So last week Mike and I had enough of the poor sleeping from our poor little boy. It had been like this for the past month or so now: waking up two or three times a night, at worst every two hours, nursing, refusing to nurse, bouncing around and tossing his binki everywhere (or at us laying in bed trying to ignore him), eventually ending up in bed with us, tossing, flopping, punching, and just generally keeping us awake for most of the night.
By Thursday last week I was so done. Everyone was coming down with the creeping crud (again! Still? This winter, I swear…), and exhaustion on top of that was not helping. I couldn’t blame Finn’s poor sleeping habits on learning a new skill, a bad cold, or whatever anymore. Enough was enough. He was moving out into his own room. I planned on getting an extra space heater and a fan (cheap white noise maker), and anything else I needed as I cleaned up the ‘guest’ room that’s got all his stuff, except his bed, in it.
And then I read this article that a friend (Thanks Rebecca!) had posted on Facebook. It had a lot of good research in it, including things like this quote…
Children who cosleep are generally more independent and secure, develop close and lasting bonds to their families, and report more happiness and general life satisfaction than children who sleep alone.
And then I felt guilty. See, my goal was to not even consider moving him out of our room till he was one. It just didn’t feel right. He’s just a baby. We co-slept with him using the ArmsReach co-sleeper bassinet till he grew out of it, and it was wonderful. I didn’t have to get up out of bed to soothe him, and, though the kid nursed every two to three hours for the first few months of his life (he grew like a weed, I tell ya), he barely woke up otherwise.
Then it dawned on me, especially after reading that article (seriously, click on it. Pretty good stuff). He wasn’t just going through a phase or being obnoxious at night. He missed us. My little super-extrovert wanted to make sure Mommy and Daddy were okay, and then he would be okay. That’s why he stopped fighting sleep when we gave up and let him sleep between us.
Thinking about this, and reconsidering his eviction notice, I watched him as he played and tried to yammer and gobble out sentences in his own baby-speak. Of course he needs more reassurance than ever. For the first time in his short little life, the world is his to walk around in. Things are fun and exciting, but can also be dangerous. Mommy and Daddy can leave, and he doesn’t know how long it will be till they come back. He understands a little bit of language, but he doesn’t comprehend when we explain things to him yet. But he’s trying. And it’s hard work, and it’s frustrating.
So I decided he’s allowed to want to be with us at night. Of course he would. After all, he’s just a baby! He wouldn’t understand that he’s perfectly safe in his own room. He would only understand that his mom and dad are nowhere in sight when it’s dark and he’s small and all alone.
But there was still the problem of us actually getting some sleep. So instead of kicking him out, we decided to make his crib like his cosleeper bassinet. The sliding rail side of his crib is gone, and the crib is right against our bed, with just a three inch difference in height (his mattress is a little lower). I was worried about him crawling off our bed when he did wake up, so I lined the floor with pillows and blankets (except where the dog’s bed is. That’s fluffy enough). However, when I let him play on the bed to see what he would do, it turns out he knows how to swing his legs around and get down! *sigh* The pillows stay however. I would rather be safe than sorry.
Now remember – this happened last Thursday night, so we’ve been sleeping like this for the past four days now. And for the past four days he’s gone from waking up every two hours to waking up…
Not even kidding. Well, twice if you count the occasional morning, but by that time it could be my alarm waking him up, or if it’s late enough, he’s just ready to get up! Now he has fussed here and there with the occasional bad dream or gas or whatever, but he would lift up his head and see me so close, or I would just reach out my arm and pat him or reposition him and back to sleep we would be. I don’t even think I’ve woken up entirely. It’s fantastic. I haven’t even had to wake Mike up at all the past few nights, and that hasn’t happened since Christmas. Of course, it remains to be seen if this is a good long-term-ish solution, but I feel well rested, at that’s my only goal for the time being. He can get his own room when he’s ready.
After all, like my Grandma says, he’ll definitely be in his own room by the time he’s 15.
Did you co-sleep with your kids? Or do you think this whole thing is poppycock, and makes for mamas-boys (or girls?) overly dependent on their parents? What did you do with your kids for a good night’s sleep?