“It’s 3:00 am, the baby is crying from the nursery next door and is hungry. With my eyes still closed I stand up, look for the switch on my bedside lamp and make my way to the door, half-blind. “Mama is here, I’ll be with you right away!” I call out to the now bitterly screaming bundle. Still drowsy, I enter the nursery and take the little one out of her bed to breastfeed her in the armchair that I have specially bought. My eyes close again and while she drinks, I go into a kind of twilight sleep. After breastfeeding I put her sleeping peacefully in her bed and slowly stagger back into my own. “
Babies don’t wake up from hunger alone
Like that (or something like that) many parents can report on rather restless nights. But as desirable as it may seem if the child is to learn to sleep in their own realm: this variant means enormous stress for everyone involved in the first months of life. Young babies don’t just wake up when they’re hungry. In fact, there are completely different reasons why they keep waking up.
If the baby is in another room, or on the other side of the room, parents actually have to get up regularly to check on the crying infant. During this “waiting time” the offspring lies alone in a bed that is much too large and cannot assess how long it may be before mom or dad finally looks after them. He lacks closeness to his parents and, quite simply, is afraid.
Baby and child in close proximity: from an extra bed to a family bed
But there are ways to avoid such situations and to make the nights with baby and child much more pleasant. One of them is what is known as co-sleeping – better known as a family bed. As the name suggests, the whole family sleeps in one bed. It is known that babies who can be sure of their mother’s proximity even at night are more stable and confident in later life. Even as a toddler, they can cope better with separation times, are more emotionally stable and are often perceived to be very independent earlier. The risk of sudden infant death syndrome should also be reduced in this way.
For newborn babiesthat can easily be drowned in a large bed or disappear under the heavy duvet, extra beds – also known as baby balconies – are particularly suitable. These beds are slightly smaller than the usual baby beds and can be easily attached to the parents’ bed. The bed rail is open on the mother’s (or father’s) side. In this way, breastfeeding mothers can easily pull their baby close and let the baby drink immediately. Babies are in close proximity to their parents – they hear and smell mom and dad all night long. So you feel safe and not alone.
Modern extra beds are very variable in use
Some of the extra beds can be converted into bassinets thanks to castors and protective grilles, so that the little ones can sleep in their usual bed during the day – always close to their mother. Because especially in the first year of life, babies have an increased need for sleep, which should be made as comfortable as possible for them. Later you can convert these multifunctional side beds with suitable accessories to a high chair or a comfortable children’s sofa. So they can be used well beyond infancy.
Whether in the enlarged family bed or in an extra bed. Every baby, every family and every sleep is different. So it is worth actively trying out both variants, because it is difficult to assess the advantages and disadvantages if you have not experienced it in your own bedroom. Perhaps there is a couple of parents in the family or among friends who will give you an extra bed – or something similar – on a trial basis. So you can find out for yourself whether this variant would be a suitable solution before purchasing.
Only good sleep is good sleep
Most parents who have tried one of the variants described above are extremely happy that they took this step. Of course, babies still wake up regularly in this way. But the total effort for mother and father is drastically minimized. In the end, you shouldn’t forget that you may have been looking for a more comfortable solution for your baby – but parental sleep does not fall from the sky either.
Because only when mum and dad can find restful sleep can the coming day with baby be enjoyed to the fullest. Because it’s not always time to spontaneously pack the baby in the car so that it falls asleep from the buzzing and rocking of the journey.
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