Sleep is always a popular topic with new moms. Obviously we enter motherhood knowing we will be sleep deprived. Now, for me at the beginning (maybe first week or 2) I did not feel tired. I know I was EXHAUSTED but I was running on pure adrenaline and hormones. As the weeks went on, the tiredness, and accompanying BITCHINESS came into full effect. I was mean. I was sooooo tired. I dreaded the nights, I knew I would be lying awake, watching the baby, soothing the baby, feeding the baby while my husband snored next to me with his earplugs in.
Now, here's where I have to make a confession. I was sleeping with my baby in my bed. Cuddled right next to me. I never planned on being a co-sleeper. We had bought a travel crib to go beside our bed and that was where I envisioned the baby sleeping. In fact, I was definitely one of those women who thought people who co-slept were "stupid" and making bad parenting decisons. Well, the first night in the hospital the baby slept in her hospital bassinet...like a baby! Then the second night...she cried. and cried. and cried. and all that soothed her was to sleep in the bed with me. And so began our co-sleeping.
We came home and I continued to bring the baby to bed with me and cradle her until she fell asleep and then lay her down beside me to sleep. I would wake up a zillion times a night because my baby is a GRUNTER and it is LOUD! I also wasn't swaddling her so she was flailing around like crazy. I would wake up to her noises, her movements and if it wasn't one of those two reasons, I would wake up because my arm would be completely numb since I was sleeping on it and too scared to change positions in order to not wake the baby.
Now, even though I was not sleeping well, I was convinced that putting the baby in the crib would be worse because she would NOT sleep. I envisioned putting her in only to encounter a massive crying, screaming fit! Afterall, my baby NEEDED me! I would rather have woken up to a numb arm or a few grunts than upset her and have to repeatedly get up to soothe her crying. I also have to admit that I LOVED the smell, the feel, the closeness of having her right next to me all night long. Afterall, she was right beside (ok...inside!) me for 40 weeks! It was tough to imagine her not connected to me!
Well, last week I decided to try out the bassinet. I bought a swaddle that was recommended to me by a lady at my mom-group. It's called the Miracle Blanket. And let me say...it is just that! Alexandra loves to flail her arms around and easily busts out of many swaddles we already have. Those velcro ones have no chance! So, I swaddled her up TIGHT. Really tight is the key. I felt bad doing it, its like putting your baby in a straight jacket! Of course she screamed. and I figured she would be unswaddled and in my bed in no time. But after a few minutes of shhhing and rocking she was out cold. I put her in the crib, and she slept. For FOUR hours. and I slept for FOUR hours! When she woke up, i didn't unswaddle her ( I was warned not to unswaddle her!) and I fed her and she was back in the crib and asleep 30 minutes after waking. and so was I. She slept for another 3 hours after that! holy smokes! I woke up refreshed! a new woman! and we have not looked back since! Quitting co-sleeping has changed my life! I don't dread the night time, i can actually "put her to bed", it gives me a tiny bit of freedom that i didn't recognize i needed! I know there willl still be rough nights but man oh man am i happy i tried something that i was so afraid of! i'm really proud of us!