The unwilling co-sleeper

For 9 long months I have struggled with the baby and sleep. Neither of us has had much shut eye. It has been the major part of our days together. There have been lots of fights, frustration and tears…from both of us.

a sleeping baby

a sleeping baby

The baby doesn’t sleep very well, he is a restless little thing. Forever moving, never stops. The term they use is catnapping. Seriously? Have you seen a cat sleep? Don’t they sleep for 20 hours a day? And pretty sure they don’t wake up screaming after 20 minutes…

When he was younger, he would fall asleep on me. Be it feeding, rocking, or whatever. I guess he just preferred it…(I can hear some people nodding furiously) but I always thought babies should learn to sleep in their own bed from day one. That’s the right way, right? I would forever be putting him in his bed only to have him wake up and cry. It was crazy. I’d have to resettle all over again, which sometimes could take hours…yes that is no exaggeration.

I wouldn’t say I was totally against co-sleeping, but it wasn’t for me. I believe what ever works for you and your family, then so be it. It’s no concern of others. I also believe you should not push your beliefs on others. There are too many “suggestions” for mothers as it is…

I’m not exactly sure when it started, but it did, and it saved everyone. We are now the unwilling co-sleeping family.

I’ve had advice from many healthcare workers not to rock, feed, pat to sleep as they won’t learn to sleep and get sleep associations. Honestly, I tried everything to get him to sleep by himself. He just wouldn’t. I didn’t want him to cry it out as that really achieves nothing but stress on everyone, so I went back to rocking, feeding and patting. Maybe I was expecting too much. The toddler is a great sleeper, so why isn’t this one?

all cuddled up

all cuddled up

Over Easter, the baby was awake and crying for 13 hours straight. He was 2 months old. I was home alone with the boys, and at my wits end. I needed help. It took a lot for me to ask for it. I felt I’d failed at being a mum, as I couldn’t get my baby to sleep. I had nurses around to help with settling techniques. They were cocky, but didn’t win the battle. What they tried, I had done. It felt better knowing it wasn’t just me. We were sent to a sleep centre for a week, and while we were there, the baby was a champion. He put himself to sleep, slept for hours for the first time. The night we came home it all unraveled and it’s been shit ever since. That was 6 months ago.

I was told many, many times to do whatever I can to survive. So I did. I started feeding him to sleep all the time, even if he’d just fed. I rocked him to sleep, then finally, I brought him in to my bed. Being exhausted, it was easier to settle him, he fed and fell asleep. Sometimes I would wake up with him sneaking in a quiet feed. Cheeky bugger…

I wish someone told me earlier to try co-sleeping. I was at the point where I would try anything.

Sleeping is a family job

Sleeping during the day

It got to the point where he would start in his bed at night, then at the next feed around 10, he would come in with me, feed and both of us would fall asleep. We would wake up hours later. It worked, we got some sleep.

The time came for us to end our sleeping arrangements, so one weekend while the husband was away, I stuck to my guns and kept putting him back in his cot. By night 3 he was sleeping til 5 or 6 am by himself. Wonderful! It stayed this way for a few weeks.

Slowly we have somehow returned to our co-sleeping arrangements. It drives me crazy as he kicks, cries and moves all night. I’m forever feeding, sometimes without knowing it! It’s exhausting. I’m over it. But it’s easier having him curled up in my arms for those 3am feeds than hauling myself out of bed.

sometimes I get both of them

sometimes I get both of them. sleeping is a family thing

I don’t follow all the safe sleeping guidelines, I probably should be more diligent with SIDS and all. Many times I’ve found him snuggled too far under covers, almost being rolled on by his dad, we sleep on the lounge together, lucky he hasn’t fallen off. I’ve got rashes on my arms from him sweating, found a hickey on my boob from him misjudging where stuff is, but he smells adorable and I love waking up to the coo’s and ga’s in the early morning. Early being 5am (if I’m lucky for that small sleep in…)

One day I will get him back to his bed. He is only a baby. It’s not like he’s going to be there forever. If he’s still in our bed when he’s 14, I might have a word to him…

So peaceful

So peaceful…finally

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2 thoughts on “The unwilling co-sleeper

  1. Pingback: Postpartum week 2 – Baby | Chia + Chives

  2. Pingback: Where is my zzzzzzzz? | Justicemum

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