Lets get Real about Postpartum – Part 4
Oh sleep. You know that thing that you don’t really know anymore after you have kids? You’re acquaintances but you don’t really know it as well as you used to.
Now, that’s not to say you don’t get a decent night’s sleep once your kids sleep through the night, cause you do, but it’s still not as good as it once was.
The first couple of months are so foggy because you’re up all hours of the night – whether you’re breastfeeding or not. I actually think it’s probably worse if you’re not breastfeeding. The act of actually getting OUT of bed, heating up a bottle, and then finally feeding your child versus plopping you’re baby straight to your boob. Either way, you’re up a lot in the middle of the night. It’s a roller-coaster to say the least. SO many things throw them off schedule – I swear, as soon as I said to myself “I think we’re finally on a good schedule” something came through and rocked my world. Teething, growth spurts, separation anxiety, extra comforting, not feeling well…anything really.
So many people tell you to “sleep when the baby sleeps” in the beginning. It’s a great idea, and sometimes you do. But other times you take that opportunity to...SHOWER or EAT…you know those daily necessities? Yeah, those. Other times, you want to catch up on your e-mails or a phone call with a friend, or a trashy reality show, or laundry and dishes...the list could go ON and ON. But the advice still sounds better to sleep when your baby sleeps – and really it’s true. But I think most don’t do it on the regular.
We have done things so different with each girl. This is our experience and how we have chosen to do things. I’m in no way saying this is the right way or the best way…it’s just our way.
Hadleigh was in a bassinet and then she was in her crib. We rocked her to sleep every night, but other than that – she slept in the crib for the most part. She would occasionally sleep with us, and if she woke up in the early hours of the morning, we would just bring her in bed with us. No big deal. Once she graduated to her big girl bed we laid with her to make sure she fell asleep since we, as parents, weren't 100% comfortable just leaving her alone in the big twin bed. We had rails up on both sides, but it made us feel better to lay with her. Sometimes I wish we didn't start this routine because it can be a looonnnggg process some nights.
We usually don’t have Hadleigh nap because it makes for an easier bedtime. She has so much energy, if she naps, she wants no parts of bedtime until 10ish. That’s even if we start trying to get her to go to sleep at 8 or 8:30. She will lay in her bed (with us) talking, singing, moving all around…anything to keep herself awake. Most nights, I end up falling asleep in the bed with her waiting for her to fall asleep.
When Hadleigh is not feeling well, we always have her sleep with us. It makes us feel better and we know it makes her feel better – cause who doesn't like extra snuggles when they don’t feel well? We also let her sleep with us if she asks. We’re not real strict on the co-sleeping thing ;-)
Hayden was in the bassinet, but not for long. She didn't like lying flat on her back from pretty much the beginning – and she projectile vomited after I fed her there for a while, so I didn't feel comfortable laying her on her back either. This isn't recommended by the label on this product, but I put the boppy newborn lounger in the middle of Daniel and I in bed, and she slept like that for a few weeks. At least until she was bigger and wasn't throwing up as much. Then, we transitioned off the lounger (partly because she was getting too big) and she just slept with us in bed. There were a few weeks where I started to put her in the crib. She did fine with it, but would wake up in the early hours of the morning, so I would just bring her in bed with us. Winter came, and she was stuffy a lot, so I kept her in bed with us. We like co-sleeping and just haven’t tried putting her back in the crib. This might make for a hard adjustment into the crib when that time comes, but we will cross that path when we get there.
Hayden will be 9 months in a week – she sleeps through the night on most nights, but will still wake up to nurse every so often. Last night she was up at 3:30am to have a nursing session. No big deal.
Every child is different, has different needs, parents are different; parents have different needs – do whatever works for you! I know people have their opinions about the way we parent when it comes to sleeping, but as long as you and your significant other are confident in the decisions you’re making – then it’s the right thing for ya’ll – and don’t worry about what others have to say!