Saturday, July 28, 2007

We Tried Co-Sleeping, but It Didn't Work for

... me.
... my husband.
... my baby.

You fill in the blank. Maybe it really, really didn't work and will never work under any conditions. Can I make a couple suggestions, though?

1) Get a white noise machine. This will keep light sleepers from waking at every little sound. We use one.
2) Get a bigger bed. Co-sleeping isn't fun when there's no room to roll over.
3) Give it time. Funny how we will expect a baby to adapt to solitary sleep, even if it takes two weeks, yet we ourselves often don't want to adapt our sleeping habits to include a baby. The first few nights of co-sleeping might feel really strange. You're not used to a baby being there. You might not sleep as well. Even a few nights into it, you might not sleep as well. Or perhaps it'll be your spouse wanting to throw in the towel. Give it a few weeks though, and then see how you feel.

Am I trying to convince you to co-sleep? Not if your baby is older than six months and what you're already doing works! I want to share this, though, as one of the few ways that a mother can get a good night's sleep while tending to the needs of her baby.

After all, when your baby wakes in her crib, she cries until you come and pick her up and tend to her then put her down-- and both of you have lost some sleep. When your baby wakes in your bed, she whimpers and you roll over and offer a breast as the two of you drift back into sleep without ever fully waking up. I still nurse my son in the night, but I can never tell in the morning when or how often or anything. I'm just vaguely aware that it occurred.

Thus, the issue of my child "sleeping through the night" is the least of my concerns. We have spells when it happens, but that's neither here nor there for me. When someone asks if he sleeps through the night, I say "yes." I don't think he's much aware of those night feeds any more than I am, with the both of us dozing through them!

Though the first time I answered another mother that "Yes, Peter sleeps through the night", I felt like a pile of slop when she said, "Oh, you are so lucky! My son is six months, and he still wakes up several times." At which point I stammered that Peter doesn't really sleep through the night, that he still nurses, he just doesn't fully wake up...

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