Monday, September 28, 2009

Co-sleeping = No-sleeping

I like the idea of co-sleeping: cuddling up beside my babies, falling into a deep, contented sleep with them in my arms, hearing their sleepy little breathing noises. It sounds heavenly.

But that's not the co-sleeping I've experienced.

Two nights ago Oliver, who's almost 9 months, was having a particularly bad night - perhaps it was the teething, or general discomfort, or just wanting his mum to hold him - I'm not sure what it was. But by three in the morning I decided enough was enough and brought him back into the bedroom with me.

"Oliver is coming in with us." I told J, who may have grunted or not I can't remember. "Because I'm not getting up and down all night." I settled into my side of the bed, Oliver next to me, curled up in my arms.

Well this is perfectly nice, I thought, closing my eyes.

Seconds later - "heee" "heee" "heee". Oliver, excited to be in this new cocoon of warmth in the middle of the night, was trying out new sounds, loudly, in my ear. "Okay, shhh, shhh, darling." I said, rubbing his back soothingly.

All is good. Then a little hand reached up and clawed my face and I lost an eye. Okay I didn't loose an eye, but nearly. "Owwwch! Oliver!" I screeched quietly. I could feel him grinning at me in the dark with that enormous toothy grin of his.

Sleep. Please. But then I thought - what if he rolls off the edge of the bed? Crap. So I moved him in between me and J. Good, okay now everything's fine, off to sleep we go.

And then another thought - what if one of us pulls the duvet up over his head by mistake in the night? I wedged my arm down on top of the cover to keep it in place. But what if one of us accidentally whacks him in the head? What if we roll on him? What if we crush him, what if we smother him?

The worries subsided and I drifted off, and was dreaming that I was heavily pregnant and that the babe was kicking me. And then. Oh, wait, I'm not pregnant - that's Oliver kicking me in the gut, here in the bed next to me.

Still grinning and gurgling.

I edged back, dangerously close to the edge of the bed now, to escape his punchy little feet. Sleep? No. Slap, slap, slap in my face. He loves to slap people in the face. No idea why.

"He's slapping me in the face." Groaned J. "Yeah." I said "Me too." no longer remotely sleepy.

Twenty minutes after bringing Oliver into the bed with us, I was returning him to the safe confines of his crib, telling him we would see him in the morning when we had all had a good night's sleep. In our own beds. With no kicking, slapping or punching each other.

So, to those who co-sleep with their kids - how on earth do you manage it? Do you wear knee pads and ear plugs? And, do you get ANY sleep at all? I want to know!
Stumble ThisFav This With TechnoratiAdd To Del.icio.usDigg ThisAdd To Reddit Bookmark Twitter

13 comments:

..... Carmen said...

For the first six months when Grace slept with me, Nate did not. I think that was the key. It was just her, and I, in a Queen sized bed. Nate was too worried he would crush her, or roll on her, and she'd freak if she was in a crib. So the solution for our family, was just her and I. On trips we have taken though where Grace needs to be in a bed, she still sleeps with me, and Nate takes the second double in the hotel. The older she gets, the more that she likes to snuggle right into me, and more often than not, I'm woken up with her feet in my face, or something of that sort. I honestly have no idea how people co-sleep with kids over the age of 1.

Juli Ryan said...

Co-sleeping was how we got the most sleep. Because I was breastfeeding. Forever. And I'm a deep sleeper. And I'm lazy. I don't think I ever completely sold my husband on the idea, though. He just went along with it to keep the peace.

Mwa said...

I can't do it either. I just never sleep at all. Even if by some miracle the kid does.

wherewiller said...

I only did it when they were babies, when they were feeding in the night. And I tried to sleep in a seperate bed too.
Now I sometimes do what you do if one of them is sick - but now it's a game, and we get kicked in the head. It's no good for us past about 4-6 months!!

Sparkless said...

I never got any sleep when the kids slept in my bed. Mommy needs her sleep as much as baby does so even though it sounds all nice and cozy it never worked for me.

Mammatalk said...

I only did it when they were very small. I need sleep!

Perfectly Happy Mum said...

Absolutely, I really don't know how people manage co-sleeping! Even when V was very young and we had him with us a couple of times I was panicked at the idea of smothering him too. And god the kid can slap and punch too! I am definitely not a co sleeper fan...

Jenny said...

I've been co-sleeping with my 10 month old since the start. I've just accepted the fact that I will only get 2 hours of sleep in a row at the MOST for the first year or (gulp) more (?). But because I've accepted the fact, I guess I don't ever let myself hope for more. As in, I know it's just a period of time in our lives where I'm zombie-angry-sleepy- face-kinda-stupid-writer-mommy. Pretty much, I just write off this chunk of time in my life...and I'm very familiar with those 3 or 4 am wide awake moments. That's when I blog or read or knit or catch up on DVR-ed tv. He's up for an hour or two and then I go back to sleep and when he wakes up again at 6 am, I slough him off on Dad until 8:30 where I get a blissful 2 1/2 hours on my own. It's not glamorous. I think some babies are better sleepers than this when it comes to co-sleeping but I've never been so lucky with my own kids. And frankly, I think most parents who claim their kids are good sleepers are just big fat liars! Oh and the duvet situation? We use two separate single duvets. It's all so glamorous, isn't it?

Maria @BOREDmommy said...

My son was the worst sleeper ever. He didn't sleep through the night until my daughter was born 33 months later. I never even considered co-sleeping back then actually. It was just me trying to get every minute of sleep I could get, and it only worked when I dragged his little butt to my bed in the middle of the night. When my daughter was born, I vowed to myself that I would NEVER bring her into my bed, and I didn't and thankfully she's been the best sleeper, sleeping through the night from about 3 weeks of age. So, yes, my vote is AGAINST co-sleeping, but only for my own sanity and sleep, not because I have something against it for anyone else.

cartside said...

Well, we co-slept rather a lot. As I was nursing, that would always send daughter off to dreamland, so we had very calm nights. Until she got older, at 17 months or so we finally had to gently insist that the kicks weren't very funny, also her tendency to lie horizontally, which makes even a super king size bed small. When she's unwell and sleeps in our bed now, I also don't get much sleep, but honestly I did for the first 15 months or so. Oh yeah, and we did get a super king size bed when she was 7 months ;)

Elisa, The Unlikely Housewife said...

I am, like you, an unwilling co-sleeper. No wisdom here, just: I hear ya!

Chic Mama said...

I'm giggling away here, I know exactly what you mean. I think it depends on the baby too. My eldest used to be quiet, still but the last one is terrible. I really know he's there and barely sleep. I now attempt everything to keep him in his cot rather than my bed. Too many bruised ribs otherwise.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

The idea of co-sleeping is awesome, in theory. (To paraphrase the Simpsons) in theory communism works. In theory.