I think this post is more for my own benefit than for yours. I need to sort this out, and who knows if I’ll ever even publish it.
Before Andrew was born, I never ever ever ever EVER would have considered having him sleep with me. Even after he was born, I didn’t so much as lay him on my bed until he was about a month old. I’d sit in the recliner I used for every.single.feeding, reading my breastfeeding books and gazing longingly at the pictures of the side-lying position (in a totally non-pervy way). I just didn’t see how it was possible, since it took all of my flexibility and intelligence (and strategically placed pillows) to maneuver him into some type of acceptable position and to maintain it every 2-3 hours.
Then one night, probably between four and six weeks but who the hell knows since that whole time is a fog to me, Mr. Aggie presented Andrew to me while I was laying down and instead of getting up and trudging out to the Recliner of Death as I always had, I put him in close proximity to Lefty and wished him the best of luck. And he latched on. And we both went back to sleep. I woke up several hours later in a panic, only to find him sleeping peacefully on his new-found pillow. A sad, deflated pillow, but a pillow nonetheless. Man I miss my boobs.
And so began our co-sleeping stage. It was a lifesaver for me when I went back to work. He’s always been a fan of the late night buffet, and this way it was practically self-service. Mr. Aggie was on board (reluctantly) with the bedsharing with the understanding that Andrew would get the heave-ho once I was out for the summer. And now, that time is upon us.
We’re relocating Andrew for several reasons. For one, I read somewhere that co-sleeping is ok only when both parents are on board. As soon as one starts to resent the arrangement, it’s time to stop. That time has come in my marriage and it’s important essential to honor those feelings. I’d also like to lessen Andrew’s nursing to sleep association. Unless he’s at daycare, he seems to be operating under the false assumption that he can only sleep in close proximity to my boob. This means that every night, I was going to bed at 7:30 and staying there lest I disturb him. I couldn’t spend any time with my husband or on myself after that cursed hour. This was obviously not healthy for anyone.
As you can surmise, co-sleeping has caused a rift in my marriage that neither of us are comfortable with. It’s created a barrier between Mr. Aggie and myself, causing me to turn my back on him, quite literally. He’s been sleeping in the guest room for a couple of weeks and that’s just not something either of us want to continue. So, off to the bookstore and the vast Internet did I trot to decide how to lessen Andrew’s nightwakings and to get him out of our bed.
Having read a couple of books and studied my options, I settled on several strategies that I hope will work for us. Since time is on our side and we’re not in a huge rush, we’re moving gradually. Right now, Andrew is out of our bed…but so am I. We’ve set up a mattress in his room where we can co-sleep for a few nights in his new habitat. I bought a box fan for white noise (I know about the study linking white noise to hearing loss, but I’m proceeding anyway) and last night we bunkered down for the first time. It was about the same as any other night, with him waking every hour or so to nurse. Hopefully once he’s sleeping in his crib he’ll learn to eat more, less often. I’ve got to get him eating more during the day, which is a challenge during this phase of distractability.
Anyway, we’ll be bunking in there for a couple of nights, then we’ll try the crib (by we I mean ‘he’ because there’s no way my fat ass is fitting in that thing. Plus that’s just weird.) That’s where it will get ugly, as Mr. Aggie will be the one to greet his nighttime wails of abandonment (unless it is determined that he’s hungry, at which point of course I’ll feed him.)
We’ve already made some progress. Like right now, he’s snoozing peacefully on our makeshift bed while I’m typing in the living room. Even if this brief respite lasts a mere fifteen minutes, that’s fifteen minutes I wouldn’t have had to myself before we started this process. I attribute that development to the introduction of a lovey, which I read about in The No Cry Sleep Solution. By placing the magical Mr. Penguin between us when Andrew nurses (I almost typed ‘when he nurses’ but that would have pointed to Mr. Penguin partaking of the buffet, and we’d be back to the weirdness) I’m able to disengage myself more easily when he’s done and actually exit the scene without waking him. Bless you, magical penguin!
I’ll be sad when our co-sleeping days are over, but I know it’s for the best. Looking back, I have to say I wouldn’t do it again but that’s such a hard decision to make. Ask me again in ten minutes and my answer will probably change. I’ll always cherish our late night snuggles and the closeness I felt, as well as the sleep I got. I’m paying for it now, though, and so will Mr. Aggie. There are some sleepless nights in his future for sure.