In my “Recent Drafts” folder, there are atleast 10 different posts about co-sleeping. I’ve been trying to write about it for months. I’ve promised updates on our “sleep,” or sometimes, lack of sleep.
So, here goes.
A quick bit about our history of sleep. From day 1 to, oh — I don’t know — day 3? Baby slept in his cradle next to our bed. And from day 3 until he turned a year old — he slept in our bed. People (mostly people we know in real life — all of my co-sleeping support was online) would tell us we were “ruining” our baby and that he’d never sleep on his own again. But when it’s so easy to go to bed at night at the same time as your baby, why go and try to do something else that just doesn’t work? We’d cuddle in the living room on the couch, usually nursing, and then we’d climb in bed together a little bit later and he’d nurse himself to sleep. If he woke at all during the night it only took a quick latch and nurse and he’d be right back to sleep!
As he neared a year old, it got harder. Even though he still mostly slept through the night, his sleep was different. Some nights he’d want to nurse (or comfort nurse) the entire night. If I tried to move away he’d scream. That in itself was hard enough. But around the same time he became a wild sleeper. Arms and legs swinging all over, smacking me in the face and kicking me in the stomach. Usually resulting in me laying there frustrated and my husband resorting to going and sleeping on the couch.
And when we found out we were pregnant again?! A pregnant mama needs sleep and rest, but also needs to avoid being beat up all night, every night. And the endless nursing on newly pregnant boobies? OUCH. So at just after a year, we decided transition to crib needed to happen.
But right around his birthday, he got sick. The cold, then the stomach bug, then another cold, then teething and cut THREE teeth in ONE night. It was miserable. But once he was feeling better, we stuck to our decision.
It wasn’t easy. He didn’t enjoy our new routine. But he adapted quickly.
Dinner’s usually around 5:30. In the bath at 6. After the bath, the usual “lotion/pj’s/book/gentle playtime/say goodnight.” And the thing we found that worked the best? Daddy put him down, instead of me. I say goodnight and walk away, and Daddy winds up his little musical piggy (that was mine when I was a baby) rocks him for a quick minute in his arms, and then lays him down on his belly, rubs his back for a quick minute, and then walks out. He doesn’t go to bed with a bottle or a pacifier. He’s never been fond of pacifiers, and I quit the bottles before he turned a year old and never looked back. I don’t even allow a sippy cup in his crib. He doesn’t need it.
For a while, he was sleeping 6:30pm to 6am. That was WONDERFUL. Nowadays (at almost 14 months — actually, tomorrow will be 14 months) his sleep is not as great. He’s still ready to knock out by 6:30pm. Which is hard, thanks to Daylight Savings time it’s so light out at 6:30 still. We’ll be looking for dark shades soon. So we let him stay up until about 7 most nights. But lately? He’s awake by 4am. This week, even, he was up one night at 2am, and one night at midnight. MIDNIGHT, you guys.
If he wakes up at midnight or 2am, I can usually put him in bed with me (or on the couch) and eventually get him to fall back asleep for a few hours. But if he wakes up at 4 or 5… that’s it. He’s UP and ready for the day. Unlike Mommy — who can’t deal with being up at 4am if I want to even dream of making it until dinnertime that day.
So how do I get him to sleep later than 4am? Lately he’s only napping ONE time during the day. Sometime around noon. The one thing I can say is that he’s starting to nap on his own… meaning not NEEDING me to nurse him to sleep (yes, we’re still nursing some) and sometimes he’ll even lay on the couch and nap by himself for a bit. It’s been suggested to try to get him to nap atleast one more time during the day — so I’m going to try. We’ll aim for 2 naps and see if he’ll go for it. But also, he’s just SO ready for bed by 6:30pm. I can’t keep him up ANY later, the other night I tried and he fell asleep right on the couch.
But this mama can’t handle being up every day at 4am. I NEED him to sleep atleast a little bit later than that! Now that I’ve hit my 2nd trimester (TODAY marks 14 weeks — going to try to start putting weekly pregnancy updates in here as early as today if I can get to it) I’m feeling a little better. It was a rough first trimester, as it was with my last pregnancy. But still, I don’t know if I can handle 4am every single day.