Thursday, March 15, 2012

The End of Bedsharing

When it comes to parenting, I exist in this weird middle ground between "mainstream" and "crunchy."  I am sort of too weird for the mainstream- my husband and I cloth diaper, cosleep/bedshare, babywear (until he got too heavy), our son wasn't circumcised, I planned a homebirth.  On the other hand, the crunchy group doesn't want me either- my son only latched onto my breasts maybe 5 times in his life and I returned the hospital grade breast pump before he was a month old so that what little milk that I did make was good and dried up by the time I went back to work when he was 6 weeks old.  Any future children will go straight to formula.  We also vaccinate on schedule, don't care about eating organically in the slightest, used (non organic!) jarred baby food, the list goes on.  Sometimes when my kid is just completely overwhelming and demonic, even though I know it's awful, I'm tempted to just let him cry it out.  So, so SO SOOOO tempted!

Cosleeping is defined as sleeping in the same room as your baby, and bedsharing is when your baby sleeps in bed with you.  Cosleeping just made sense to us- we wanted to be close to our baby, for convenience when it came to late night feeding and just because we love him and want to be around him.  We didn't buy a crib, but we had a pack and play set up beside the bed and the plan was for him to sleep there.  I really wasn't too keen on the idea of him sleeping in bed with us, but I decided to just roll with whatever happened.  It didn't take long to see that he slept better when he was in bed with us, so we made our bed as safe as possible and welcomed him.  It turned out that when he was little, bedsharing was great.  He stayed in one spot and was very snuggly and adorable.  Once he began to gain the ability to move, however, he took full advantage of this.  Somehow this teeny little person was taking up more room in our queen sized bed than my husband and I combined.  My husband was crammed against the wall, I was hanging off the edge, and there was Arthur- sprawled out horizontally across the middle and usually kicking me in the face.  But, the convenience factor was a strong one so we continued despite being uncomfortable.  Plus, he wouldn't sleep by himself at all.  We heard horror stories about how hard it was going to be to move him into his own bed, and that itself was enough to keep us from even trying.

This carried on until 2 nights ago.  Enough is enough, we said.  17 months is old enough.  Plus, he's finally starting to get mobile enough to be unsafe in our bed.  Twice in the past week I came to get him after a nap and found him dangerously close to scooting backwards off of the edge.  We bought a twin sized mattress and put it on the floor in the corner of our bedroom, put some Spiderman sheets on it, and laid him down for the night.  He fell asleep just fine, but that first night was awful.  He woke up crying every 45 minutes.  He slept better as a newborn!  Finally at 5 am, my husband crawled onto the teeny mattress with him and we managed to get a 3 hour stretch in before he woke up for the day.  I was horrified.  Was this going to be our new normal?  He had been sleeping more or less through the night since he was a few months old with the exception of a cup of milk at around 3-4 A.M. and that was a pattern that I was totally fine with.  We talked about what we were going to do, and we decided to be consistent.  Even though we thought about letting him cry, and we thought about just bringing him back into our bed, neither of those actions were consistent with what we wanted.  We didn't want him to sleep in his own bed out of fear, and we really really just don't want him hogging our bed anymore.  Last night, we repeated his bedtime routine and settled him in to his new bed.  I braced myself for another night from hell, but he woke up at 3:30, had a cup of milk, and went back to sleep until 7.  Seriously??  Really??

I thought that I was going to be more emotional about moving him into his own bed, but I'm actually really happy, relieved, and proud.  I can sleep with my entire body on the bed, I don't have to worry about potential diaper leaks, there are no little feet in my face or my stomach, and my super clingy little boy is starting to show a little bit of independence.  I think that it's a win-win situation for everyone in the family.

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