When I was pregnant, and even before that, I never understood the people who co-slept with their babies. It seemed strange, foreign, unsafe and a whole slew of those negative words, not to mention just plain weird. After having a baby, I have done a complete 180. In the beginning, Henry slept in his bassinet at night, which was in our room. He’d be right next to our bed, so we’d have easy access to him whenever he woke up. Also, being brand new to the whole parenting thing, it was nice to easily be able to peer into the bassinet to make sure that he was still alive.
For about the first two weeks or so Henry did pretty well at sleeping in his bassinet. We’d put him in there all swaddled up and he’d sleep for 2 to 3 hours at a stretch at night. Then, something changed. I have no idea what changed, all I know is that something did. It seemed like all of a sudden he refused to be in the bassinet. I’d rock and/or nurse him to sleep, and then lay him down in the bassinet and as soon as he touched that mattress he’d wake up crying. At that point, J and I would take turns walking up and down the hall of our house to try and lull him back to sleep. And of course we’d try to lay him back down in his bassinet again, and of course he’d wake up again. We’d go hours like this at night….
Eventually, I’d lay with Henry on my chest in bed until he fell asleep, and then I’d try to transfer him to his bed after he’d been asleep for a while. The problem with that was our bed is very soft, and high off the ground. So, I’d sit up as carefully as I could (never carefully enough) and then I’d have to scoot to the edge of the bed, and the slide down to the ground so that I could put him in the bassinet. It NEVER worked. Maybe it would have if I could have moved gracefully and seamlessly, but I have my doubts that any sleep deprived person at 3:00 am can do that.
After days of being unsuccessful that way, eventually Henry just stayed on my or J’s chest while we slept. From there, we started getting scared that he’s slide off and topple to the floor, so we started putting him in between us and going to sleep that way. And you know what? As soon as we started co-sleeping full on, he slept through the night! My month old baby was sleeping through the night! Of course at this point he was still waking up for one middle of the night feeding, but by 6 weeks, that had stopped. And honestly, I’d rather co-sleep and be rested, than have to wrestle Henry to sleep every night so we could be in separate beds and then no one would get any sleep. It’s a pretty clear choice to me.
J has made the biggest turn around on the co-sleeping front. He was so AGAINST it in the beginning. Afraid that we’d crush him, or knock him off the bed, or smother him and the list goes on and on. But as time went by, he grew to love it. J only gets to see Henry for about 2 to 3 hours a day. An hour in the morning while we’re getting ready, and about 2 hours in the evening (if we’re lucky) before Henry has to go to bed. So, being able to cuddle him, even while he slept made him feel that much closer to him and helped him get those extra snuggles in that all parents are desperate for.
I’m not sure how long it’s been now, but we’ve established a bedtime routine for some time now. Henry goes to bed around 7:30 every night (of course there are the exceptions). So, as J and I don’t go to bed at 7:30, we started putting him in crib for his first sleep stretch. So, from 7:30 to 11:00 – 1:00 he’d sleep in his crib. Once he woke up we’d transfer him to our bed and we’d all go back to sleep again – easy peasy.
Last night we decided to try and keep him in his crib for as long as we could so that we can start the transition for him to be there all night. He went to sleep last night at 7:45 and he slept in there until about 11:00 when he woke up. J replaced his pacifier and he went back to sleep until around 1:00. Again, the pacifier was replaced and he slept until around 2:45. At that time, I got up and rocked him back to sleep for about 10 minutes and was able to put him back down. At 3:45 he woke up again, and J and I were tired…so back into our bed he came until the alarm went off at 6:00.
We’re slowly reaching our goal of having him in his own bed. As much as I love co-sleeping and the fact that it’s saved us an enormous amount of grief and helped us to be rested new parents, it does have its draw backs. That cuddle time you have with your spouse is pretty much gone while you have a baby sleeping between you, not to mention any nighttime recreational activities, if you know what I mean 😉 There were/are also those time were you wake up in a panic because there’s a blanket covering the baby’s face, or when you roll over and discover that your slightly on top of the kiddo. Those things scare the shit out of you, but the good news is that babies are sturdier than we think and a lot more resilient. So, while I’m not as worried anymore about killing him in my sleep, J and I still have freak out moments every now and then.
All in all though, I’m glad we did/are co-sleeping. There’s something special about being able to snuggle with your baby while they sleep, and waking up still snuggled with him.