Sleep. It’s the one thing I really miss with this whole parenting lark. It’s the subject of almost all mum-chats I know and something to be widely celebrated. Or not.
Like most new parents, we started off with co-sleeping and a moses basket. I’ve written about how well that wasn’t really going before and our foray into bed sharing. Time went on and we upgraded the unused moses basket to a Chicco Next2me Side Sleeping Crib that helped immensely. Even if just to give ME something to sleep on whilst the baby hogged the bed most nights. You don’t know comfort until you’ve wedged half of your quilt-less body into a Chicco, trust me.
The Next2me couldn’t fix everything. Like clockwork, we’d wake up every other hour demanding a feed and a re-settle. He’d fall asleep instantly in our bed but if I moved him 30cm to the left and onto his own bed, all hell would break loose. I started to believe it was the smell of me (aka. dinner) that was disturbing him and so we moved him to the other side of the room. Finally, we seemed to have cracked it. We went from waking every other hour to having two feeds in the night; one at 11pm and one at 3am. It felt good. Almost, almost brag-able.
The problem with sleep is as soon as you get used to a routine, it changes. We’d mastered staggering across the room in the dark. I’d adapted to the fact that I could no longer sleep with my hand on his back to check his breathing. We were adjusted. And then… the wake ups started again.
Can you call it co-sleeping if neither of you is sleeping?!
He’d fight sleep like a trooper; dozing off in my arms only to scream the minute he was put down. We’d commando crawl out of the room, tiptoeing back in when we wanted to go to bed to no avail. He always woke. ALWAYS. Then, one night, mid-family-illness, we all went to bed at 8pm. With rock-hard boobs, I woke at 1am convinced the worst had happened. It hadn’t, he promptly woke up there and then. But it confirmed a growing fear in my head… we were waking him. It was time for him to go into his own room.
At twenty-eight weeks old, my little baby transitioned into his own big-boy room. He did it flawlessly whilst I bawled my eyes out half of the night. We hooked up the video monitor and I watched him every hour, occasionally stroking the screen (I know. Sometimes I don’t recognise myself). And do you know what? He went straight back to his routine; two feeds a night, sometimes less.
Since those first few nights, we’ve started to toy with the idea that we may be getting there with this sleep thing for once and for all. Granted, there are a few adjustments we still need to make; for one thing the room is still quite light. We used to have blackout VELUX blinds fitted in our old house, which kept the bedrooms wonderfully dark (I come from a long line of ‘we can only sleep in pitch black-ness’ and assume he’s inherited the trait). We need to put these in place in this house in order to shut out that pesky sunlight for daytime naps and reduce early morning wake-ups as we move back into longer days. Thankfully, they’re easy to fit.
We also need to find a nappy that keeps him dry for 12 hours (suggestions VERY welcome!) as often he’ll wake early due to an accident and once we’re up, we’re UP. Finally, I need to deal with my attachment issues and needing to pop in to check on him sporadically as that isn’t helping either of us get some rest!
Our co-sleeping nights may well be over but hopefully our sleeping ones are just beginning.