me (thedreamgames) wrote in noadvice,

Babies and Sleep

Now that I no longer have dogmatic opinions about co-sleeping vs. crib-sleeping, I'm trying to figure it all out.

We co-sleep. We still co-sleep. I love it and am happy to do it until Jack is not a cuddly little boy anymore. It might be a bit too weird when he's past the age of 10. Or maybe not. Or maybe we'll kick him out sooner. I don't know.

We didn't have definite plans to co-sleep. I had read about it when Jack was born and considered it. But pretty much planned that he'd sleep in a bassinet and later move to a crib.

Before he was born, I imagined that our life would be like this. I'd stick him in the bassinet all day. Wheel it around with me wherever I go. Every 2-4 hours, I'd take him out, breastfeed him, change his diaper, hold him a bit, and then stick him back in the bassinet.

Things did not turn out the way I had planned. It ended up that Jack would not sleep unless someone was holding him. He'd sleep on a lap. I could nurse him laying down and he'd sleep next to me. Or he'd sleep in the sling. He needed skin-to-skin contact. We even tried one of those little infant co-sleeping nests. You put the baby right between you and your spouse. But it is protected in it's own little mini-bed. Jack would not sleep in it.

He WOULD sleep in the carseat though. The problem is we could rarely transfer him. As soon as we removed him from the carseat, he'd wake up. Same with the sling. I had to walk around until he fell asleep. I COULD sit down once he was asleep and do something like type on the computer. But I couldn't remove him.

It pretty much ended up (or at least seemed) that the only way we could get decent sleep is to co-sleep. So we did. And we read books that said not only was it okay to co-sleep, but you SHOULD co-sleep. And that's how I got my high and mighty I'm-better-parent-than-you-attitude.

But now that I've come to my senses, I realize that if Jack had been one of those newborns who easily fell asleep when you put them down in their little bassinet, we'd never become a co-sleeping family, we'd be a crib family.

What I'm wondering though....if someone is REALLY against co-sleeping....if they really do not want to do it, but they have an infant like Jack, what do they do? Do they just not get any sleep for a few weeks and finally the baby gives up and sleeps without being rocked, fed to sleep, or sleeping next to another human body?

Maybe co-sleeping families are like ours....Or like me. I am a sleeper. I love my sleep. I NEED my sleep. I gave up fast. I found a way to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, early on, and I went with it.

A family who has a child like Jack, but the parents are used to getting less sleep (maybe they did all nighters in college, or partied a lot) maybe they could go on weeks with less than 4 hours of sleep a night. Maybe they have the stamina to train the newborn to fall asleep on its own.

Anyway, my opinion on the subject is whatever works for the family is best. I liked and still like co-sleeping. My husband loves it too. We're all happy to sleep together.

I'd feel bad though for a family who does not want to co-sleep and feel they are forced into it. I am hoping there IS a way to prevent it. From the beginning. Some way you can gently guide newborn into falling asleep on its own. I know Elizabeth Pantly has a book "The No Cry Sleep Solution". But I wonder if her ideas really work. We got the book too late, but her ideas for "If you got this book to late and your baby is over 5 months" didn't work for us. It sounded good in theory, but we tried them and they didn't work.

Maybe if we got the book before Jack was born, the newborn ideas would have worked on him. Or maybe like most parenting books, the author assumes it will work for ALL children, but it doesn't.

It's like my friend. If I thought I had it tough....I could eventually (when Jack was about 6 months or so)...nurse him to sleep in bed and then leave. I could stay up later, do stuff while he took a nap, etc. But my friend couldn't leave her child period. He wouldn't stay asleep unless she stayed with him. A part of me felt so frustruated and wanted to imagine it was her fault. If I could leave Jack after nursing him to sleep, she should have been able to also.

But it was like me with my older sister. She kept telling me I should put Jack to sleep the way she did. Just dim the lights, stick the baby in the crib, and play lullaby music. That's how her daughter fell asleep. They didn't have to co-sleep or struggle with crying-it-out. Just lullaby music and dimmed lights. Wow.
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