime. I was working full time from about the time he was 6 weeks old and in order to get any sleep, he ended up sleeping with us after awhile. By the time he was 14 months, we were tired of it and started transitioning him, first by putting him to sleep on the floor in our room, then by buying him a big boy bed. We tried using his crib but he CLIMBED OUT. So we put his new bed first at the foot of ours and then moved it to his own room and put a gate up at his door. I still had to lay with him until he fell asleep for A LONG TIME, but it was better than having him with us.

    With my daughter, we were determined to not fall into the same trap and luckily she was the complete opposite and preferred to sleep alone in her crib.

    Good luck, it’s not easy but you’ll get some sleep….eventually…

  5. Karen Hartzell November 19, 2008 at 8:08 pm #

    What great advice! Thank you everyone for your input.

    We do have a nice rocker/recliner in Baby’s room. This was great when she was an infant. Maybe we can start by reading our bed time stories in the rocker and then work her into her bed. The more comfortable she is in her room again, the better she will sleep.

    Keep the advice coming. I have a feeling we may be trying multiple options. :-)

  6. casual friday everyday November 20, 2008 at 4:53 pm #

    I’m 8 months pregnant with number three and number one still sleeps with us. He has to go to bed in his own bed but if he wakes up with a bad dream or to use the bathroom and wants to join us he can.

    It sometimes tries my patience when he ends up in bed too early. And sometimes I’ve told him to go back to his bed until he wakes up again that night. But more than not he is in bed.

    This will have to change when the baby comes as we co-sleep for the first few months. There simply isn’t enough room in the bed! LOL So I’ll be in the same boat as you in a month or less. And then I’ll have to figure out how to do this without making him feel like the baby is replacing him…even though, in a way, he is. ;)

  7. Karen Hartzell November 21, 2008 at 4:51 pm #

    I’m planning to use the 4 day weekend over Thanksgiving to change the routine back to sleeping in Baby’s room. I’ll let you all know how that goes!

    If she does wake up repeatedly during the night, at least we can nap during the day and try again the next night. :-)

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