I never consider breastsleeping with my newborn because I was absolutely terrified of the idea. My son was colicky, so I was up every 20 minutes only to spend two hours trying to get him back to sleep before the cycle started all over again. I was so exhausted, I nursed him in my bed and slept through the part when I usually got up to put him in his bassinet; breastsleeping on accident. Now, after having practiced breastsleeping with my two children, I've come to know that there are a lot of weird things moms do when they're breastsleeping.
For me, one of the big positives about breastsleeping was that it was convenient and helped me get some very necessary sleep. A lot of the weird things I did when breastsleeping revolved around how I could maximize the convenience of keeping everything as close to me and the baby (and our bed) as possible. So instead of going to a rocking chair or a couch to nurse, I just nursed while half-sleeping or sitting in bed. Instead of my baby crying to let me know he was hungry, he would just kind of sniffle and find my boob or I would wake up just long enough to help him find it. If he needed a diaper change, I would just do it right on the bed.
Of course, not all nights went so perfectly. I definitely experienced more than a few difficult moments where my baby wanted more than just the boob, or didn't know what he wanted, or had some tummy troubles and needed to walk around or bounce or just cry. However, for the most part the weird and wonderful world of breastsleeping was a huge lifesaver for me. Looking back, I had a lot of strange habits during that time in my life, and I have a feeling other breastsleeping mamas out there can relate.
She Sets Up A Diaper Changing Station At The Foot Of Her Bed
You know what really ruins a good night of breastsleeping? Changing a diaper in another room. I mean, you've worked this hard to make the night as seamless as possible, only to haul your ass out of bed all the way to a changing table to deal with creams and diapers and all that nonsense? As the saying goes, "If Mohammad will not go to the mountain, the diaper changing station must come to Mohammad."
I liked having a big towel set up at the bottom of the bed and a little caddy with all my diapering supplies next to it so I could do diaper duty without having to leave the comfort of my blankets. The key here is do as little as possible in the middle of the night so you can conserve your strength and get as much rest as you can. Daytimes with baby are rough enough.
She Assumes Cradle Position With Her Arms And Remains Frozen There Throughout The Entire Night
For the first few months of breastsleeping, I slept in what was basically an upright and seated position in bed with my baby positioned snugly on top of my breastfeeding pillow; my arms locked in a circle around him and my hands clasped firmly. It was not comfortable in the least, but I was so damn tired that it didn't matter.
My baby slept, and I slept, and somehow my body knew to not move a solitary cell or tissue during the course of the night. I would wake up in the morning in more or less the same position, but with the baby having moved between boobs during the night. Mothers. We are freaking miracle makers.
She Maintains A Protective Fortress Between Herself And Her Partner
There is some kind of magical, mystical connection between a mother and her baby that let's her know that her baby is there and that her body probably should best not roll over the baby.
As an anxious breastsleeping mama, I wasn't about to conduct a scientific study to see if the same connection existed between the non-birth parent, though, so I took my big noodle-shaped pillow from my pregnancy days and created a line of demarcation in our bed. In other words, I did not provide my husband with anything even resembling an opportunity to smoosh our child. (Note: noodle-shaped pillows may not be recommended by the experts for breastsleeping, but it worked for me.)
Her Bedside Table Is Stocked With Every Single "Essential" She Might Need For The Night (Or The Apocalypse)
The breastsleeping mother goes to bed with an enormous thing of water (because nursing makes you so thirsty), some breast pads (for leakage), a burp cloth (for leakage and for burping the baby), some nipple cream (duh), a hand pump (in case it is a weird nursing night and the engorgement is super uncomfortable), a snack (because nursing makes you so hungry) her iPhone (duh), an extra onesie (just in case Baby needs it), and a baby toy (for the morning, or whenever Baby decides it is morning).
She will most likely also take up most of her partner's night table with these things as well.
She Wears Special Pajamas That Cover Her Body, But Leave Her Boobs Hanging Out
If aliens descended down from space and looked into the windows of breastsleeping women, I have no doubt they would burst out laughing at the sight of us with our fully clothed bodies and the one or two boobs hanging out.
I mean, why don't we just call a spade a spade and sleep topless if that's essentially what needs to happen to feed our young all night long anyway? I look back at the money I wasted on special "breastfeeding" pajamas that I had to wash every single day because I would wake up having soaked them through with breastmilk. It was completely pointless.
She Prepares Against The Onslaught of Milk Leakage By Padding The Bed With Layers of Towels
When you're a newbie to the breastsleeping game, you might find yourself drowning in a damp pool of your own sour milk the next morning and wasting precious energy changing sheets every damn day. Total time suck, my friends.
My advice? Go straight to the towel trick (which also comes in handy down the road, if you find your toddler has come home from preschool with one of those awful projective vomiting bugs) and coat your fitted sheet in towels. That way, you soak through the towel and just chuck it in the wash the next morning instead of changing the whole bed.
She Doesn't Remember Nursing At Night...
When you have an infant who treats your boobs like a Vegas-style all-night buffet, you tend to not really remember things like, well, you don't remember things. My husband would ask me if I'd remembered certain things I said to him when I was nursing my son, and I'd have no recollection at all. I wouldn't even remember having nursed.
...Or All Those Comments She Apparently Posted On Her Facebook Mom Groups
I had to cringe every morning before heading over to Facebook to see what kinds of crazy I had unleashed upon my mom groups in the middle of the night while I was "sleep nursing," which is my term for the non-sleeping-but-not-quite-awake form of breastsleeping.
Some of it was complete gibberish, but luckily I wasn't the only one suffering from this particular form of nurse-somnia, so my fellow mamas understood.
They Pray For One More Nursing Session That Will Zonk Baby Out And Let Them Sleep Just A Tiny Bit More
Even though moms who breastsleep are "technically" getting more sleep than moms who are getting up all night long to get their babies from a crib or from another room, let's face it; this is still interrupted sleep. Plus, nursing moms are expending so much energy throughout the night because feeding a baby burns calories, yo!
I woke up each morning hoping that my baby would nurse himself into one more little milk coma so I could catch maybe 20 more minutes of sleep, or at least rest a bit and gather my thoughts before getting caught in the whirlwind of the day.