Note from Naomi: Today's post is an interview with Lauren from Belle du Brighton about her experience of bed sharing. She is a 32 year old mother of two living at home with her husband. She has been blogging for just over six years. Make sure you check out her blog over at Belle du Brighton.
How many children do you have? How old are they?
Two. Athena is 3 and Arlo is 18 months old.
What is the difference between co-sleeping and bed-sharing?
I’d define bed-sharing as the child sleeping in the bed with you. Co-sleeping is the child sleeping in their own bed which is attached to the parents.
Have you bed shared with both of your children?
Hardly ever with my eldest Athena. Right from the start she was very independent; and after about six months she preferred to be put into her cot to fall asleep on her own. She used to be a fairly light sleeper and we’d disturb her when she was in the same room as us; so from about 6 weeks she spent the first part of the night in her own room and then came in with us when she woke up for a feed, as she was exclusively breastfed. After that, she slept in a moses basket next to our bed so I could get to her easily if she did reawaken.
With Arlo he just wouldn’t settle unless he was close by me, preferably on my chest.
What made you decide to bed share with Arlo?
It was the only way to get some sleep!
Are you still bed sharing with him?
I sure am!
How old is Arlo?
At 18 months old, Arlo has a full sized cot attached to our bed, and he sleeps there until I come into bed. This is usually around midnight, after which he mostly sleeps in the crook of my arm.
When do you plan to stop?
When he’s able to go longer stretches than two hours, the aim is to try and get him to sleep in his sisters room.
She has a mid-sleeper bed, so we’re going to set up a mattress for him under her bed and - if all goes well - graduate to a proper bunk bed!
Has it made Athena jealous to see you bed sharing with Arlo? Does she ever join you in your bed too?
Athena has never shown any jealousy towards her brother at all, thankfully! She knows where he sleeps, but she doesn’t like sleeping in the bed with us - even if she’s ill!
Do you breastfeed?
Yes. Both kids were exclusively breastfed.
I stopped feeding Athena at 15 months, as I was pregnant again. Also she wasn’t that interested any more.
Arlo is still feeding every two hours or more overnight at 18 months.
Have you found that bed-sharing helps with breastfeeding?
It has made life so much easier!
It means I actually get some sleep! I just flip over onto my side and Arlo does the rest whilst I fall asleep again.
Does bed sharing affect the relationship you have with your partner?
Definitely. He's happy with Arlo sharing the bed with us - and has sometimes shared the bed with him alone whilst I’ve slept on the sofa if I’ve done a late shift at work so I can actually get some sleep.
However it has meant that our relationship isn’t quite the same as it was pre-Arlo!
What is your favourite thing about bed sharing?
Having a warm little head nuzzle at my face when he wakes up in the morning.
Would you do it again?
I would, although I would make more of an effort to attempt to get the next baby to fall asleep without a boob in its mouth!
It’s been a long hard process with Arlo, and even now it doesn’t always work, and definitely not during the night!