When 3 becomes 4...

“It’s going to be easy, you’ve done this all before!”

“Just make the baby fit into your routine, you’ll regret it otherwise.”

“She just needs to learn to sleep in her own bed.”

That’s what I heard as an expecting mum who was going to have 2 under 2. 

I was beyond excited when we found out we were expecting our second baby and yet terrified of having 2 under 2 when our first was still sleeping in our bed.

You see, when you have your first baby, the support is overwhelming in the beginning. People want to meet you little one, they bring food and gifts, they message and call.

Then that support slowly tapers off. No one is around when your 12-month-old is still waking 6 times a night. “This is what happens when you let them sleep in your bed - she will be sleeping with you until she is 18!”.

Other mums I knew had sleep trained and their babies were sleeping 12 hours straight, they described it as ‘the best thing they ever did’. Feeling pressured, I tried and failed at sleep training. I only managed a few minutes before going in and rocking my little one to sleep while sobbing, feeling completely ashamed at what I had done.

I felt SO alone - what was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I do it?

I would often think to myself, surely this isn’t what motherhood is like? Where’s this village everyone speaks off?

It was not long after this that I had a friend recommend I join The Beyond Sleep Training Project Facebook group. At first, I didn’t understand... I had tried sleep training once with my oldest - I failed miserably. The name threw me, but then I read the group ethos.

How had I not found this group sooner?

The first night in the group I stayed up searching and reading posts for 3 hours.

How is this group, a group that encourages parents to follow their instincts and trust their intuition, a group that advocates for babies and children and how they should be parented gently and respectfully, a group this discusses biologically normal infant sleep, how is this group not one of the resources they include in the Bounty Bag for expecting parents?!?

It was then my research started. How can we survive having 2 under 2, practising attachment style parenting with them both and having all of us sleep safely in the one bed? How can I meet the needs of my toddler and ensure this transition is as smooth as possible for her? I don’t want her to feel like I’ve replaced her or forgotten about her. How can I meet the needs of our newest, most vulnerable family member? How can I do all of this at the same time without feeling burnt out?

Surely it wouldn't be possible? Boy was I wrong.

It absolutely is possible and I was overwhelmed by how helpful the group was in preparing us for our newest arrival. I was reassured that it absolutely is possible to be gentle and responsive to two little ones. They educated me on safe bed-sharing with a newborn and a toddler (not together on the same surface) and provided lots of resources to support this.

Read more about safer shared sleep

I was terrified that I would spend all day trying to get our baby to sleep and I wouldn’t have any quality time with my oldest but they encouraged me to try out a stretchy wrap for nap times (this was a total game-changer for our family, how is this not recommended more often!). Most importantly, they reassured me that it’s perfectly acceptable to want to cuddle your babies during naps and all night long.

I felt at home, I felt supported, my concerns and feelings validated, I felt like this is where I belong.

This my village, I finally found what everyone talks about!

I will be forever grateful to The Beyond Sleep Training Project. I’m currently writing my story while snuggling my now 3-year-old and my 16-month-old in our bed and I can’t imagine life any other way. I’m so thankful that they encouraged me to trust my intuition because every night I crawl into bed between them, I know they have both drifted off to sleep having all of their needs met and I sleep more soundly snuggled between the two greatest accomplishments of my life.

Image: provided by Kasey

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