Thursday, September 27, 2012

on co-sleeping

the world of motherhood is as confusing as it is exciting. there is so much information out there and a lot of it is conflicting and most of it is general guidelines. but every family has a different needs, no?

so: co-sleeping. we did it at first. my mom was kind of horrified by the idea but i liked what i read and even if i hadn't read anything about co-sleeping, once i had that teeny tiny baby in my arms i couldn't even imagine putting her little body in a big scary crib to sleep, so she slept with us.

the first week or two she only slept on me. i was exhausted and nursing A LOT (as tends to be the norm with newborns) so i would nurse her in a sitting up/semi-reclined position and just fall asleep holding her. boy oh boy, was my back ever sore! but it worked for us! i wasn't worried about dropping her or rolling over onto her because, well, i just wasn't. and sure enough, every time i woke up, there she would be in my arms and everything would be hunky-dory. (aside from, you know, being in pain, always. and exhausted. and crying through feedings because it hurt *so much*.) it should also be noted that we had an *arm's reach co-sleeper* all set up, but it's main purpose at this point was holding spare blankeys and (cloth!) diapers.

after about four weeks i (finally) got a hang of the ol' side-lying nursing position, and it changed my life. for real. I COULD SLEEP AGAIN. and sleep i did, with my little rosebud nestled into me. when she needed to feed, she just did!!! i wouldn't even wake up all the time, which was glorious. a feeding every few hours was no longer a painful and torturous endeavour. at this point i pretty much figured everybody who didn't co-sleep must be insane. i was still waking up often, but not having to move made it okay.

sometime between two months and three months postpartum, i began to feel, well, healed, and b. and i were feeling the need for a little bit more intimacy, and that's when that co-sleeper REALLY came in handy. i would transfer rosie over after nursing her to sleep and that would allow us to sleep as we normally would without her little body right there, but she still *was* right there, which was the beauty of it all. she would inevitably wake up at some point during the night and end up back in bed with us, but hey, you take what you can get, right? and we loved her little baby snuggles all the more.

fast-forward to about two or three weeks ago. i read that if you don't get your babe out of your bed by six months, they often don't make the transition until two or three years. i was a little worried. was i ready for that much of a co-sleeping commitment? worried as i was, i wasn't really strongly considering making a change. Then B. says, why don' we just try her out in her crib, just as an experiment? we'll just see how it goes.

verdict? it was no big thing. I think it was harder on me than it was on her. rosebud sleeps super well in her crib. she usually goes down between 930 and 1030 and wakes up anytime between 6-8. i feel we are still inherently connected. I used to have to set 3 alarm clocks when i was working he morning shift because i would sleep through not one, but two alarms. now, i just kind of jolt awake and then sneak into her room to find her smiling and playing in her crib in the morning light. it's adorable! and validating! and then, guess what? i take her back into bed with me and we snuggle for another couple or few hours, she nurses, i kiss her little head, B. dotes on her, we all share smiles and we get a couple more z's in while we can. and it's AWESOME.

am i taking sides in the bedding debate? AU CONTRAIRE! if there is (and there is) a moral to this exceedingly long and boring to anybody but me story, it's that you should just follow your instincts. they're usually pretty okay.

i wanted to be a co-sleeping mom. and i was. and guess what, i still think i am, because those morning time hours are precious and priceless, and rosie seems content and thriving, so we must be doing okay! sometimes experience, personal, lived-in experience means more than anything you read or hear.

the end.

1 comment:

  1. Tara, this sounds so much like my experience with Lorelei! I totally agree with you that you just have to do what feels right and works for you. We moved L to a crib at 5 months and I wasn't ready for it but she totally was -- happy as a clam. And the morning sleepy snuggles are the best. :) Sounds like you are all doing so well.