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Monday, July 15, 2013

Co-Sleeping as a Last Resort

Just a hunch, but I’m guessing quite a few of you can relate to this dance. You get your sweetheart to sleep, and you lay him down. As soon as he touches the mattress, his eyes pop open and the crying begins. So you rock him to sleep and try again. This time you put him down but don’t let go yet. You start by relaxing your grip. Then, in one to five minute increments, you remove one finger at a time. If he moves or even sighs, you stop what you are doing and pray like you’ve never prayed before. Fifteen minutes later...
...your entire torso has probably fallen asleep from leaning over the crib railing, but you have finally detached yourself. Hooray! (Shhhh!) As you tiptoe across the room, one of the following happens: he sneezes, you sneeze, he passes gas, your other child walks in and loudly asks you a question, the phone rings, someone rings the doorbell, or he suddenly relaxes his arms and startles himself… Annnnnd we’re back to the rocking again.
If you have nothing better to do, perhaps this is okay. If it’s 3 a.m… really not okay. That’s usually when I started crying along with my son.
We tried everything….
We swaddled him. He cried.
We put him next to our bed. He cried.
I slept with my hand on his belly. He cried.
I leaned into the bassinet with him until all the blood rushed into my head. He cried.
We bought a bed that fit IN our bed but had sides so we couldn’t roll on him. Shocker… He cried.
I’m not kidding when I say that this kid could not sleep unless I was nose to nose with him.
At some point I gave up and just let him sleep in my bed. It wasn’t the plan. I started out a rule-follower, but my son flat-out REFUSED to follow the rules, and sleep deprivation does crazy things to a mother. These are the tough choices, People. We do the best we can. And I must be doing okay, because all three of my babies sure do love cuddling with me.
Contributed by Meredith Ball, parent-writer for Today’s Family.


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