I write this post snuggled up in our bed with my daughter. Feeding her to sleep, (currently unsuccessfully as she has just learnt to wiggle and is keen to show it off.)
Sleep- that parenting area that is guaranteed to split the crowd. At this point I’d like to reiterate that this blog does not aim to judge or instruct, but simply to share, and in some cases defend, the choices I have made.
Before F was born my husband and I talked with absolute certainty of what we would do regarding sleep. We would NEVER have our daughter in our bed, it’s dangerous and sets you up fir life. We would use controlled crying when she was older and we needed to instill a routine. Oh how naive we were!!
Within a week I had fallen asleep while feeding in the night. Against all our intentions we were co-sleeping, all be it accidentally. So, I did some reading. We accepted that we wanted to co-sleep, for comfort, for ease and for bonding- and of course to allow me to actually get some sleep once in a while. So I read up on how to do so safely. For anyone else interested I highly recommend a look. http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth/advice/0071398856.php?nid=367. And for us, it worked. When F grew out of her Moses basket at 3 months we knew, that for our family, it was too early for her to be in her own room, so we rented the NCT benest crib. A sidecar crib that allows baby to sleep right next to Mum, but in her own bed. Now, as much as I love this crib 9 nights out of 10 she still spends the night in bed with us. She wakes, on average, every 3 hours, feeding and then returning to sleep. Inevitably I fall asleep during some, if not all of these feeds, (another bonus of breastfeeding is that, at night time, it releases a hormone to make both mum and baby sleepy). And if I fall asleep and she stays in our bed, so be it, she is happy and she is safe. We drift in and out of consciousness. She and I are in tune, she latches on in a semi awake state, I cuddle, I adjust my clothing and ensure she’s on the correct side. (no one wants lopsided boobs!) When she’s more awake we play, we rock, we sing, we change the odd nappy and have a lot of giggles. Yes I’m exhausted, but I love it. And I have a heck of a lot more sleep than I would if I had to keep getting out of bed to sort her out!
However, we face a new challenge,
F is crawling. She is also pulling herself up on things. She is now (even as I type) pulling herself up using the edge of the crib. This sleeping set up is reaching the end of its safe life.
She has her own room. There is a cot in it. The cot is being used for storage. It’s time to clear it out and move her in. I’m not ready. I don’t think she is either. We will try. Friends have told me that their babies started to sleep for longer when in their own room, perhaps this will happen to us too. (although- I don’t think I’m ready for that either!)
I realise a lot of my choices here could be quite controversial, (and I am sure the in laws don’t approve!) feeding to sleep and bedsharing are certainty contentious issues. We also have no fixed routine, and I have learnt that if she is not sleepy there is no point in trying to male her sleep! (hence why she is now back downstairs and rolling on the floor- this post is taking a while!)
I, personally, will never let my daughter “cry it out”, in fact, if I can offer her comfort I will never allow her to cry. I have read into this area too, and I respect those who make this decision, but it’s not for me. Not for us. I have my reasons and strong beliefs, but I do not want to sound judgmental here, so I will add no further details.
So, last night, while you were sleeping, we cuddled, we fed, we sang, we wiggled, we laughed, we rocked, we changed, and, believe it or not, for a while, we even slept.