I received this interesting letter from a reader that’s a core puzzle for family bed families: how do you add baby #2 to the mix? I’ll let her speak for herself, then afterwards I’ll add my two cents and invite you, dear reader, to do the same…
My name is Kristin, I have a two year old son, Myles, and am expecting another baby in November. Myles has always slept in between my husband and I, and, for the most part, we have all really loved this sleeping arrangement. Myles has always been a pretty good sleeper, and both my husband and I value the extra cuddle time we get with him.
That being said, I am nervous about bringing baby #2 home. All throughout the night Myles plays with my hair and cuddles right up against my body. Oftentimes I can’t even get up to go to the bathroom because he’ll wake up and be sad that I’m not right next to him (he will, however, let us put him down at about 8 or 9 pm every night, while my husband and I come back downstairs). And while Myles adores his Dad during the daytime, he really only wants me when he wakes up in the night.
About a month ago we bought a king sized bed in the hopes that Myles would occupy more of the middle, and not be so attached to me during the night. All that has seemed to happen is that my husband has a whole lot more space, and Myles and I are still sharing a pillow.
And, honestly, I LOVE being this close with him at night. I have no independent desire to change anything. I am only (really) worried about what will happen when our newborn baby needs me to change, feed, cuddle him/her in the night. Will Myles wake up? Will he let my husband comfort him? And if he does wake up and only want me, will he resent the new baby for taking me away from him? Will waking up in the night make him grumpy/overtired during the day?
My husband is convinced that everything is going to be fine. That somehow it will be a smooth transition even if we make no changes before the new baby is born (besides getting a king sized bed, and moving our queen sized bed into the guest room). Although I hope that is true, I am not so convinced.
We are planning on getting a cosleeper for the new little babe, and maybe everything will work out just fine. I would just love your thoughts, and any suggestions that you may have. (There is surprisingly little written about welcoming a second baby into the family bed. )
This is exactly why I built us a “sidecar” when we were doing the family bed, so we had the older baby ‘hooked on the side’ of the bed, while the little one was nestled safely between us. There are a number of commercial products available now, but the basic requirement is pillows or rails on the exposed edges of the side-bed and, of course, the mattress being pretty darn close to the same height as the main bed.
But that’s how we did it. I’m sure there are other solutions, like two beds pushed together, mattresses on the floor, so you have a huge sleeping surface. Sounds like chaos to me, but then again, bedtime could be pretty fun nonetheless!
What’s more important is what you do, dear reader. How have you and your family brought additional babies into the family bed situation, and how’s it worked out?