Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sleep Part 1

Baby had a 45 minute nap this morning around 10...as she normally does. She usually wakes up anywhere between 7:30 and 9. She is absolutely adorable in the mornings. She is super smiley and giggly and loves to play and interact for a couple of hours. Even if I've only had 4 or 5 hours of sleep the night before I can't help but be wide awake to enjoy the time with her. She actually sleeps quite well now. At least, well enough for S and I at this point. More sleep would be nice of course but I've accepted that I won't have interrupted sleep for quite some time. Now that I've accepted it, it's easier to deal with! For the first month or so, Baby would wake up pretty much every hour all night. And, she would only fall back asleep if one of us held her. At times, she would wake up as soon as we laid her down - there was a lot of sitting up and semi-sleeping those nights. Some days I would be so exhausted I couldn't even think. Often we are out every day, all day so when she would have her "power naps" of 3-4 hours I couldn't take advantage of that and "sleep when the baby sleeps" as everyone kept advising me to do. Also, I tend to get caught up in trying to get a ton of stuff done while she naps...dishes, laundry, cleaning up, etc. etc. I've gotten a bit better at relaxing at least when she naps sometimes. Even if I don't sleep, I'll sometimes veg out in front of the TV (olympics!) or catch up online.

One day when she was around 6 weeks old she suddenly slept for 3.5 hours one night in a stretch. I woke up abruptly, stared at the clock and wondered what the heck was wrong! I looked over at Baby and she was sleeping peacefully beside me and woke up a few minutes later happy and well rested. That has pretty much been the norm since that night. She sleeps for 3 to 3.5 hours, wakes up to nurse, sleeps another 2-3 hours, wakes up to nurse and then sleeps another hour or two. While this might not seem like a lot of sleep...it is when compared to the first first weeks after she was born. This seems like an ENORMOUS amount of sleep after those early days. However, even those early nights were manageable. It helped me a lot that S would sit up awake for an hour and hold Baby after I had nursed her so I could get some sleep. It also helps that Baby sleeps with us.

When we first started trying to have a baby I imagined that the baby would sleep in his or her crib in our room for the first few weeks and then move into their own room. That's the way it was supposed to be right? We do not have much space in our room though (we have a king sized bed in a fairly compact room) so we then moved to imagining a bassinet beside the bed on my side. To be honest though, they were all kinda ugly and the only "cool" ones were so crazy expensive for something that would only be used for a few months that we got turned off that idea too. I started reading about co-sleeping online. I talked to other moms who co-slept - some planned, some not planned. Everyone agreed that they slept so much better when baby was in bed with them...the whole family seemed to sleep better. I immediately took to the idea but was worried about the safety of it. S was open to the idea but not entirely so...because of safety concerns and comments from her co-workers that "you'll never get the baby out of your bed" if you start out co-sleeping. I worried about smothering the baby or the baby rolling out of bed. I did some more research online and found about the arm's reach co-sleeper and the snuggle nest. The arm's reach product sounded interesting but we didn't think it would work on our bed (a platform bed) and it was pricey. The snuggle nest seemed really simple and something that we wanted to check out. Unfortunately, we couldn't find it in Canada. We drove to Bellingham to try and find it and couldn't find it there either. After a bit more research, I found the safe and secure co-sleeper at babies r us. We picked it up and decided we would give it a try. We put it on our mattress inbetween us. Although it's fairly short (Baby will likely be too long for it any day now....she's quite tall and has been since birth) it has been perfect. It has hard sides and there is no way either of us would roll over it. It gave us the co-sleeping benefits of having her close to us all night and the piece of mind of being safe. Fast forward to when Baby is about 6 weeks. She is still not sleeping longer that 2 hours at a time. Remember the night I mentioned above where she slept 3.5 hours? Well, that night, I scooped her up out of the co-sleeper and laid her down beside me to cuddle....we woke up 3.5 hours later :) I'm no longer afraid of rolling over on her but I do sleep in a particular position and modify how I sleep when she's beside me. She usually still sleeps the first part of the night in the co-sleeper (where she now sleeps 3.5 hours there too...) and then after the first wake up she cuddles with me. Everyone says the baby shouldn't be between 2 people to sleep because only the birth mother is aware enough for it to be safe. However, so far, it's worked fine for us. With our king sized bed Baby and I are far enough away from S that it's not really an issue anyway. When she starts rolling around we'll reassess and see how to work things out.

Another benefit of co-sleeping is not having to get up to breast feed. I only recently mastered nursing her while I'm laying down which is even easier...but even with having to sit up and pick her up, it's still easier and less disruptive than having to get out of bed to do it.

The main benefit of co-sleeping for me is that Baby is close to us during the night. I absolutely love cuddling with her during the night and waking up to see her beautiful face grinning away beside me. Am I afraid that she'll "never leave our bed"? Not at all. I'm very confident that she'll leave when she's ready to sleep on her own. And until then, our family can get as much sleep and as many cuddles as possible!

Note: I do think that having a king sized bed makes using the co-sleeper easier. Personally, I think it would take up too much room in even a queen sized bed.

Oh, and we never did buy a bassinet...or a crib.

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