One of the biggest things I’ve learned since becoming a parent is that you should never judge a parent before you yourself has children and have gone through the same issue. I think back about how silly I was, so innocently naive it was for me as a woman in my early twenties never having had a child of my own, barely ever really having held a baby before – silently judging parents around me. I’d see a mom walking her toddler on one of those backpack-harnesses and shudder and think how terrible she was. I mean, I wouldn’t personally use one, but I definitely see the practicality in one now!
I had friends who co-slept with their babies and young children, and I would think – how horrific, don’t they know how dangerous that is!?
Then one day, on October 19th, 2010 to be exact… I became a mom. And all of those preconceived notions of what is right and what is wrong and the ideal of these rigid rules about how it should be done just flew out the window. And I became a co-sleeper. From day one.
I brought this tiny little 5lb baby home with me and couldn’t for the life of me separate her from my arms. I needed to feel her breathe and hear her movements. I was sucked in by that child and it has been a long road of some crazy sleep habits since then.
I’ll spare you the agonizing details but for the first 10 months of life, Sadie had never once slept alone. Not for naps and not at night. I spent many hours lying staring at the ceiling – and we’ll just leave it at that. By 1 year, Sadie had never slept in a crib. But something just naturally changed at a year. One day out of the blue, she fell asleep in her playpen. This never happened. It was our very own personal miracle that had taken place. We took her cues, and went with it. We started attempting to put her down for naps and bedtime in her playpen. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. We decided maybe it would work best if we moved her real big unused crib into the bedroom and tried that instead. The crib is more comfy and not as squeeky and creaky as the playpen gets with the slightest of movement.
The crib was working almost always! She’s still wake up a time or two in the night, and eventually around 3am would want into bed with us. And I would oblige, because it was a quarter past I’m too tired to care 0′clock. But the point is that we had some of our own space finally. Granted, there was about 10 inches between my side of the bed and where Sadie was sleeping in her crib – so not that much of our own space. But even this was a huge improvement.
And with a baby, it’s never exact science. Some nights are real bad, some nights are better. Some couples have wonder babies that sleep through the night in there cribs in their own rooms starting at 4 months old. That’s awesome for them, and I hope they know how lucky they are. Maybe we could have been closer to that kind of a life, but I have decided to refuse the “cry it out” method. So many people do it, and it seems to work well for all of them. But, for me personally, I can’t take it. I’m not strong enough to hear her cries and not comfort her. On our worst nights (usually when teething is involved) Sadie will scream and cry and punch and kick and nothing helps – for hours on end. There are even some of those sporadic nights when all she wants to do is party. She’s up at 2am jumping on the bed and having a full on conversation with us while we sleep. This happened a few days ago. Devin woke up in the morning to find me like this… I was willing to try anything to get her back to sleep.
We are now a year and half into sleeping with a baby in our room. It took me a long time to get here, and I know Devin has been here for a long time now (thanks for being so patient with me Devin). But I am so ready to have our room back. I want privacy. I want to be able to walk into my bedroom at night without tip toeing like a mouse trying to navigate myself into bed without disturbing a sleeping baby. I want to fall asleep with the light on while reading a book, I want to take a shower in our bedroom bathroom, I wanna have a little bow chikka bow wow with my man in our bedroom anytime I feel like it!!! Dammit I’m ready!!
So, yesterday, we did it. We disassembled her crib and reassembled it in the nursery. I thought it would be really hard for her to deal with this big change. I reserved the night for being a terrible night of sleep, but to our surprise. She took her nap in there right after we finished putting the bedding back in. And she slept in there like a pro at night too. Until 4:45am when she wanted into our bed with us – and you know, that’s cool. Baby steps.
And now, right at this moment, she is asleep in her crib, in her room and I am awake lying in my bed in my room alone – blogging. Oooh, and it feels so good.
I guess the moral of the story is A) everybody has the reasons for doing what they do. Don’t knock it til you’ve been there yourself. And B) next time around I think we’ll try to not co-sleep. I loved it, but it’s a lot of work breaking it. We’ll see if I can actually go through with it next time.