Here and There

Monday, September 03, 2007

Out of my womb, Out of my room

Many have heard my personal opinion on co-sleeping. I didn't want to do it. I was adamant that my baby would occupy her own little bed and I would share my bed only with my husband.

I even had a slogan for it (see post title). So it was interesting to say the least when we started that first night home together as our family of three, 2 available beds, one designed especially for baby, we all ended up in the big one.

Part of the reason was that she screamed all night, but looking back there was more there. The crib felt far away, she felt too new. Could something that fresh off the assembly line fend for itself in there? I ultimately must not have been sure, so there she was- all wrapped up, lying between us, the cat hovering on the corners. (I'm sure thinking, "That's my spot. Even if I only sleep there sometimes, you're getting your baby stink all over my spot.")

I remember looking at Peter feeling defeated. My whole bag was that I was NOT going to do this. I know I had said as her arrival came closer, I'll be flexible. She may not be ready for her crib right away, we'll see what she's like. I'm not so rigid. But I was disappointed.

Every night got a little better after that. But she wouldn't sleep in the crib. No siree. It was like she hated the pattern of the sheet, the placement of it in the room. The whole thing. She wouldn't have it. So we would place her on a blanket, in between us and I would wake up feeling miles away from Gid and squished. Small comfort: at least I could sleep on my stomach. Left arm always cold from pulling down the quilt so it didn't suffocate her. She had a way of schooching closer to me as she slept until my little strip of bed to lay on was so narrow I'd wake up and schooch her back.

When I would make the bed in the morning or change the sheets I felt sad about sharing it, I wanted it to be a place that was peaceful and restorative and for me and Peter only.

Then, a few nights ago, I put her back to sleep after a night feeding in her crib. She looked so peaceful and didn't protest. The next night we put her to bed there. She did great. She sprawled out and I thought maybe she was like me and in the end needed some space to stretch.

That night though was baffling to me. I couldn't sleep well, I wondered about her in there. Was she okay? Did she need me and I couldn't hear her call out? I listened with my head raised from the pillow. Nothing. She woke me up very effectively with a squawk a few hours later. But during that first night, I missed my sweet little bedfellow. She was so little and soft.

I know everybody has a different preference, and I still hold mine. Having quite a bit of knowledge about child development I know that co-sleeping is generally great for small babies. But I also know that a lot of things are great for small babies and sometimes it's okay not to do all of those things. Who can? So I'll cuddle her all day and let everybody say I hold her too much. And at night, we'll dream in our own beds. That's not to say we won't all four of us be found having family bed in the morning. Welcome aboard Lil. Anything to stay in bed longer...

1 comment:

Bora said...

great post, Jill. parenthood is such a dance between the ideals we aspire to and the limitations of what we can manage. But it's good to aspire!

I remember the toddler stage for each girl...they'd end up in our bed after a bad dream and by the morning, the little one would be sleeping horizontally across the bed while the parents were trapped on either edge, trying not to roll off.