Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Co-sleeping


I didn't really think about what I was doing actually had a name. I've been co-sleeping with Gracie for almost 9 months now. It really just started out when she was a newborn as a way for me to get sleep. I was a tired & exhausted mom to 4 kids. The very little sleep I got was precious and any way I could find to get a few more minutes of sleep was something I was looking for. Since I was (and still am) breastfeeding Gracie, when she woke up at night I would just lay on my side in bed and she would nurse and we would both drift off to sleep. (I have to say I have LOVED the side laying nursing position with all my kids. It was SO relaxing. That 15-30 minute break was wonderful.) I find that I'm a VERY light sleeper when it comes to my kids. Any sound or movement they make I hear them. I'm not at ALL concerned about rolling over on them. Of course there are some safety steps to take to make co-sleeping safe. It's funny how my co-sleeping has evolved over time with each child. With Jordan I got up thru out the night and sat up in a rocker to nurse him. I remember how tired I felt at night. It almost hurt to just keep my body upright while he nursed. It was so tiring. Once he was sleeping thru the night he slept in his crib. Then Mya came along. The same thing. Nursing her in that rocker was dreadful. Of course I loved that bonding time with my baby, but when it's every 2 hours you have to sit upright in a chair those middle of the night feedings became very tiresome. By the time Mason came along I said FORGET the rocking chair for late night feedings. I spent the first 2 months of his life sleeping in the living room on our recliner. He layed on my chest. When it was time to feed him....I would nurse him and we would both drift back to sleep. I had my feet up, blanket on me, and the chair was reclined. It wasn't my bed, but it was much more comfortable than sitting up in that little rocker/glider. I was sleeping pretty much all night. My neck was a little sore in the morning but at least I felt rested. After about 4 months he wasn't nursing very much at night. He slept in a bed next to mine. If he would get up at night I would bring him in bed with me to nurse him. And there he would sleep the rest of the night. It was a hit or miss as to whether he would spend the whole night in his bed or mine. He STILL comes in my bed at night. As much as I say I want him to stay in his own bed, there is nothing sweeter than my little 2 yr old boy wanting to cuddle up next to me at night. He has this obsession with rubbing our arms...so when he wakes up all he wants to do is lay in bed and rub my arm until he drifts off to sleep. SO sweet! When Gracie came along I started bringing her in my bed at night to nurse and there she would stay all night long. I didn't really have to fully wake up when she needed to nurse. She is almost 9 months old and she still sleeps in my bed. The nice thing is she goes to sleep in her bed around 8:30pm. Then wakes up anywhere around 11pm-1am to nurse and then stays in bed with me. Right now she is nursing as I type this. She'll end up going to bed with me. She does however think I'm an "all night" milk bar! She is still nursing quite a bit at night. However, I don't think it's that much, she just nurses herself back to sleep when she wakes up. I've tried getting her to take a pacifier but it's a no go. She just wants to nurse. So I let her. Maybe that isn't the "right" thing to do in most people's eyes but it's what works for us. I know she wont' do this forever and it doesn't affect me or the rest of us in any negative way. I can definetly say I'm a big fan of "co-sleeping". I wish I would have done it more with the first 2 when they were newborns. Those night time feedings would have so much more of a bonding experience and not so dreadful. When the sun comes up and it's time to wake up my bed usually has 3 or 4 little bodies in it! You will always find Gracie laying close to me, Mason next to me and Mya next to him (she usually sleeps in her bed until early morning. I don't even hear her come in, she just comes in quietly). Every now and then Jordan will wake up and be laying at the end of the bed. Where does Ryan sleep you ask? The poor guy has been camping out on our futon in the living room for well over a year!! We plan on changing that soon. We need to get Mason to go back into his bed (he shares a double bed with Jordan) when he wakes up at night so it's just us and Gracie in our bed. So I would definetly say we are co-sleepers. It's what works for us. We actually started a new bedtime routine when we moved here a few weeks ago. It works out SO much better than what we did before. I put Gracie to bed in her room around 8:30pm. Then I lay in the boys bed with them (in between them to keep Mason from messing with Jordan). Mya has been laying on their floor in there. All 3 of them fall asleep in about 30 minutes. Then I leave their room and put Mya in her bed. That saves me tackling bedtime 3 different times. Jordan always went to bed good, but Mason doens't just lay in his bed if I put him in there awake and Mya likes having me lay with her to. So now I just get all 3 done in a third of the time! So we kinda created a "sibling bed" for them as well. Sleep is such a precious thing and however you can get more of it I say go for it! I've read articles and blogs about how people feel guilty for co-sleeping and how people have said it's "wrong". As long as you make sure you are co-sleeping safely for an infant then there is nothing wrong with it! It's a wonderful bonding experience that I will forever cherish. Plus the extra sleep at night makes everything else fall into place! (the picture I posted with this isn't our actual co-sleeping sleeping arrangement..it's just a picture of the 4 kids one morning in my bed after we woke up. We were all laying there talking and I had to take a picture!)

3 comments:

Homemade Mom said...

I tried to get my babies to sleep on their own, for about the first 2 weeks. I was so exhausted I gave in and put them in bed with me. Hubby and I haven't slept in the same bed for YEARS! I co-slept with each boy in their room. That way when it was time for me to transition out they were safe, happy and comfortable in their own beds. We started them out with twin size beds instead of cribs or toddler beds. I'm now sleeping with my 9 month old in his room while by 4 and 6 year olds play musical beds. They both fall asleep in their own room but when I go to wake them up in the morning they are always together. We do what we have to do and this mom needs her sleep! So I know exactly how you feel!

Shawna said...

That is a good idea to sleep in their bed with them so they are used to sleeping in their room when it's time. It's so much more of a pleasant expirence to co-sleep than to fight bedtime by putting them to sleep in their own beds. I used to dread bedtime, now I enjoy it. And I feel rested as well! Off the subject but it looks like our kids are the exact same age! I have a 6 yr old, 4 yr old and a 9 month old! I also have a 2 yr old in there as well! Thanks for the comment! :)

Simply Sherri said...

We co-slept with our kids from day 1. Neither of my kids have ever slept in a crib. We had one when my oldest was born but we both knew it probably wouldn't get used. I planned to nurse and I didn't like the idea of having to physically get out of bed in the middle of the night to feed the baby. DH works midnights and has since before our oldest was born. I knew that there would be no one to help with the baby at night so it just made sense.

DD slept in our bed until she was 2.5. We moved and my cousin gave us a toddler bed. DD transitioned to it on her own. We never tried to get her to sleep in it, she just did so. We co-slept with DS until he was 20 months old. He self-weaned and put himself to sleep in the big boy bead on the same weekend. It was such a bittersweet moment for me! He stopped nursing one night and crawled up in to the spare twin bed in his sister's room and fell asleep the next. After that, he wanted his own space.

I took some negative comments about us co-sleeping, especially when my daughter was tiny. My MIL was one of the worst. When DS came along though she asked if we were going to co-sleep again. When I said yes she said "good". I was surprised but she realized after seeing how well DD transitioned from our bed to her own that we didn't do her any harm. Her same aged cousin was still having all sorts of sleep issues, problems we had never had. Obviously I can't say co-sleeping would have solved those issues but I can say co-sleeping didn't create any for my kids.