It’s done. We’ve managed to complete a whole week without a nighttime co-sleep. While this was indeed helped by the fact that Nanny and Grandad took over for the weekend while Mammy and Daddy got some well-earned party and date time, it’s done. It’s an achievement.
See, I’ve nothing against the co-sleeping. I’m all for it if it means that we are indeed sleeping. What I do have a bug to bear with is the co-not-sleeping. The co-being beaten up with a bottle at 3 am, kicking and pillow hogging. And it’s always my pillow. Enough says I, back into your cot.
Half of the issue seemed to be that our little man had a problem with his cot – it wasn’t a place he wanted to go to sleep, and me wanting to pander to him instead of obeying the baby books and teaching him cot was for sleeping in. Night after night, he fell asleep drinking his bedtime bottle, in my arms, not being moved until I was sure that he was sound asleep, and then transferred to the cot. Of late, it had become lying in the dark in my bed with him beside me until he fell asleep. In hindsight, I should have known this was a bad idea. Of course, he had a taste for the high life of Mammy and Daddy’s bed, why would anyone want to sleep caged into his cot when there were things like pillows, duvets and warm cuddles at night time? And of course, the joy of waking Mammy and Daddy up by super-surprise ninja kicks or punches to the face. Sure, who doesn’t love those?
Monday night, I said enough. Tonight would be the night. The previous week had been filled with lots of waking up, lots of tired zombie coffee filled days, and a 3 am tussle for a bottle after being repeatedly bashed in the nose with it. I was starting a new shift in work which meant I wasn’t getting home until nearly half eight, which meant that if bedtime was to last hours, it could be close to midnight by the time anyone got shut-eye. Enough was enough. Yes, we were co-sleeping to get more sleep, but this wasn’t working. So on Monday I hauled a kitchen chair into his room and sat by his cot, and flicked through games and Facebook while I waited for him to fall asleep. I stuck on the lullabies on our baby monitor (it’s got eight songs on a loop), and the projector light show, which while being blurry gave him things to stare at. In his gro-bag and jammies and under a fleecy blanket, I declared to E that it was time for bed, that Mammy and Daddy loved him very much, Night Night. And there I sat.
It wasn’t without a struggle. He flipped over. He grabbed the bars of the cot like a prisoner attempting escape. He shouted, moaned, whinged. I felt horrible. I lay him back down each time and shushed him, rubbed his back, rubbed his hand. I tried to comfort him with me being there, in the dark, but without him being in my arms. Twenty minutes later he was out like a light. I felt like one of the parents at the end of SuperNanny. There he was, asleep in his cot, without the need for a long-drawn-out procedure like other nights. I left the music playing and walked out of the room. He woke up once that night and was quickly shushed back to sleep and slept until 6.30 when his Daddy brought him into bed with me as he was heading off to work. Grand, time for the morning cuddles.
The following night took a bit longer – forty minutes of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and Facebook checking, and some crying to deal with, some guilty mama feelings and a slight urge to say “Feck it, we’ll try this again if he’s still co-sleeping for the Leaving Cert”. But after forty minutes he was asleep, and I could happily tuck into dinner which had been made in my absence (bonus!).
It’s continued like that since. It seems that if he knows we won’t bring him into the bed, he’s less bothered about waking up, or if he does wake up, he’s happier to put himself back to sleep. There are definite grumblings, but I do think the music playing is working – on both him and me, as the monitor is next to my side of the bed, I’ve been impossible to wake for the last week! He seems to have come to accept the cot as his bed now instead of squished in between us, and even if we have to get up once in the night, it’s working for us much better than the assault course which was trying to sleep with our starfish in the bed.
Of course, now that I’ve written this, tonight is going to be up on the hour every hour, and I’ll be sleeping in the cot while he goes in with his Daddy. Typical.
All we need now is to get away from the bottle at night time, he’s waking to suck on something but doesn’t seem to be hungry, he barely drinks any of the bottles we grab bleary-eyed from the fridge – but as he won’t take a soother, we’re fighting a losing battle. Something tells me a soother may cause him to fall asleep faster too while helping us cut down on the number of bottles he’s having as per the health nurses orders.
How are your nighttime routines going? Suggestions on a postcard for cutting out the bottle dependency or tales of your bedtime woes!
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