For the majority of sweet E’s life he has been a co-sleeper. Which happened accidentally within a few weeks of his life; during night feedings I would fall asleep before I put him back in the bassinet next to our bed. Not to mention I DID NOT like our bassinet it was too bulky, too high, and I had to sit fully up to check on Easton’s breathing… you know as a new mom you constantly check that they’re still breathing, it’s a thing.
Anyways. Slowly, going to bed just meant curling up with my real life baby doll; and, not even trying to put him down in that ginormous side bed. It just felt right to have him in bed. We could easily nurse, we both slept great, and I never felt the newborn exhaustion; which was important as I’m also a full time nanny. For the first half of his life we were set with our cosleeping ways. But, then my husband got off night shift, and the dreaded “baby expectations” snuck in… You know, the views that everyone hears via social media about where a baby/kid/anybody should be by a certain time. And, GASP my kid was no where near he needed to be. Six months old and he’s never even slept in his crib, let alone slept by himself. Granted, I LOVE cuddling this kid; I never tried when he was really little. Mom’s bad. I honestly did zero research about babies sleep before E was born. I just thought babies sleep, it’s what they do. First time mom lesson #1 learned. And, nobody knew we were cosleeping. I was very aware that it’s controversial, so I didn’t talk about it. So, I never personally received backlash for Easton’s sleeping capabilities. But, as a mom your bombarded with baby rearing information everywhere you go. And, I took the needing to sleep through the night alone very hard and very personal. I took on these expectations and I let them drive my parenting.
For months we struggled. We were frustrated. It wasn’t just clicking! He wasn’t sleeping in his crib yet! Because, we’ve never had to get up in the middle of the night. I reverted back to new mom and would lay in bed forever before I could fall asleep, worrying about my baby ALL THE WAY in the OTHER room. I’d hardly sleep before he’d be up. Which made me exhausted and impatient with a baby who was thrown into a completely new environment. For a solid six months I would read all the Pinterest articles and checked out at least four library books; but, I was still either falling asleep with him nursing or bringing him to bed first cry. It was hard to want it to work… to sleep train, when you’re just so tired. I truthfully didn’t want to put in work. I JUST WANTED HIM TO SLEEP. I wanted my baby to be “where he was supposed to be”; that was the root of all of it. He was starting to get fidgety in the middle of the night due to lack of space, but I still loved his cuddles. I still wanted to hold him in his sleep.
So, I took a break from fretting, from worrying about what everyone else says about a baby they’ve never met. And, listened to my baby. Slowly it began to work. We’d get six hours in the crib. All the way until four one glorious night. Then, one dream come true evening, I put my sweet love in his crib with books and music playing while I was in the bathroom… taking some mom time, I’ll be honest. And, when I came out he was fast asleep! My sweet boy who had nursed and cuddled to sleep for a straight year plus – his whole life – and had fallen asleep. On his own. No help. No fuss. I was in awe!
Truthfully though, as that becomes more common I began to steal more cuddles. I wanted so badly for him to just sleep in his crib. But, once he did I missed him! So, there are still nights, more than my husband would like, that my sweet boy sleeps in our bed after one cry. Although, since I’ve quit trying to push him to a place where he is supposed to be, I’ve been able to listen to him. I’ve been okay with the nights that he wraps his sweet little arms around my neck and falls asleep within minutes. Because, this is about him. Not about doctors with continual contradicting views. Or, moms who have raised six kids. While that is all good and well, and has a place; when your life becomes stressful because you’re trying to meet someone else’s standards, something is off. We are in a better place since I took a deep breath, a step back, and started listening more to my baby’s needs.