Monday, 27 May 2013

Co-Sleeping


We didn't plan to cosleep. Before Small was born we brought a moses basket, set up her full size cot bed in her bedroom and were gifted a second hand bedside crib from a family member. We'd have her in with us for the first 6 months then she'd go in her own room. That was the plan. We thought we were all sorted.
Nothing could have prepared me for the first night at home after the hospital. Oh how naive I was. I went to go to bed, lay her in the basket - cue the screaming. As a first time mom I just didn't realise before that babies sleep patterns are nothing like ours. It's totally normal and rare for babies to sleep through early on. All I heard were other mothers at my local groups bragging about their kids sleeping through from 7 weeks. I wasn't getting much sleep at all and my husband and I were on shifts - one of us would stay up all night with Small whilst the other went to bed. I'd grab sleep on the sofa if I could, but not often. The first few months were a bit of a blur.
At 4 months she started to sleep a little better and we put her in her own room - it seemed she hated the crib/moses basket as she liked space to roll around. This period didn't last long, I got desperate and turned to baby sleep books. Luckily I was a fan of Dr Sears and had decided early on to take a more 'attachment' based approach to my parenting and I read 'The No Cry Sleep Solution'. It's an amazing book, I only wish I'd read it sooner. It helped me look at babies sleep in such a different way and I devised gentle ways of putting her to bed and dealing with her night time needs.
Only the thing is, she was going to bed on time and getting off to sleep ok but the night was still a bit of a struggle. She'd wake up and fall back to sleep when I brought her through to my bed, but wake and scream as soon as I put her down in her own cot. Some nights we'd repeat this pattern almost endlessly. It was wearing me down.
Then we started cosleeping. Well, sort of. She always starts off the night in her own cot, and sometimes sleeps right through. If she wakes though and is really upset we let her stay with us in her sidecar cot setup. 
I don't know why I just didn't do it sooner. Well ok I do. Everybody kept telling me that once you let them in with you you'll never get them out and that I'd be somehow 'giving in' or a 'lazy parent' if I let it happen.  This arrangement now works so well for us and despite me still getting woken up, I'm getting the most sleep I have since she was born. It's really important to cosleep safely and the sidecar method works well for us as everybody gets their own space. It feels good to know I'm able to comfort her and we've had lots of cute moments and cuddles we wouldn't have had otherwise.

 

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