The Accidental Cosleeper

You know how before you have a baby you make all these rash statements?  "I will not let my children watch more than half an hour of television!"  "I will feed my children organic food!"  "My child will play with wooden, and not plastic noisy toys!"  Then, it comes down to the crunch, and you're sitting at the Burger King playcenter while your child watches the television there, holding the cheap whale toy that he just got from his happy meal because you needed a half hour of downtime.  You know how that happens, right?

Well, I never swore off television or crappy food, but I did swear I would never cosleep.  It was too dangerous!  I live in fear of SIDS.  With N, around month four I buckled like a belt and started to cosleep with him during naps when I realized it extended his twenty or thirty minute nap to three hours and I desperately needed sleep.  To be fair, half my fear of cosleeping comes from the fact that P is a champion of sleep.  The man has nearly crushed ME during his sleeping.  The cats won't sleep on his side of the bed normally.  So, with the naps, N and I napped alone and since neither of us moved and I'd wake up the second he'd fuss (so that I could soothe him right back into that nap), it still felt safe.

Well, nowadays, not so much.  N2 has forced me to cave.  Even in the hospital, she refused to sleep in their little bassinet, only happy in my arms.  Worse, since we have N, we couldn't adapt our sleep schedule to hers in the first month.  Since I was breastfeeding, I just stayed up with her.  Then, one magic super sleepy moment, I noticed that she slept if I held her in my arms in bed.  She slept for three hours.  Sometimes, crazily, she slept four hours!  Four hours of sleep to a sleep-deprived lady was like crack.  I'd try and try to put her in the bassinet and when she whimpered out of control, I'd pick her up, and into bed she'd come, sleepy and happy. 

That Are Nearly The Same

It turns out that cosleeping is actually good for me too.  I normally spend some time (a lot of time) worrying and planning and fretting at night instead of sleeping.  I can't relax at all.  But, put a baby in my arms, and I stare intensely at my darling's face.  As my children's hands relax indicating that they've fallen asleep, my whole body relaxes.  I can't bother to fret or worry while holding my babies close.  I'm too busy thinking about how much I love them.

So, I'm cosleeping once again with a baby, a bit more this time.  N2 spends a great deal of time in the early morning hours in our bed.  If she wakes after five in the morning, she gets a fast trip to the middle of our bed with my arms curled protectively around her.  If she can't sleep in the middle of the night?  More cosleeping.  During afternoon naps, she sometimes gets to sleep between the occasionally flailing N and me.  There I have to do a bit more proactive protecting by making sure that he isn't too close to her.  Like his father, he is not gentle when he turns over in his sleep.

I'd hate to say this, but I find cosleeping rather lovely now.  I'm not saying I'm going to go all Dr. Sears on you and keep my children in my bed until they naturally want to move to their own beds, but I do think my next bedroom, if I get it in the next few years, will have a king sized bed so that we have room for little ones to nap with us whenever they like.


Helen said...

What I like best about this post? You're sleeping, too! Woo! (But tell Paul I'll still back him up if you start talking about more babies as a cure to insomnia.) said...

Hooray to cosleeping! I said the same "no way" and like you. Ollie gets the fast trip to bed at 5am��. I love cosleeping!

mermaids said...

naps with baby (and then babies) are some of my fondest memories of those early days. you do whatever you have to do to get some sleep. baby smell and squishiness are a wonderful sleep inducer. i guess it would be weird if i asked to borrow someone's baby as a cure for my insomnia.