Tuesday, April 15, 2014


We were going to co-sleep.

We don't.

Here's why.


First of all, co-sleeping is generally considered safer/more beneficial than crib-sleeping these days. Here's the first Google result on why (it does link to studies):


Let me quickly distinguish between co-sleeping and bed-sharing. They are often considered to be the same thing, but this is an "all thumbs are fingers but not all fingers are thumbs" scenario. Bed-sharing is co-sleeping, but co-sleeping is any sleeping arrangement where your baby is in the room with you. Now let's move on.

Planning for perfection, we set up our Pack 'n' Play bassinet next to our bed. We were going to co-sleep for at LEAST six months, according to... me.

And yes, all of the baby furniture matches. It mattered at the time.
As you know from my last entry, I dealt with fairly crushing anxiety the first few weeks postpartum, and that I partially credit (blame?) the hospital stay for triggering it. My mind was trained to believe that things were going to go wrong no matter what I did.

Well, while we co-slept, I slept horizontally on the bed so I could be right next to the bassinet. I woke up every twenty minutes to check his breathing, and remained awake for at least another twenty minutes (usually longer) before I could sleep again.

Every noise he made woke me.

When he was too quiet it woke me.

I obsessed over him being okay in that co-sleeper. My first solution was to jump from co-sleeping to bed-sharing.

When we bed-shared I got even less sleep, terrified that we would roll on him (even in our king bed, where all three of us had plenty of space to ourselves). His breathing kept me wide awake. I would fall asleep while nursing and feel so guilty that I'd put him at risk. I wasn't mother of the year during the day either. My lack of sleep at night made me fall asleep during the day while I was holding him on the couch, also a big no-no (side note: other people were always present when this happened). If I was doing the "safest" thing at night, why did I feel like I was putting him at risk?

Tim went out of town the week after Daniel was born. At the time my mom was staying with me, and some nights she kept him with her so I could get some sleep. She was staying in the guest bed, which happens to be in the nursery, so on those nights he was sleeping in his crib. I got infinitely more rest on those nights, but much like my experience with nursing, I had latched onto the idea that co-sleeping was "best," so I had to do it.

Eventually my own lack of energy began to wear on both of us (meaning me/baby). He could tell how wired I was at night; he fed off of those negative vibes and slept poorly. During the third week, I ordered an Angelcare monitor (deluxe edition of course... I have a worry problem) when I finally decided that what was "best" was not best for us.

The night after my family left, the night before Daniel was one month old, we set up that monitor and he slept alone in his crib for the first time. We all slept much better, and his nighttime feeding schedule immediately regulated itself.

My happy crib baby.

Once again, I'd thrown my plans away. Once again, my baby was happier because I'd thrown my plans away. Learning to listen to my son continues to work better than any theory or plan.