I have tried so many times to write this.
I swear, I will not delete this post. I will leave it up here and work on it little by little, until I actually post it.
With that said, where on Earth do I start?
I was one of those parents, before my baby was born, who said, “I will NOT allow my baby to sleep in bed with me.”
Taken from www.cosleeping.org —
[ Cosleeping (sometimes spelled co-sleeping, and also known as bed sharing or “having a family bed“) is the practice of having your infant in your bed with you during sleep. Cosleeping promotes breastfeeding and bonding, and it is safer than crib/cot sleeping when practiced correctly. Cosleeping beyond the breastfeeding years is common in many non-Western cultures, and even in the West many families choose to extend cosleeping through toddlerhood and well into middle childhood. ]
I really was dead against it. A week or two before I went into (early) labor (at 36 weeks 3 days), I had my husband set up our cradle in our room, a few feet from our bed. It was adorable and I couldn’t wait to use it. When my water broke on January 27th, at 7:30 am on my DAY off — the day that I planned on washing cradle sheets and baby clothes and packing my hospital bag, as I was in the hospital, I sent my husband home to wash those sheets, so that when we brought our baby home, there would be a place for that baby to sleep.
When I gave birth around midnight on the 28th, and brought that baby boy home on the 30th, we set him in his cradle and hoped he would sleep. And from what I can remember (it’s all so fuzzy!), he did sleep in that cradle. For a few nights, anyways.
Then the nights got harder. Weight issues, nursing issues, sleeping issues… I would sleep in the living room, baby in the pack n’ play, and said cradle went untouched. Then the doctor said, keep nursing as much as possible. And nurse, I did! When I went back to sleeping in the bedroom, I’d try to get up every time he needed to eat, and nurse him in our bed. I’d force myself to sit up, and try to stay awake, but my eyes would close and I’d fall asleep sitting up. One day I saw the “side laying” nursing position online. I immediately tried it, and it worked like a charm! But you know what? It worked SO WELL, that while nursing in that position, both baby and I would fall asleep. And stay asleep.
I got sleep. He got sleep. It was amazing.
Months went by. More nursing/weight gain issues were always our first concern. But, as I’ve gone into detail about in so many blog posts before, I refused to give up. So I discussed with my husband, how co-sleeping helped — baby had access ALL NIGHT LONG and he took advantage of it!
But it started to wear on me after a few months. As much as I loved the sleep I was getting, and loved that he was nursing all night and keeping our nursing relationship alive, it was getting hard. So around 3 or 4 months, even though I wasn’t ready for it, we started trying to transition to the crib.
The only way I could get the baby to sleep was to nurse him down. So I’d bathe him, put him in pj’s, read a book, give a small bottle, and nurse him to sleep. I’d put him in his crib, and sometimes he’d sleep. I even remember a point, where he slept ALL NIGHT in his crib! Even a few times, until 7 or 8am! But I missed him.
That didn’t last long, and he ended up back in bed with us.
A few months later, maybe around 7 or 8 months, we tried again. Same story.
And now, at 10 months, we tried AGAIN. At 6pm, when he’d get tired, we did the same routine. I did it for about a week or two, before realizing it just wasn’t working. We’d lay him in his crib and he’d MAYBE sleep 2 hours. It was hard to get him to even FALL asleep. I’d nurse him in his glider, and the husband would transfer him to the crib. But upon hitting the mattress, he’d wake up IMMEDIATELY and start screaming. We even resorted to laying him down and giving him a few ounces in a bottle to trick him into falling asleep. We did that for a few nights, but he’d still wake up an hour or two later. And sure, it gave me an hour or two to do whatever (mainly sit on the couch and watch a little tv or whatever), but it wasn’t working for me.
Then one afternoon, I did the unthinkable. I was trying to put him down in his crib for an afternoon nap, and I LET HIM CRY. For about 5 minutes. He was so exhausted he DID fall asleep. But even after putting him (AND ME!) through that — he slept for all of 45 minutes. I was not about to let him cry for 45 minutes of sleep.
So I moved on to something else. I took the crib mattress out of his crib and placed it on the floor. I’d do bedtime the same way, only he’d lay on his mattress, and I’d lay next to him. I’d nurse him to sleep and then gently roll away. Same damn story. He’d sleep for an hour or two, and then wake up anyways!
Conclusion: He just WILL NOT SLEEP without me by his side.
Where are we now? Baby boy is 10 and a half months old. I try to put him down on his mattress on the floor at night. It works for an hour or two. During the day, I can get an hour nap out of him. But at night? An hour?
When he wakes up, by 8 or 9pm, I don’t even bother trying to put him down again. Maybe it’s my fault. I’m lazy. It’s probably my fault. But sleeping with him was just so much easier. And he DOES still nurse, a LOT. Throughout the night, he nurses numerous times. Usually he’ll fall right asleep and sleep straight through until midnight, and then nurse off and on until 5 or so.
I’m so torn on whether or not I’m ok with it. Honestly? It’s hard. It’s trying on my relationship with my husband. It’s getting harder for us to sleep. The baby is ALL over the place. Kicking, sometimes screaming. Rolling all over. Arms and legs flying. So sure, HE sleeps good. But we don’t. My back hurts from the position I sleep in to accommodate him.
Part of me wants to sleep cuddled up with him for as long as he will allow it. The other part of me wants him to sleep on his own. Give me some space to spread out. Give me some time with my husband. I don’t know how to get him to sleep on his own, though. And if he DOES start sleeping on his own? We he want to stop nursing?
I’m so torn. Why does this have to be so hard?