Me before I gave birth: “I’m not going to co-sleep!”
It’s 2 A.M.
Wake up from sleep. Pick up Daisy and bring her to the bed. Nurse her back to sleep.
Put her back in the bassinet.
I drift back to sleep. Daisy sleeps for about 10 minutes.
Wake up and stagger to the bassinet to pick up Daisy. Rock and cradle her in the rocking chair. She falls asleep. Put her back in the bassinet.
I drift back to sleep. Daisy sleeps for 40 minutes.
Open my eyes. Wait about a minute for my entire body to wake up. Pick up Daisy and nurse her in the rocking chair. Daisy doesn’t quite fall asleep while she nurses so I rock with her in the chair for a while.
Get sleepy. Very sleepy.
Fall into some sort of half sleep and half awake state. Wake up in a jolt. Look down at Daisy. “Ok, good I’m still holding her.” Daisy is asleep.
Put her back in the bassinet.
Daisy wakes up and whimpers a bit.
Pick up Daisy and put her next to me in the bed. Sleep.
That was the night that Daisy was born. I honestly never thought I would be that mom who would co-sleep with her baby. In nursing school, we were taught the risks of bed sharing. We were to teach our patients how to create a safe sleeping environment for their baby. We were to discourage co-sleeping to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
I remember thinking that I would not co-sleep with my baby when that day came. I would put my baby in a crib with a tight fitting sheet, no blankets, no pillows, toys or bumpers. I even judged people who co-slept with their babies. IM SORRY. I thought it was poor parenting that they put their babies at risk that way and that they didn’t try hard enough to put the baby in the crib. It can’t be that hard right?!
The first night with Daisy wasn’t easy. Heck, the first three or four months with Daisy weren’t easy. She wouldn’t sleep on her own for very long. She wouldn’t sleep in her crib, her bassinet or her co-sleeper. Yes, she had a lot of places to sleep in but didn’t like any of them. I don’t think I did everything I possibly could but I did a lot to try and put her to sleep in her crib. One night I even got in the crib! It worked…except she only slept for about an hour after I got out.
Every night for four months I tried to put Daisy to sleep in her crib. We always ended up co-sleeping. Before she was five months, I gave up trying to put her in the crib and just embraced co-sleeping. It definitely lowered my stress levels and didn’t make me dread our bedtime.
I don’t think most first time moms plan on co-sleeping with their newborns. Everyone plans out the nursery and the crib. A lot of people spend crazy amounts of money on a fancy crib. Most will probably daydream about putting their angelic-faced sleeping baby down on the crib ever so slowly and the baby, still angelic-faced, will just stay sleeping as the mom sets it down. The reality is, many moms will end up co-sleeping with their baby at least once. Many moms will stay co-sleeping until their baby grows up well into toddlerhood.
I think it’s in everybody’s best interest to prepare for “emergency co-sleeping”. Even if you don’t plan on co-sleeping, it doesn’t hurt to be ready. You don’t want to be that mom that falls asleep holding her baby on the couch. It’s a horrible feeling to suddenly wake up and be aware that you have fallen asleep holding your baby. I’ve been there.
I don’t feel comfortable giving advice on how to safely co-sleep because I’m not qualified and there’s a lot to take into consideration. I apologize if you thought you were going to get a list of tips and tricks! I did my own research on how to co-sleep safely. I will say that I read books, articles, and perused Internet forums. I also talked to other co-sleeping moms who gave me some advice on how they co-sleep safely. From all the information I gathered, I created a safe co-sleeping environment for my baby and I. Eight months later and we are still co-sleeping. Safely. Happily.
Co-sleeping is not for everybody. Even HealthLink BC recognizes that some people will co-sleep and has provided a list of suggestions to reduce the risk of bed sharing. Check it out here.
I actually really love sleeping next to Daisy. I feel that the safest place for her to sleep is next to me. When she was around six months, Daisy could sleep longer in her crib, especially for naps. I tried to put her in her crib, which is placed in our bedroom, for a couple of nights. I always ended up just picking her up and bringing her back to bed. I felt a sort of uneasiness when we would sleep apart. I would stare at the crib until I couldn’t stay awake any more. One time I’m pretty sure I sleep-walked to her crib, picked her up and put her next to me in bed! I don’t remember picking her up because she was crying. I woke up and was surprised to find her next to me.
It might seem like it will take forever for her to co-sleep. But I also know that when she’s all grown up, she won’t be sleeping next to me anymore. I think that time is longer and I know for sure that I’ll be longing for the days that we co-slept.
Oh my gosh, I feel sad thinking about that even right now.
Ok end of post. Going to Daisy and co-sleeping the sh*t out of her right now.