Bedsharing has been a lifesaver in our house, from saving my breastmilk supply to ensuring that everyone gets a decent amount of sleep. But I don’t feel like it’s mainstreamed into society well; with that, come a lot of secret society truths about bedsharing that only fellow bedsharers would understand. Here are a few of my favorites.
Just as a reminder: bedsharing means that your child sleeps in your bed with you. It’s not exactly the same as cosleeping (which is less specific and means your kid sleeps in your room), but the terms are often confused.
You’ll definitely get used to dirty sheets. That includes a leaky diaper or a boob milk incident in the wee hours of the morning. Throw down a towel … or don’t, whatever. Because you sure as hell aren’t going to change the bed in the middle of the night, you filthy animal.
You’ll also get used to feet in your face. I have no idea how many times I’ve woken up with a child’s toes in my nose. Just shove them off (but gently – you don’t want to wake them up!) and roll over.
One of the main reason people choose to bedshare is because it makes breastfeeding and night wakings so much easier. But that means that you sleep with one boob out. Meh, who cares. It’s dark, anyway.
I will never ever get sick of the cuddles, the little stretches and sleepy smiles when my babies wake up. I don’t have to miss any of it: the messed up hair, the little squeaks, even their morning breath. I’ll selfishly cherish those for the rest of my life.
I also don’t really miss the whole “make your bed like a grownup with decorative pillows and matching comforter.” Ok, I don’t even miss making my bed. (No one sees it unless they’re climbing into it … seriously, the dumbest chore ever.)
Speaking of nontraditional beds, mine isn’t on a bed frame, either. That just makes the “distance from my kid in bed to my kid on the floor” greater, so we have our bed on the floor. It’s a Sleep Number if you’d like to read my honest review, by the way.
Not that my kids have ever fallen out of bed … ok, my oldest did fall off once. But I swear to you, in those panicked seconds of “Oh God, he’s dead, he’s snapped his neck, he’s feet-up…” all I heard was snoring. Yep. He didn’t even wake up. I, on the other hand, didn’t sleep for the rest of the night. Now we use pool noodles under the mattress cover to act as a roll barrier, and no more accidents have occurred.
Another time I didn’t sleep for the rest of the night? That time I woke up around 2am and was face to face with an Elmo doll. I guess he was looking for Sesame Street… in my bed.
Thanks to my kids, though, I am able to sleep with very little space on the edge of the bed, with my arms and legs and spine contorted into creative positions. I could technically move my kid over some more, but I don’t want to risk the chance of them waking up.
To their credit though, I do always seem to have someone’s hand/foot/butt in my face, or under my leg, or behind my head.
What I don’t have to deal with, is the kids who keep stalling bedtime, asking for one more story or glass of water. Those cliches are nonexistent in my house, because my children know we aren’t abandoning them to go to sleep alone. When they need us, we’re only an arm’s stretch away. So bedtime is relaxing and easy, every night.
And I don’t have to deal with the paranoid worrying of “Is my kid ok?” They’re literally right next to me. I will shamelessly use a baby monitor until they’re probably 18 years old, but once I go to bed I have peace of mind until morning.
When I was a working mom, I missed my son so desperately during the day that I cuddled with him every chance I got! I can’t explain to you how much we missed each other and hated being apart. We were replenished with those snuggles in bed throughout the night.
And if your child experiences a nightmare or a night terror (which aren’t the same thing, actually: check out my article), you can get them calmed down and back to sleep more quickly since you’re close by. This is a crappy situation no matter where you sleep, but the close proximity means that you can keep it from escalating.
I also don’t lose any sleep going to feed my breastfed kid in the night: neither of us fully wake up. We’re so in tune with each other, and everything we need is right there. I can’t imagine having to get out of bed or turn on a light or even sit up to do a midnight feeding.
Look… bedsharing is lazy. It’s less work, less furniture, less space, less hassle. Especially while you’re still breastfeeding. I freely admit that it’s the lazy thing to do, and it works so beautifully for our family. Just be sure you always bedshare safely.
We also don’t have to have our “marital desires” suffer… sex. I mean sex. You can still have sex whenever you want, it just won’t be in your bed. (Do you really think that bedsharing parents only have one kid? How do you think the other siblings get conceived?) Some of the fun is in the creative spontaneous nature of where and when to do it, and having to keep it quiet. Just be open and communicate with your partner. Got it? Good. Now, all you need now is the energy… and that I can’t help you with.
What I can tell you is that I adore bedsharing, and I want to make sure that people know that you can do it safely. It may not work for everyone, but it sure works for us!
If you’d like to see more of my articles about safely bedsharing, check out the category here.