Photo by Madeline Bea
Our second guest post is written by my dear friend Amy. We became friends over at Flickr and one day we will be having coffee at a Starbucks together laughing like old friends! But for today, she's here sharing her experiences with co-sleeping with us. You can visit Amy at her blog Lucky Number 13.
It's actually pretty funny to me now, over five years later, when I look back at how I thought things were going to be when I brought my first baby home. I didn't really put too much thought into sleeping or sleeping arrangements. I just knew that no one would be getting much of it for quite some time. I often pictured my little baby laying in it's crib, in all that cute bedding, with the little mobile overhead, us peeking in on it, ooohing and ahhhing over all the cute-ness.
And then we brought him home. And he didn't sleep unless we were holding him. Period. He seemed to hate his crib and would startle awake the second you laid him down. As a first-time mom that had just taken a prenatal class, I knew all about putting the baby on it's back to sleep in his own crib. So I tried sleeping in a recliner with him, putting him in a cradle next to our bed, nothing worked. And I needed sleep. Bad. Next we bought some sort of co-sleeper contraption that you put in your bed, complete with mesh sides so the baby can breathe and you can't roll over on it. The baby was supposed to sleep safely and peacefully right next to you. Emphasis on the "supposed to sleep" part. This contraption lasted maybe a week or so and a year later when I put it in our rummage sale I saw two women walk by and look at it laughing--they must have tried it, too. Enter The Bassinet Fantasy.
I came across a few books and magazines that suggested having a bassinet in your bedroom for those early months when the baby is nursing constantly and you are getting up with them all night long. What the books didn't mention, just as the friend that let me borrow her bassinet didn't mention, was that the bassinet is really just a prop. You put the bassinet in your bedroom so that when your mother, mother-in-law and other random visitors that think you're going to spoil your baby by having them in bed with you drop by, they think your baby is sleeping on it's own. This fantasy was short-lived. Oh, how I wish someone had told me early on just to put the baby in the bed with us.
For me, nursing and co-sleeping go hand-in-hand and I don't think I would have nursed either of my babies as long as I did had they not slept with me. Once he was in our bed full time and we were actually getting some sleep I was out with it, no more pretending. The bassinet was given back. We were co-sleeping and I didn't care about the negative comments and the raised eyebrows anymore. This was my baby and we would get sleep any way possible. It took a while to let my fears of the baby falling out of bed or being suffocated subside but when I did, all three of us were much happier. When I see a baby bassinet now I can't help but laugh to myself thinking of all our futile attempts at trying to get our little guy to sleep anywhere but with us.