Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Year Of: Bedding Close

Brees Elizabeth turned a year old on November 15.  I know that every mother says this, but
I really can't believe how quickly the time has passed.  As I reflect on this last year and all
the adventures and milestones we have experienced, I hope that you enjoy this series of
posts about our family and all the things we have learned this past year.
A year of bedding close...
Brees spent most of her first year sleeping right by her mama and daddy.  We believe
in sleeping close to our babies for the same reasons we believe in baby wearing: by
keeping Brees in close proximity at night, we were better able to meet all of her needs.
Just as we don't believe in letting her "cry it out" during the day, we didn't let her do it
at night, either.  Having her right next to me allowed me to breastfeed her with minimal
sleep disruption, allowing us both to feel more rested.  By being so close to each other,
we were able to be fully aware of her cues and could respond to her stirrings before
they became cries.  Bedding close also met her emotional needs, reducing separation
anxiety and nighttime fears, reassuring her and comforting her when she went through
those phases.  
Rooming in...
It all started in the hospital, keeping her in our room at all times.  Our hospital features
labor, delivery, recovery rooms and encourages rooming in.  From the moment she was
born, Brees slept right next to us, allowing me to nurse her on demand and establish a
good milk supply from the beginning.
The family bassinet...
When we brought Brees home from the hospital, she slept in this little bassinet next to
our bed.  This cradle has been in my family for several generations, lulling my cousins and
I all to sleep.  For the first month of her life, Brees became a part of this tradition.  I love
this photo with all my heart: I was 36 weeks pregnant and Shawn and I were putting
the finishing touches on the house, getting everything ready for our new baby.
Isabelle placed her baby doll in the bassinet to "practice".  We were all so excited.
The pack n play crib...
When Brees outgrew her bassinet, we put her in her pack and play bassinet.  This
was seriously one of the most useful pieces of baby equipment we owned this last year.  It
is as spacious as a crib, very portable, and even included a changing table.  It also allowed
us to incline the mattress which was so useful with her reflux.
The family bed...
When Brees was about 6 months old, she started experiencing separation anxiety and
cried inconsolably when we put her in her bed.  She was teething at this time and
nursing more than ever, needing extra love and attention as she was so uncomfortable.
We began co-sleeping, the three of us all snug in our big bed.  This was one of my
favorite times, the family bed.  The close bond and connection we experienced was
comforting and soothing to all of us.  
The floor bed...
Around 10 months old, Brees became very active and co-sleeping was distracting for her.
She woke up multiple times throughout the night wanting to play and nursing every 2
hours.  We started worrying about her crawling out of bed.  We also worried that she
wasn't resting well and was in need of her own secure space.  We decided to transition her
to a floor bed in her room.  By spending a few weeks on her floor bed, we were able to
slowly adjust her to being in her nursery, making the move to her crib
pretty seamless.
Sleeping in her nursery crib...
At eleven months old, Brees began sleeping in her own crib in her nursery.  For the first
two nights, she cried for several minutes when we put her down.  We took turns going in
and out of her room, rocking her until she stopped crying and then placing her back in her
bed.  After 10 minutes, she went right to sleep.  By the third night, she smiled as we
kissed her good night, held her blankie close, and drifted off to sleep.  Moving Brees to
her own crib resulted in her sleeping through the night for the first time since she was
born.  She is now sleeping 12 hours a night and has night weaned herself.
This whole year has been a journey of observing our baby's cues and putting her to sleep
in the place that fit her needs best.  It has been an emotional journey for us and we had
to adjust to not having her near.  But, eventually, Brees let us know that she was ready
to have her own space and it was time for us to let go.  Even though sleeping close to our
baby typically meant we were awakened frequently throughout the night, we knew how
soon this phase would pass us by and enjoyed every moment for what it was.  I will
forever remember our family bed and the sounds of a sweet, sleeping Brees in my arms.
In the next few years, she will move to a toddler bed and, like her big sister, just might
return to her parents' arms late in the night, the sound of little feet pitter pattering
down the stairs.  And we will welcome her with open arms.     

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Heather said...

These posts are so sweet. The reflection and thought you put into them, the sentiments you share, so close to my own, are wonderful. One day, Brees will look back on them and know how much her momma loves her.

Anonymous said...

I totally love that last picture.. shes is posing like this is my house, my crib :D

such a sweet post :)

Caitlin said...

These posts are so sweet, and will be so awesome to read again when Brees is older. She clearly was blessed in the parent department :)

Anonymous said...

I loved reading about all her sleep stages! Brees is a beautiful baby!
My 11 month old has also slept in a bedside cradle, a pack n play bassinet, and the family bed.

Lydia @ See Beautiful said...

Oh, what a wonderful year full of beds...a fun question: how much sleep was actually recorded?

Happy seeing beautiful!

Alida said...

Love seeing all the pictures and reading through all of the sleep stages.

My sons are 24 and 21 now. Enjoy your little one. The time flies by way to quickly!

Heather said...

We cosleeped with our daughter. At first she slept in a cosleeper thing in our bed....then in her pack and play pushed up to the edge of the bed....then in the bed...then back to the pack & we have turned our walk in closet into the nursery. So she sleeps part-time in there and part-time in bed with me. (i usually pull her in around 5 am when she wakes up) She's been waking so much at night that I'm starting to wonder if i'm doing the right thing.... I wanna let her go at her own pace, but I also don't want her waking forever (she's 10 months now). It's great that you can be so confident about it.

Randalin. said...

She looks so much like her sister in that last picture! Wow.

I've loved reading these posts :)