Thursday, December 9, 2010

Part One- The 'Art' Of Co-Sleeping

It’s amazing how different each of your kids will be, isn’t it? My daughter, at five, is fiercely independent, yet secretly always in need of one of us watching her as she goes out to take the world on. I didn’t co sleep with her and now that I am done with co sleeping with my son, I honestly wish I could have. I would have enjoyed the experience and quite possibly, gotten more sleep.

Let’s be not be tactful, my daughter was a terrible sleeper, as was my son. I think for the first 8 months of both of their lives, they both religiously woke hourly. I ran off of coffee and sheer adrenaline. Most pictures of me from that time period include a wild, wide eyed gleam from me.  Off to the web to read a billion things on co-sleeping for me!

We came to co sleeping with Owen in a weird way. First of all, Owen didn’t sleep with us until he was about two months old and we were desperate. He HATED his crib, despite being in our room, and would NOT sleep without one of us being within the same three feet. This presented a sleeping problem for my spouse and me. We do not have a large bed. We would have preferred to stay sleeping together to help each other at night with feedings and changing. Alas, we got there the hard way.

Owen slept exclusively with one or the other of us every night until we bought an Arms Reach Co Sleeper (which did NOT happen until he was 8-9 months old). I was excessively paranoid about SIDS, so he slept with the covers of our bed tightly tucked underneath him, swaddled, and surrounded by his Boppy.

What we have, in a pale greenish-blue, from Target.

That was the other strange thing about his sleep habits; he would not go to sleep without his boppy. I wonder now, in retrospect, if the kid needed a chiropractor visit? Moving on. Owen slept a million times better when he slept next to us than he ever did in his crib. Even when we adjusted the co sleeper to the lowest setting to avoid harm if he crawled out or fell off, he still fell asleep reassured of us being next to him and we got to have our bed back.

A few months ago we started transitioning Owen and it hasn’t been easy. First of all, my daughter got very jealous and started wanting to sleep with us or have us sleep with her too. I’m not against the occasional snuggle or sleepover but every night of two kids and two parents can get old fast. It was made easier by Owen being in his co sleeper. My own parents let me have the occasional sleep over with them until I was probably 7 or 8 years old.

We transitioned Owen into his own room about two months ago. He goes to sleep at bedtime very easily but NOT at nap time. In fact, he is practically to the point of refusing naps altogether, something I am not willing to give up on. Being a WAHM; that the hour and a half of nap time is totally necessary for me to get work in so that my husband and I can spend any sort of quality time together at night.

So back to the point I made at the very beginning, now that I’ve digressed entirely. From the get go, my daughter slept easily in her own crib, transitioned into a ‘big kid bed’ easily, and truly didn’t want to sleep with us until very recently. Reading on various attachment parenting websites, I was comforted to know that kids go through phases where they just need their parents in close proximity as they grow and go through different stages.

But I am unsure as to why my son just refuses naps now! His room is darkened, like our room. He has a fan to provide white noise, like we do in our room. We have kept his routine the same, changing it only when we can see he’s excessively fussy from teething or illness. I’m just incredibly confused as to why he now won’t nap? We’ve tried a few solutions; letting him lie on our bed with one of us until he falls asleep or for his entire nap time, or holding him until he is drowsy or asleep. But the second he gets put in his bed, he awakens, furious and will not go back to sleep.

What say you, good readers? Am I missing something that might help him sleep better? We give him oragel on days he seems to be teething badly, and he, like our daughter did at his age, has a bottle or sippy in easy reach if he gets thirsty. He and my daughter match personality wise in that neither seem to have slept soundly through the night until age 2 ½ or even 3. (My son is only 18 months but he still wakes consistently 2-3 times a night as she did, for a diaper change and to get comfy again.) Any good advice?

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