Thursday, January 15, 2009

To Sleep or Not to Sleep (or to co-sleep or not to sleep...)

Before Sadie was born, I knew everything.  I had read every book I could get my hands on and subscribed to every pregnancy and parenting magazine that I saw at Barnes and Nobles.  I knew that I would breast feed (I stuck with that one) and that Sadie would get vaccines (I stuck with that one too).  And I knew that Sadie would spend her nights sound asleep in her own crib.  That sentence alone lets you know how delusional I was.  You see it has words like "sound asleep" when describing a baby.  

I knew that I would be awake constantly in the beginning.  Nani told me that I had started sleeping through the night at six weeks and I guess I figured that that was average.   During those first few weeks I was exhausted but I knew that I could stick it out because there was an end in sight.  Before long Sadie would be sleeping twelve hours like the babies that were described in several magazine articles and I would start to feel human again.  

You may have noticed a theme in my blogs recently.  Sleep.  It's because it's a topic that's been on my mind a lot lately.  It's kind of like when you're on a diet and you've decided that you can't have something, let's say it's ice cream, and all the sudden all you can think about is ice cream, day in, day out.  But things have gotten a little bit better.  Kind of.

In the beginning when Sadie cried, I got up.  I picked her up and took her into the sitting room so Paul could sleep (we only have one room so we're all together).  I would nurse her and get her back to sleep and then carry her back to her bassinet.  I would carefully sway, trying not to jar her in any way and then delicately place her in her bassinet.  

Then, one weekend, we went with Paul down to school and stayed in a motel.  Sadie had gotten too big for the bassinet so we got a room with two beds.  I slept with Sadie, and Paul got his own bed.  For the first time in four months, she slept through the night.  And I slept (though not through the night).  More importantly, I learned something.  I had been afraid that I would roll over Sadie and squish her.  That night I found that a) I sleep very lightly these days and any time she makes a tiny sound, I jolt awake and b) I am not physically able to roll over a 20lb baby without waking up.  Sadie is big.  I rolled towards her once and my arm touched her lightly.  I was instantly awake.  

Once Paul started working nights co-sleeping became an even more viable option.  In the beginning I didn't plan on letting Sadie stay in the bed.  She would wake up crying at 12 or 2 and I would go over and pick her up.  I would feed her in the bed and the next thing I knew it would be two hours later and she would be starting to fuss for feeding number two.  I started getting a lot more sleep (although waking up three times a night is still a lot, even when I'm not getting up).  

So these days it's a compromise.  She spends half the night in her crib and half the night in the bed.  Since I've allowed myself to change my mind I'm actually starting to feel kind of rested (although it is evident by my sleep obsession that we still have a ways to go).  And I imagine that one of these days I will wake up and she will have slept through the night all by herself.  In her crib.

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