Co-Sleeping anyone? HA! Try Co-NOT sleeping. We have become Attachment Insomniacs.
We made the choice to co-sleep with Sufyan, meaning that we chose to put him to sleep beside or between us each night in our bed. We walked smugly through Babies R Us as we prepared our baby registry and snorted at the cribs, the bassinets, and turned our noses up at Pack N Plays. “Why not just sleep with your little one? It’s so natural! It’s so sweet!” we said to each other. And when people we met talked about their baby’s crib we exchanged knowing little glances and smiled tolerantly. “Oh, a crib. That’s great…”. We bought a baby hammock from New Zealand thinking this would be his bed. He does nap in it…
So when Sufyan was born, we placed him between us the very first night… and tried to sleep. And we have been trying ever since.
A brief synopsis of the first 4 months of sleep:
Month 1: Sufyan sleeps between us. I spend anxious nocturnal hours stiff, afraid to move for fear of smooshing him. We place rice bags from his armpits down to his feet on both sides of him, creating a little sleep nest to keep him in place and keep his space defined. I spend anxious nocturnal hours fretting over his temperature (“overbundling contributes to SIDS!”) and checking his breathing. Sufyan wakes every 45-60 minutes to nurse. Sleep deprivation sets in. I look forward to month 2 for salvation. I cry often from exhaustion. I bang my head on the wall to wake up. I fall asleep sitting up and nursing. Swaddling begins in earnest.
Month 2: Sufyan sleeps between us. I spend anxious nocturnal hours stiff, afraid to move for fear of smooshing him. Rice bags are in place. Once or twice he sleeps 3-4 hours at a stretch. But this is like teasing us, because he never does it again. Sleep Dep deepens, becomes permanent. We take shifts in 2 separate beds: Faris sleeps with him 1st half, I get him 2nd half. Faris can actually sleep, I cannot. Faris can put his pinky finger in Sufyan’s mouth and let him suck to go back to sleep. I cannot. I begin googling “death by sleep deprivation”. Swaddling continues.
Faris begins to take Sufyan out/away from me from 5am-6:30am so I can get a little nap before the day begins. This is often the best/only sleep I get.
Month 3: Sufyan sleeps between us. We ditch the 2 bed solution. We are determined to sleep in the same bed. I spend anxious nocturnal hours stiff, afraid to move for fear of smooshing him. Rice bags are in place. Then I suddenly can’t take it anymore. 3 months without sleep. My eyes are red all the time. I slur my words when speaking. I have a chronically dry mouth. The thought of sleep makes me hungry. We buy a futon and put it on the floor of the nursery. This is so that I no longer have to worry about Sufyan rolling off of our bed. Theory: I will sleep. Reality: Sufyan wakes me every 2 hours to nurse and sometimes to play. The futon is too lumpy. I worry that we will create an indentation that will encourage him to roll onto his face while he is sleeping and smother. I worry that the futon makes him too warm. All 3 of us now try to cram onto this small futon to sleep like sardines. I lay awake and stare at my front porch light. I have a fantasy that we are actually on stage and there are spotlights on us…which is why I can’t sleep.
Month 4 (this month): Sufyan suddenly changes his sleep schedule. For the worse. HE LITERALLY WAKES (no joke) EVERY HOUR. We have moved the futon to our bedroom. I sleep on the floor with the babe, Faris sleeps in the bed. Occasionally we switch. The bed is now against the wall, putting it in the direct line of our bedroom door. Sleeping on the floor the dog’s noises and itching all night keep me up. Or keep me company?? since Sufyan is up every hour to nurse. Why bother sleeping? Lots of comfort nursing. I read a book called “The No Cry Sleep Solution” and begin taking the nipple out before he is fully asleep. This, I read, will teach him to sleep on his own without the need for nursing. EVENTUALLY. We are trying this now. It is going ok. The first 2 days, he relatched 11 times before sleeping.
Faris stayed up with us every hour just one night, and the very next day we rushed to…..
BABIES R US.
Hat in hands. Tail between legs. “PLEASE TAKE OUR MONEY! SELL US A SOLUTION. WE BEG YOU.”
So we bought an “Arms Reach Co-Sleeper” and went home sure we would finally have a solution.
And for 3 nights–sheer torture. My little guy HATES it. He still woke every hour, it still takes 11 tries to unlatch him for sleep successfully, but now he is miserable, too. I put him in it once for a nap (so there was more light to see his reaction) and he will never be in that thing again. We are returning it. He was shaking like a scared puppy, he is terrified of it.
It was awful.
Next up: the hammock is now beside our bed. he still wakes every hour, but he likes the hammock. He still spends half the night in our bed, and I lay there rigid and sleepless.
We now begin the search for a king sized bed…please pray for us. Can sleep dep kill me?