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on sleeping …

Saturday, May 1, 2010

This is how we take a nap.
from that hospital stay onward, one of the most valuable things as a new parent is sleep. while the chances are high that you won’t be getting any at all until you get sent home, especially if you room-in and breastfeed like us, figuring out how to catch those z’s once you’re home and on your own with a newborn is a big challenge.

almost seven weeks into parenthood and we’ve made some unexpected decisions about sleep.

our original plan was to let elisha sleep in a pack-n-play next to my side of the bed until he was sleeping 5-6 hour stretches at night and then move him to his crib. we use that pack-n-play plenty now. he’ll sleep in it just fine and it’s big enough that i have a changing pad down on the other side so i don’t have to walk him to the spare room to change him at night. i can reach in and bring him over in the wee hours when he wakes up to eat. the thing is, however, is that he is so hilariously noisy when he’s sleeping in the pack-n-play. he snorts, he babbles, he sleep-cries, he shuffles around, he surprises himself with his arms (if i swaddle him at night, he just fidgets until he gets his arms free before going to sleep … so we gave up on that one except for daddy feedings and naps). well, it’s only funny until you’re zombie-tired and can’t handle spending another moment agonizing over what every sound coming from the baby’s sleeping form means. as new parents, every sound was anticipated and worried over … and eventually it was just too much to handle.

the moment he’s placed sleeping in our bed, he’s silent as a mouse (except when he’s eating. he can be such a noisy eater…). with that realization, he’s ended up spending a lot of nights between us.

did i ever think it would happen? no, not really. i’m not an “attachment parenting” devotee and i thought co-sleeping was weird. then, i became a parent and had to discover what worked for us. sleeping worked for us and we had to find it. i can easily lay on my side and nurse the baby at 2am. no one has ever gotten close to rolling over onto the little sleeping baby. he hasn’t ended up on his stomach with a face full of pillow or blanket. so far, it’s just worked.

i don’t believe you can spoil a newborn. i don’t believe that he will have any problems sleeping in his crib down the road a few months as long as we’re patient and gentle about introducing him to sleeping on his own. he likes sleep. he’s good at sleeping (and eating). i believe that we just need to be gentle and pay attention to his cues and his needs as well as our own.

we needed sleep. now we have it.

and, honestly, it’s rather nice to wake up to a smiling baby, even if it’s before 6am.

some information and resources that helped us can be found here and here.

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