Baby Sleep….to Co-sleep or not to co-sleep?

Probably one of the things that is most trivial and difficult to plan or prepare for is sleeping habits and arrangements when it comes to baby. I still remember what it was like to create this magical nursery for my first born Madison. I picked out the linens, the theme and colors, mobile, fluffy rug, pictures for the wall. You name it! All to make this perfectly dreamy, cozy and soothing little space for my perfect bundle to have a place to rest his or her tiny head at night and have the sweetest dreams. (side note : no, we did not find out the gender. So rare these days I know…but what a beautiful surprise it was!)

I didn’t know what to expect with my first baby as a first time mom. I assumed babies wake up, they eat and they go back to sleep. And while that was true the first 3 months, I quickly realized there was a whole lot more to this baby sleeping stuff then I had prepared myself for. Madison was quite a good sleeper at night time. The only issue I had with her was she hated sleeping in her crib! And I knew some mothers who could also relate to having a little one who was uncomfortable with sleeping in the crib. Whether it was the realization they were alone, adjusting to the dark or finding the crib uncomfortable, she wouldn’t sleep for more then 1-2 hours at a time at night. Maybe something about the bars? Was it Jail-like? I dunno. ? But I was quickly losing sleep…and patience. And like all mothers..I just wanted to sleep!!!

Ironically nap time through the day was fine.  She napped soundly and comfortably in her crib. Wtf? So I went down the list in hopes of finding what the trick was to getting her to sleep through the night in her crib. I got a nightlight. Maybe it was the dark? (And the cutest night light too, a big pink heart!) Great! let’s try it out!

Nothing changed and she continued to wake up every night 1 or 2 hours after being put down.

No judging, but cry it out just isn’t for me. And I am fully and completely in support of doing what’s best for you, baby and your family. Every family and their dynamic is so different that we just need to make the hard choice about doing what we really know is best for EVERYBODY. And I just knew in my heart of hearts ‘ CIO ‘ was just not for me. I didn’t go to bed feeling good about myself and I didn’t sleep at all. So at that point I knew it wasn’t going to work for me. The point was to get some sleep so if i’m not sleeping and she’s not sleeping and hubby isn’t sleeping…it’s just not going to work.

NEXT!…let’s make this mattress more comfy!

You wouldn’t believe how much better babies, kids ( and us) sleep better once you change your mattress! The difference it makes is remarkable. So we added a foam cushion to her mattress to see if that would help. They are really easy to find – costco! Its a foam layer you add atop the mattress. Makes a huge difference.

Anyway.. while it made her mattress so soft and comfortable ( it’s so cozy) wasn’t enough to change her sleep habits.

Feeling so desperate for sleep, I began taking Madison to bed with me and letting her fall asleep, sometimes I would sneak her off to her crib…but that never lasted as I was back to go get her. So from then on I was hooked. I found us all sleeping through the night. At this point Madison was a little shy of the one year mark, so the typical fears of co-sleeping weren’t a concern. I wasn’t worried about rolling on her (lol…I don’t move around in my sleep). I wasn’t breastfeeding by that time so she wasn’t waking up to feed either. She really just didn’t like sleeping alone, or sleeping alone in her crib. Regardless of what it was I was surprised with how fine I was with it. I always said I would NEVER bring baby into bed with me. Oh, the things we do to get a little shut eye. And while co-sleeping isn’t for everyone, I found the most amazing benefits and really loved the whole experience. Besides us all finally getting some sleep, the cuddling and bonding you get with your little babe is so special. Having a sleepy baby is such a vulnerable state and I just love enjoying her and comforting her as she goes off to dream land. I also found that sleeping with her made her fall asleep so fast.

Giving her the comfort and support she needed I found stayed with her once we moved her into her big girl bed. She was ready and completely comfortable. I know many moms have concerns about babies getting too attached and not wanting to go into their own rooms but I did not have this issue. I found that as she learned “lights out and sleepy time” with mommy meant lights out and sleepy time in her own room also. Madison is now three and happily sleeps in her own bed in her own room. She does not wake up in the middle of the night and does not come into our room either. (Thank god because she moves so much in bed!!)

So when Mila came around it was all the same. She slept in her bassinet right next to our bed. As she has now out grown the bassinet, I co-sleep with her. While she does occasionally nap in her crib, I just started co-sleeping right from the beginning this time and am now working on her crib transition. And while I may not get the same result as I did with Madison, I can say that I have loved the bonding, the cuddling and just enjoying her as she’s still little. And I’m still breastfeeding this one so that definitely makes my nights easier. She wakes up once every night to feed. But I am hoping sleeping with me will give her the confidence and comfort to easily move into her room. Fingers crossed!

In the end, something I always tell myself to remember is that they are only little for so long and the rough nights (and some days) will all pass and be a distant memory one day. I’m sure we may even miss all the chaos and sleepless nights. (I know I will)

And no matter what you choose, be sure it is what you feel comfortable with. Don’t shut out options that weren’t apart of your “plan”. I assure you nothing went according to my plan when I became a mom, all the things I said I wouldn’t do kinda sorta just happened, as with life. Try to go with the flow just a little, you never know what might work for you and your little unless you give it a try.

Happy Snoozing!

with love,

Michelle and the minis x

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