Shhh, I have a secret.

Actually, I have two (let’s be honest, I have lots, but I’m going for an effect here).

My first secret is that I co-sleep.  In some circles that wouldn’t rate a mention, but others would be horrified.  I have had my one year old in the bed pretty much for a year, the cot sits in a corner of the room and I stare longingly at it.

Because that’s my second secret – I hate co-sleeping.  I would love to get her in the cot, even just for a few hours, even for a nap.  I hate being squashed to the edge.  I hate having to lie in the right position because she’s sucking.  I hate not being able to snuggle up to my husband.  I hate having to sneak into bed because it will wake her up.

So both ‘sides’ of that particular parenting divide can be upset with me.

If I hate it, why do I do it?  Well I hate it less than the alternatives.  Midget had reflux, which meant many hours of pacing the floor then very carefully falling into bed exhausted (because if she was jiggled in any way it started all over again).  Plus she would only go to sleep by feeding – even being held by Daddy while I went to the toilet meant hysterical screaming to the point of throwing up.  So seeing as I don’t want to deal with screaming (not crying), vomit, throwing herself around and hours to calm down, it’s into bed with her.

And I have to admit that I’m doing very well for someone whose one year old feeds 4 or 5 times a night, every night, still.  I manage to get up and be coherent every day, I occasionally think of really inventive things to do with my toddler, although there have been some really hard times.  But on balance I think it’s been easier than the alternative. 

There are several take home messages here (other than the fact that I am so jealous of any baby that sleeps longer than 40 minutes).

  • Accept reality.  Sometimes there are things we don’t want to do.  Sometimes we’re stuck with only bad choices, and we just have to go with the least bad.
  • I’m an adult.  It’s a lot easier for me to understand what is happening and change than it is for a baby.  And I’m the one who got myself into this situation by having a baby, she didn’t ask for it.
  • Do whatever you can to minimise the stress.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so you have to make sure you’re there at the end.
  • The only people whose opinions matter are yours and your family’s (including your baby).  It doesn’t matter if everyone else thinks you’re wrong.

And I’m sure there are lots more.  I hope my year long experiment in how little sleep we need/how many hours you can be attached to a baby helps others feel better about some of their decisions.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by plahski on May 8, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Oh good… I thought this was going to be a crying game moment in our first week. Lucky it was only that you co-sleep.

    Actually (like my whole parenting ‘style’) I let Charlotte sleep wherever she will stay that way!

    I mostly co-sleep (don’t tell the pediatrician – who thinks I’m not consistent enough) but I do sometimes have her in the cot. I wish she would stay there all night and whenever she has a nap but I don’t always have the support of another to get her back to sleep! My way is the popping out a boob school of thought for that scenario!

    There is probably a better way … out there … somewhere …

    I have found that less sleep = more seizures for her so I am willing to sacrifice my bed and time to ensure she doesn’t have too many.

    Reply

  2. Posted by mummytiff on May 9, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Everything you mentioned hating about co-sleeping I feel the same way about! I don’t find it a beautiful, snuggly, cosy thing. I am sure I would love waking up snuggled up to my child if in fact that was a reality for us. Instead the reality is that I wake up with them sitting on my head or poking me in the eye as they threaten to dive off the bed over my shoulder at 4am! Despite co-sleeping from birth to 8 months full-time with both Isabelle and Samuel they both seem to view our bed as a place of play, rather than a place of rest.

    I must admit too that I feet like a bit of a co-sleeping failure when I read stories of people waking many times in the night but feeling refreshed and just wonderful BECAUSE they co-sleep. I have never felt like that. I feel like crap whether we’re bedsharing or not. If we are I haven’t had a proper night sleep because I am frequently woken by thrashing child, uncomfortable because of the position I sleep in, cold because I have lost the covers, whinge whinge whinge! If we aren’t co-sleeping then I am still up walking between our room and Samuel’s room several times a night.

    So it’s a bit of a quandry for us. Sleep deprivation is a bitch and no particular sleep method seems to reduce that sleep deprivation for me……time and my body adjusting to less sleep seems to ease the pain somewhat though. 🙂

    Reply

  3. Wow I feel so much better… I co-sleep but not by choice, I have a high needs high everything full on child and I do so so we can all not scream at the end of the day. Buts its nice to say I love it…. but I hate it. So nice to let that out….its not for ever and this too shall pass right.. the co-sleeping thang?!

    Reply

  4. Posted by starmomi on July 13, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    This was very interesting for me to read, I co-sleep, but when DD was first born I wanted to put her in a cot in the same room but a little distance from the bed. My mum (who I slept next to till I was about 10) disagreed with my choice, she thought it would be much easier for me to have a single bed set up next to our queen while DD and I shared the big bed! I was adamant that I wasn’t going to co-sleep, 5 weeks later I got tired of having to climb out of bed many times a night, and DD’s been sleeping next to me ever since! It has its ups and downs just like everything else, but it’s the easiest option for us to all get a good night’s sleep!

    Reply

  5. We’ve actually had a breakthrough recently, she will now sleep on a mattress next to our bed. I jump back and forth, depending on where I fall asleep! She’s sleeping much better, she will actually self-settle occasionally, is only(!) having 4 feeds during the night, and grizzles when she wakes up rather than loud crying. The problem was always room – 3 in a queen size bed just didn’t fit, even if one of them was really little, and we were all disturbing each other or being jammed against the edge. Now at least we can roll over 🙂

    Reply

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