Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sleep, Baby, Sleep

Getting very small children to sleep can be one of the toughest parts of early parenting. Today, we're discussing options of sleeping arrangements with infants specifically.

There are many different places you may choose to put your baby down to sleep at night or during naps. Most families will go through several different arrangements during the first few months of baby's life.


For: One choice is to share your own bed with your baby. This has benefits for the parents in not having to get up every time baby cries. Feeding (particularly nursing) can be done easily while still in bed, and baby is often more likely to go back to sleep if they are quickly comforted by the presence of Mom and Dad, even if they are still asleep.

Against: No matter where your baby sleeps, you are going to be woken up during the night. If you have your own bed to yourself, you may be able to sleep better in the times you do have in bed. If the baby is bottle-feeding, it can be more disruptive to get up and leave your baby in the bed alone when you make the bottle. Both parents are more affected when baby is in the bed, as opposed to only one parent getting up at a time, as well as affecting one-on-one time parents have together.

In the parents' bedroom

For: You may choose to set up a bassinet or crib in your bedroom for your baby to sleep in. This can be convenient as you do not have far to go to get to baby when they wake up at night. You can also respond faster before baby gets too upset, being close on hand and better able to monitor baby's sleep patterns. If you have other children in the house, it can help to have baby in a separate room, at least in the beginning, to keep from disturbing the other children as much.

Against: Again, it can interrupt what precious sleep time you do have in your room if you are listening to the baby sleeping. In some homes, it can be difficult to arrange furniture in such a way to have enough space both for baby's bed and Mom and Dad's bed and other furniture.

In baby's own room

For: It can be beneficial to put your child in their own bed, in their own room from the very beginning. They can sleep undisturbed by other family members' noises and movements. It can also be helpful to have a well-established sleeping place and routine that will not be changed as much as baby gets older.

Against: It can be harder to monitor your child's sleep and well-being if the baby is in a separate room. Parents have to go farther to take care of the baby during the night, causing for more time awake during late hours. In some homes, it may not be possible to put baby in their own room because there simply aren't enough extra rooms in the house.


Where do you put your infant down to sleep?

Have you used different arrangements for naps versus night sleeping?

How have your sleeping arrangements changed as your baby gets older?



Tannie Datwyler said...

I don't like bed sharing - that's just personal though, I know for some people it works great! I'm weird and can't figure out how to nurse laying down, so it's pointless for me, plus I can't sleep super well when my babies are in bed with me.

However, if my babies wake up, say 1/2 an hour or so before I'm ready for them, I'll often put them in bed with me and my husband for just that short time. That works great for me.

For the most part our babies sleep in their own beds. I try to keep them in their beds for nap times, but I'm not as strict about it. Often my babies will sleep in car seats or swings or whatever works. I try to get a couple of their naps in their bed per day.

When all my kids were little they used a bassinet - which I LOVE. It's easy to rock if they get fussy and it's smaller so baby doesn't feel so isolated. My daughter used it until she was about 3 months, my son until he was about 5. Now my newborn is in it and I expect her to stay in it for a couple of months.

As for which rooms my babies have slept in... that's also debatable and up to preference. My daughter was in our room for the first week. That was convenient because I was recovering from delivery and she was awake a lot. But by the end of the first week my husband had had enough of her noises and moved her into her own room. It worked out well because she was an excellent sleeper.

My son on the other hand, was a nightmare. He was up 2-6 times per night for 8 months. Having him in another room would have been bad for everyone - including my daughter who he now shares a room with. I didn't like having him in our room for 5 months, but it's what we had to do to keep our sanity.

This time, I'm planning on keeping my newborn in our room in her bassinet until she is about 2 months old and then trying to transfer her to the crib in the other room with the other kids. We'll see how it goes....

As with all parenting things - you just do what feels right to you!!

On The Go Family said...

I can't sleep with my babies in our room -- tried it with my first and woke up every time she squeaked, moved or sighed.

We're lucky to have a huge closet (you could fit a couple twin size mattresses in there) so I keep my babies in a pack and play in the closet for the first three months. I just make sure there's no clothing hanging above or near that could fall down. Our bed shares a wall with the closet, so as soon as the baby truly wakes, I can hear her.

From what I've read, around 4 months you should have your baby's sleep arrangements solidified, so I usually start to move my babies into their own room around 3 months. It always takes some adjustment, but works out in the long run. Up until then, I let the baby sleep in the swing, car seat or whatever helps me keep my sanity.

Like Tannie said, you have to do what feels best for you!

Heather said...

My babies start out in their own room from the day they get home. I had a pack-n-play in my room for naps for my 2nd because he shared a room with his sister and I wanted her to have access to her toys when he was sleeping so much. But, yes, my second started out the first night home sharing a room with his sister just down the hall. It worked just fine. My daughter has learned to sleep through his cries and I have no problem hearing him. Both my kids have been blessed with healthy lungs and strong cries. I am such a light sleeper that, if we are in the same room, I just can't sleep at all.