Monday, June 1, 2009

The Joys of Co-Sleeping

When I was pregnant the first time, I didn't even realize that co-sleeping was an option. In my mind what happened was you got a crib (bassinette at first maybe) and that's where the baby slept. My first couple of nights with a newborn at home changed everything.

First of all, I was so completely taken with my new baby boy, that it was hard for me to put him down for any length of time. Really, people had to ask to hold him, or my husband had to take him from me and offer him to extended famly members. I think partially I just assumed if someone wanted to hold him they would ask. I would hold him through his naps because he seemed to sleep better and longer that way. Of course this was a huge mistake - there is such a thing as holding a baby too much ;) They get used to it and come to expect to be held all the time. I really wish someone would have told me that. I learned to do just about everything one handed.

But back to the point... that first night home we put the baby in the bassinette right next to the bed. But his sleep was pretty restless, and every time he stirred I got up to check on him. Neither of us or my husband got any sleep. The next night we started out by putting him in a small dresser drawer between us on the bed. That seemed to work a little better, but still he stirred quite a bit. So the next night, while paranoid as hell, we opted for just putting him in bed with us without any barriers. I was so nervous about it. I thought for sure we would roll over and squash him or something. But it seems to be a natural motherly instinct to sleep lightly and be ever so cautious of your newborn while co-sleeping. That night we all slept very good (aside from the every 2 hour feedings of course).

My mother and sister just about had fits when they found out we'd put our newborn baby in bed with us. Every time I talked to either of them they had warnings and advice and so on... it didn't help that I was still a little nervous about it. But I just knew that I was doing what worked best.

And then a couple of months later when my sister had her first newborn baby girl, guess what? She ended up with her newborn in bed with her too. Not only that, but she had tracked down sources that either recommended it or said that it was perfectly fine - and she showed them to our mother. After that, co-sleeping was *the* thing to do. And when they discovered that my brother and sister-in-law were keeping their newborn baby in a crib... well tsk tsk on them.

The funny thing about that is I remember when my mother had my youngest brother and sister in bed with them until they were 5 or older. I don't remember if she had them in bed when they were babies though, but I'm guessing she must have.

Before I had baby girl I tried to get little man to sleep in either the crib or his toddler bed, he was almost 2 at the time. It never quite worked out.

Before I had baby girl I was determined to have her sleep in the basinette. That never panned out either :) The first night I brought her into bed, because same thing as little man - restless sleeping that would keep me awake all night. Now I really didn't want to have 2 in the bed, but we made it work. We ended up getting a King sized bed.

Of course this time -- there's pretty much no way we can have 3 in bed with us! There's barely room with the two ;) and they end up kicking and pulling hair and hogging the bed and covers.

My mother is coming to stay with me for a couple of weeks while my husband is away for work -in case I go into labor early. My sister asked her what she hoped to accomplish while she was here (as if she's here for any other reason?) And she said that her mission was to get the two little ones sleeping in their own beds. As if #1: we hadn't thought of that #2 she could actually accomplish this task... A couple of days before I had this conversation with my mother we had actually re-arranged things, got the kids' beds set up and had been using them for the past couple of nights. The first two nights they both ended up in bed with us rather quickly, but guess what? Baby girl will stay in her bed all night. And little man will make it until 6am before he comes and gets in bed with us. I think we did pretty good on that front without any help ;)

But anyway, my mother is arriving today with her whole bag of "supernanny." She's bringing with her a timer for time outs (sorry mom, but we already have a timer and use time outs), and a toy organizer. And lots of ideas about how we should re-arrange our house...

This should be fun! ;)


Tanya said...

Ry is a co-sleeper. i tried to put her in the bassinet after a few weeks & i didn't get any sleep. its just easier...we both get good sleep. LOL

April said...

Good luck with your mom!

Anonymous said...

We already sleep with our two big dogs in bed...what's a few kids? Lol!

EE said...

My 12 year old daughter is in my bed right now...
12 years is too dang long:)

~~Mel~~ said...

I never thought I'd be *for* co-sleeping...but when I brought the boy home and he fussed (which in turn had me up checking on him) I figured it would just be easier...not to mention I was single at the time and had a big bed...why not bring him in??? lol.

It took close to 5 years to break him of the co-sleeping...he'd always start out in his bed and then come into mine.

I'm glad your kids seem to be breaking the habit...3 kids and 2 adults (even in a king size bed) is alot!

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