Co-sleeping

Monday, February 25, 2008

Juniper is 11 weeks old already! She's sleeping pretty well at night now, and for the most part has a pretty consistent schedule during the day that she's fallen into naturally. When she wakes up in the morning, she has about 20 minutes of happy time, then gets fussy & is ready for her morning nap. Usually, I no sooner get her to sleep and it's time to get out the door to take Samuel to school or to start our day. Juniper takes her naps most of the time on the go or in her swing. I still haven't used her crib yet, except to let her look at the mobile every once in awhile. Speaking of her unused crib brings me to the subject of co-sleeping.

Co-sleeping has worked out great so far for us. We kept Samuel in our bed until he was about 16 months, then when we bought this house, we purchased him a twin mattress & cute new bedding at Pottery Barn. We figured since we were buying a new house that it would be a good time to transition him to his new room (ever try sleeping with a 16 month old? it's not easy!). At that time, we started laying with him until he fell asleep, then would go in during the night and lay with him when he woke up. Samuel was never a good sleeper, so we would end up going in there several times a night. Landon was usually pretty good about only staying in there until he fell back asleep, then he'd return to our room. Me, I'd fall asleep and wake up in the morning in Samuel's bed. It's only been now that Samuel has turned 3 that he's started sleeping through the night. Of course, when he's sick, everything changes, but when he's well, he's sleeping through the night on a regular basis now--finally! Landon told him awhile back that he can get up when the sun comes up, so sometimes I hear him get up to check at 5am, then go back to bed. Most mornings, he lays with his curtain slightly opened and waits for the sun. Sure enough, the minute he sees the sun peaking through his curtains, he walks down the stairs and announces a little too energetically at 7 in the morning, "The sun is up, DADDY!"

Then there is Juniper. She seems to be a much better sleeper so far than Samuel was. Samuel would get up 6 to 8 times a night until he was well over a year old. On a good night, Juniper wakes up around 5am for a feeding. On a not-so-good night, she's up three or four times. Overall she's sleeping much more soundly than Samuel. I'm wondering if she'll continue to sleep better if I transition her to her crib or co-sleeper, or if she's only sleeping so soundly because she's right next to me in bed. One thing that makes transitioning her to the crib a little challenging is that I would have to physically get up out of bed to go and get her and then either bring her back to bed to nurse her or sit upright & awake. If I bring her back to bed, we'll be co-sleeping the rest of the night, as I'll fall back asleep, so it seems like it would defeat the purpose of having her in her crib. Really, what's the point if she ends up back in my bed a couple of hours later? So, I'm not going to worry about all that right now, because I love co-sleeping, and I really only have these early years for a fleeting second and then they'll be gone. When I think about that, it makes me want to forget about transitioning her altogether and focus on enjoying this time with my little co-sleeper. Plus, I can't deny the fact that co-sleeping WORKS. Juniper and I both sleep better (I'm not waking up worrying if she's still breathing or warm enough), and I can go back to sleep as soon as Juniper wakes up for a feeding as we've mastered side-line nursing.

Part of me wonders if there is a magic window where transitioning your baby from your bed to the crib might save you a year or two of multiple night-wakings. Of course, the term "magic window" insinuates there is one catchall formula that works for all children, and being an advocate for attachment parenting, I believe you have to work instinctively at establishing individual techniques for each child. I found that Samuel at a certain point was waking up at night to nurse because he was in the habit of doing so, not because he was hungry. It was at this time that we transitioned him to his own twin bed & I decided to stop nursing shortly thereafter. Of course, right now, Juniper is waking up to nurse because she IS hungry. My hope is that she will continue to be a good sleeper through all the upcoming developmental stages, but my fear is that by co-sleeping, she might eventually develop the habit of nursing off and on all night, and being a human pacifier can be exhausting!

5 comments:

Claudia said...

Wow -- you typed a lot! I never had the privilege of ever being able to co-sleep with any of you kids. I got up and went in your room and sat in a rocker and nursed you kids....then went back to bed and, yes, had many a sleepless nights staying awake to try and hear if you were alright.

I agree with you -- this season passes so fast and you will never get it back again!
Mom

Anonymous said...

Karli,

I slept w/ Sophie, but I was a different sleeper then. When Bea was born I had been sick with Typhoid and I was on so many meds at the time we were terrified to have her sleep in her bed, I am certain I would have rolled on her.

We'll see when our last baby comes...just so you know, bea is 20 months and is still in her cri8b in our room...I can't bear the thought of moving her out of our room (away from me!).

Mindy

Andrea said...

We would cosleep a lot in the beginning with both boys and now it's usually just the early morning hours with Sawyer. But we had Ian in our room until he was 10 months and Sawyer was closer to 8 months before he ever slept in his crib for the first time.

It sounds like cosleeping works really well for you so I say keep doing it!

Aviva said...

hey Karli,

I don't have words of wisdom for you, but I wanted to say congrats on getting Samuel sleeping through the night! Ellie turned 3 in December and still wakes up at least once in the night and needs someone to snuggle her back. Scott doesn't even try to come back to our bed -- he just spends the rest of the night in there because it's easier than dealing with multiple wakeups and having to respond.

FWIW, we coslept until Ellie was 2 and then transitioned her to her own room and a twin bed. We also have a twin-size foam mattress on the floor in there, and that's where she and Scott sleep these days. She doesn't use her bed except for bouncing on and being read to.

Amy said...

I'm with ya! Eliana hasn't slept in her bassinet yet (besides for a little nap). I am cherishing every moment I have to snuggle up with her while she is this little! All of our kids slept with us for their first couple of months.

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