Rarely will you hear me rant about lack of sleep. I fully acknowledge that kids = less sleep. At least until they’re about 10. No, I’m not joking. This means that I have about seven more years until I can count on sleeping alone and through the night. Except that I don’t sleep through the night. No healthy human does. It would be biologically counter productive to sleep through a raid, animal attack, or bush fire. We wake, adjust the covers, maybe roll over, and doze back off. Hopefully, the countdown is on…unless we adopt. Hubby is adamant that we don’t though, as he is convinced that he couldn’t love a human that isn’t of his blood. Anyway, seven years. I can do this!
We cosleep so we get more sleep. Yes, it does usually work out that way. Dear Pirate could not settle last night though. Hubby took her in to lay down at 7:00 to watch a show and chill out. She hadn’t napped, so I was fully expecting her to be asleep by at least 9:00. She usually dozes off between 9:00 and 10:30 with 9:30 her mode.
No luck last night. She started crying at 8:00, and then screamed until 8:30. Hubby came out to get me at 8:30, and she sat with me for a bit until about quarter to when I said I’d be there in 15 minutes. They went back, she kept screaming, so I figured she might as well sit beside me while I finished my review and got it posted. It would have gone a lot faster if she’d sat still, but by 9:10 I was done and we went to lay down.
The whole time she was saying how tired she was, and “Are you coming?” Not yet, but I’m almost done I kept telling her. Finally I was done, we settled in and laid down. I left the lights and tv off so she could doze off quickly, as she’d been telling me she was so tired…nope. Then it was 10:30 so I gave in and put on a movie. Then it was 11:00 so I rolled over and started dozing off myself. I was tired too! Finally, after crying and whining, not screaming mind you, hubby came to get her at 11:30 and took her to lay on the couch. It was my last shout of “NO NONNIES!” That got him to come. For a weaned child she is certainly not happy about not getting her nonnies.
I don’t know what time she woke up, but he brought her to me to sleep the rest of the night. He says it was 3:00. She then slept the rest of the night until my alarm went off at 7:00. Usually I shut it off and she’ll go back to sleep until 8:30/9:30 sometimes even 10:00. I have gotten used to this idea because it means that I can get the kids to school and then get some work done.
Not this morning. She came upstairs at 7:55 to find me, and hang out. I took her back down to hubby, but when I called him, beside him, not quietly, he didn’t even stir, three times. Back upstairs we go, she comes with me to school, and then we were going to go for a car ride to get mommy some caffeine and hopefully lull her to sleep again. Well, she’d peed her diaper (which is another annoyance with hubby, that she was in a diaper at all) so we went in to the bathroom.
We’re now sitting on the couch, pantless so she can get to the bathroom easily on her own, watching Franny’s Feet. It’s mildly educational for a preschooler who isn’t going to playgroup today because it’s not going to be pretty if she does.
Now, a note on cosleeping. Lots of people will OMG! at the fact that we cosleep. The list of concerns is something like this:
- You’ll roll on her
- You’ll smother her
- You’ll spoil her
- She’ll never sleep on her own
- You’ll never have sex
- And on, and on
I’ll provide some references at the bottom of the post, but basically, it’s all crap. If it held any truth then the human race would not have survived, and we would not have nurturing mammals of any kind. The European and Asian cultures still mostly cosleep, and if you’ve ever seen a dog pile of puppies, you know it’s fine. But I digress. I spent more than half of my first pregnancy waking up to roll over because I couldn’t without a lot of pain. I get pelvic girdle pain early in my pregnancies due to a lot of relaxin. That’s a good thing for birthing because it means that my pelvis will open a lot, but for the pregnancy itself, it kind of sucks. With Dude I was about 15 weeks when my pubic symphysis started to open and ache. That’s all I had with him was the pubic symphysis worsening. With Princess I was 6 weeks along and had barely told anyone when I started having sacroiliac pain from my coccyx separating from my pelvis. Yeah, super fun and it still clicks. With Pirate I hadn’t even gotten a positive pregnancy test yet at 3 weeks along, so I knew long before the line showed up. A word of advice if you have PGP/SPD: roll side to hands and knees to side. NEVER go on your back. It will only make it worse and make your day hell.
Back to the list. I will not smother her because we have a hard mattress, limited blankets, and she’s at my breast. Not under my breast, at my breast.
You can’t spoil a baby. You give a baby what they need from food, to comfort, and hygiene. Babies need touch, not just the bare minimum, and the first thing that humans do is seek a mate to go and sleep with again. We’re not meant to sleep alone. I’ll do a post on the 4th trimester later.
She will sleep on her own. It’ll take a lot of practice as any new skill does, but she will. Dude could have earlier, but we didn’t need him to, so he was almost 5 ½. Princess was at 9 months because she was too social and would sit up talking to me all night. Seriously. Until 2:30 some mornings, but then this became a problem for room sharing with her brother so she came back to the family bed until almost three when we moved to Windsor. She needs cuddles and sleepovers some times, and right now at 6 3/4 she’s going through some emotional growth and needs more sleepovers than I’m ready for, especially with Pirate being difficult. Pirate has been starting to sleep in her own bed since she was 1. We got her floor bed set up at that point, and then at 2 we got her big girl bed set up. We got bunkbeds for the girls with twin on top, double on the bottom, so if I passed out I could easily sleep up there with her. She’s been sleeping up there from start to between 11:00 and 1:00 depending on my own energy for going upstairs to settle her (we live in a raised ranch with the parent’s room in the basement, and kids upstairs), other than when hubby puts her to bed in our bed. She’s slept through all of once.
All I’ll say about the sex point is that there are more places than the bed to engage.
Don’t get me wrong. There are ‘rules’ that you have to follow to be safe. A lot of these involve the husband. He will keep his pre-pregnancy, pre-fatherhood sleep patterns a lot more than mom, and sleeping too deeply is a big risk factor for cosleeping. Fathers are a lot more likely to roll over in their sleep to smother because they didn’t have to wake to do so through pregnancy. Plus, they’re just bigger. Men are just plain bigger than women.
- Deep sleeper
- Smoker, drinker, any other drugs
- Wrong surface such as couch (huge no no), rocker, chair, pillow top mattress
- Long hair not tied up
- Too many blankets
- Too many pillows
- Mom in the middle if dad’s in bed
- Not breastfeeding (this is last because you can cosleep and formula feed, but only if you’re a light sleeper: side car is better)
Biological alternatives to cosleeping in the bedsharing sense include room sharing. It is recommended that you have your baby in your room for at least the first 6 months. This is why they make bassinets so tiny to fit beside your bed. You can also get a cosleeper by ArmsReach. We had one for Pirate after wanting one for Dude and Princess. Again, Kijiji. First I found a mini, then I found the original. The mini had wheels so I could roll it out in the morning and have her sleep in her bed for naps. This worked fabulously for the first couple of months. When she outgrew the mini she moved to the original. It didn’t have wheels, so it stayed stuck to the bed full time. I’d nurse her to sleep in either one, and then slowly edge away so she’d be in her own space. If you prefer, you can side car your crib for a larger child, or move them to a floor bed when they can crawl out of the cosleeper too easily. Pirate did take a nosedive off the bed when she woke and I wasn’t there immediately. I was mid-run to get her knowing she’d be getting up but she was too fast. That’s when we started working on putting her in it in play pen mode!
So, after the nose dive, we started settling her to sleep then gently laying her into her bed. She was about 8 months, so around the same age as Princess when I moved her to her own bed. Pirate wasn’t having it. After a couple weeks, I gave up. It was taking two to three hours to get her settled for 20 minutes. Not good enough for anyone! That’s when I grabbed our extra mattress from Dude’s room and set up a floor bed for her. This worked much better, because it was what she was used to. I’d nurse her to sleep, then edge away. Plus, no nose dives if she woke up. I turned our bed so she’d be in the quietest corner, and she wasn’t able to see out of the room either. It worked great!
Transitioning a child from cosleeping to their own bed is different for every child. Dude, at 5 ½ was fully weaned and just needed a bedtime story. He’d been sleeping through beside me for years. Princess at 6 ½ is still somewhere on the cosleeping spectrum having reverted to sleepover begging nightly. She’s been having emotional growth lately so this is pretty normal. Pirate has only ever slept through once at 2 2/3 though, so she’s no where near being in her own bed full time. When we move in May she’ll have her own room, so that may make a difference. We’ll see. This is one of the many readiness milestones that we use to add to our family. If the child is not secure enough to sleep alone, then they are not ready for a younger sibling.
On child Spacing: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/11/insight-into-iuds.html
Why Young Children Protest Bedtime: Evolutionary Mismatch https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201110/why-young-children-protest-bedtime-evolutionary-mismatch
Bed-Sharing and Co-Sleeping: Research Overview http://evolutionaryparenting.com/bed-sharing-and-co-sleeping-research-overview/
List of Articles Written by Evolutionary Parenting (an awesome resource for all things AP) http://evolutionaryparenting.com/category/new_sleep/co-sleeping/
Babies should sleep in their mother’s bed until age three http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/children/8854674/Babies-should-sleep-in-mothers-bed-until-age-three.html
Why I no longer believe babies should cry themselves to sleep http://m.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/why-i-no-longer-believe-babies-should-cry-themselves-to-sleep/article622978/?service=mobile