Wednesday, March 31, 2010

{Guest Post} The Bassinet Fantasy by Amy Bramer

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.


Kim Klassen March 31, 2010 at 4:40 PM  

wonderful words....

the years slip away sooo quickly.
we often had our babies in the bed with us.... it was the only way we would get any sleep.

i wouldn't change a moment of it...

nice to meet your friend amy... i must visit her on flickr now...

great shares, meg...
xxo, kim

Corinne March 31, 2010 at 4:53 PM  

It's so funny the lengths we go to in order to get kids to sleep on their own! Our most sleepless nights were the ones where we tried to get the kids sleeping in their own beds. And I hear you on the nursing & co-sleeping going hand in hand. My second wasn't much of a nighttime nurser, but my first... that was the only way he'd sleep, and stay asleep :)
Thank you so much for sharing!

Dani March 31, 2010 at 7:09 PM  

Right there with you sista.

The Boy would still be in our bed if we let him. He's 8. Sorry, no.

The Girl actually liked her own space. She started in her crib (which boggled my mind) and then came to bed with us when she woke for her first feeding.

I'll admit. There are times I really miss those days.

Cassie March 31, 2010 at 7:19 PM  

Power to you Amy!

Lia March 31, 2010 at 8:54 PM  

Ben slept with us every night in the crook of my arm. With Max, I would buckle him into his little car-seat carrier and he would sleep right next to my side of the bed, until he'd wake up to nurse. After a month or so of that, I would put him down in his crib and he would sleep all night.

My husband is a paramedic and he works 24 hour shifts. Those two nights he's gone are precious to me and the boys, because I let them sleep with me. I've only got a couple of years left where that will be possible without being really weird and taking all I can get right now. Someday too soon, I will be missing my baby's little snores and snuggles.

~ The Jolly Bee ~ April 1, 2010 at 6:57 AM  

Those days are long gone for me....My kids stay up much later than I can any more! You wait until that happens -- definitely different.

Kathleen April 1, 2010 at 7:34 AM  

We had a beautiful bassinet - a family heirloom bought my my great-grandmother on the day her first child was born. My grandmother, all of my aunts and uncles, all of my cousins, my sister and I - we all slept in that bassinet. My daughter was the first of her generation to sleep in it.

Except she didn't. Not once. I put her in it a few times, snapped some pictures for Grandma, then pulled her into bed with me, where she belonged.

But then, shockingly, her little brother loved it. Slept happily in the bassinet, then in the crib, and loved them both. But when he wakes in the middle of the night and is too tired to argue, I pull him into bed with me, where he belongs.

Johnna Riddell April 1, 2010 at 10:28 PM  

O Amy... this is wonderful. It made me smile. Yes, we had a bassinet for a while, and all it did was get in my way ;) It was like a prop ... for the rest of the world to think that we were doing things the "normal" way.

Thank you for sharing your experiences... lovely.

And again, thank you Maegan... this is such a wonderful share.


Gloria April 2, 2010 at 11:45 AM  

I never slept well with any of our babies in bed with us. With our first daughter, I would wake up in the middle of the night in a half-awake..sleep-deprived state thinking my husband had rolled over on our her (when many times I had already put her back in her crib). With my other two daughters, I had a wooden rocking bassinet that sat right next to my side of the bed. When I was done nursing I felt more at ease putting them in that and being able to view and hear them the minute they stirred. Beautiful post! :)

Tammie April 2, 2010 at 6:19 PM  

beautiful words.

both of my children slept with us. of course at the time i never really thought of it as "co-sleeping." i just knew i didnt want to get up a million times a night and it was so much easier having the babe right next to me.