Bedsharing Woes

A friend was lamenting some of her logistical struggles with bedsharing*, and it got me thinking about my own troubles, particularly in winter. (I know, I said I was going to work toward nightweaning…I haven’t gone much past reading the Nursies book to my son)woman lying in bed with a baby

We don’t even bedshare full time right now, but even the time I do spend with my 18-month old in the bed is a bit uncomfortable. I am never sure what to do about his bottom arm. Do I just lie on top of it while I’m nursing him at 1 in the morning? What if I cut off the circulation in his wee fingers?

So I generally spend a lot of time wriggling him around and trying to make sure all his limbs are free to move about. I don’t like that because it wakes me up further.

I also have a hard time knowing what to do with my “bottom arm” when I’m nursing on my side. I walk around with constant shoulder aches because I haven’t found a good solution yet. I’ve tried putting my bottom arm on the bed, with a pillow on top of that and my head on the pillow, but I still wind up with a lot of strain on that shoulder. Usually I just finagle my arm so it’s like the arm in the picture above. Ouch! If I happen to fall asleep while nursing, or if the nursing session is prolonged, I wind up with a numb arm.

At a La Leche League meeting once, I was surprised to learn there are different techniques people use to switch sides when the baby is nursing in the middle of the night. I had taken to disrupting the whole family by climbing up and over my baby to lie on his other side. That never felt like the right choice.

So then I learned some people cradle the baby close to their chest and roll the baby to the other side. This worked for me when I had young babies, but my nursing toddler does not appreciate this in the middle of his middle-of-the-night nursing sessions.

What I do now is offer both breasts while lying on the same side. Another friend nurses this way in bed and said, “I always start with the top breast so I can fall asleep while he nurses from the bottom one!”

Unfortunately, I rarely remember to do this, and so I doze and nurse until it’s time to switch, and then I find myself sort of supporting my weight while draping my top breast toward my toddler until it all feels utterly ridiculous.

The things I do and think about while nursing my son in the wee hours!

I’m glad that I have at least figured out how to arrange the blankets so everyone is safe and comfortable and I’ve got nursing pajamas sorted out.

Do you share a bed with your nursling? Leave us a comment to share some of your logistical tips!

*Please check out Dr. James McKenna’s Safe Cosleeping Guidelines if you aren’t familiar*

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