I think we all have ideals for ourselves of what we will and will not do when we become parents.
I consider myself to be a fairly nonjudgemental person when it comes to how others want to parent but, as I’m sure everyone does, I have seen techniques employed by friends and family and said to myself, “I’d never do that” or “I hope I can imitate that!”
One thing I’m sure every parent can agree on, is that parenthood? Boy is it humbling.
And the reality is that while it’s great to have an idea of the things you do and don’t want to do, I’ve learned that 99% of the time it’s just not that simple.
For example, we registered for and received an Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper (thanks lil sis!). I had visions of the ease of being able to reach over, grab the baby in the middle of the night, nurse and pop him back into his co-sleeper. I mean really, what could be simpler right?
Of course, it hasn’t worked out this way for a number of reasons, one of which being that my letdown is too strong so I can’t nurse T without burping him, which means the whole production of sitting up and rocking and patting and usually ends with T being fully awake and needing to be soothed back to sleep and then promptly waking up again the moment he’s placed back into his co-sleeper.
There are actually a whole host of other reasons that feeding him inevitably turns into a minimum 30-45 minute debacle at night which pretty much destroyed my dream of how amazingly easy and awesome the co-sleeper would make life.
But that’s not the point. My point was supposed to be (although I completely failed to make it) that I always said I would never co-sleep with a baby in my bed. There would be no reason right? We were getting a co-sleeper!
Yeah, about that…
T does not seem to love his co-sleeper. He can be passed out in our arms or in his new bouncer (which he looves but unfortunately I have stood firm on not letting him sleep overnight in it since he seems to slide down the chair into dangerous positions) but once we put him in his co-sleeper it takes about two minutes for him to start fussing and another three for the crying to begin. At 3am it’s hard to be firm about leaving him where he is and trying to soothe him with patting or continually replacing the pacifier into his mouth.
So, in the quest for sleep, there has been a baby in our bed the past few nights despite all the AAP warnings against it and my own firm belief that I would never do something so dangerous as sleep with my baby. All things equal, I came to the conclusion that it is safer for my baby to have a semi-rested mama caring for him than a sleep-deprived, frustrated, arthritic one that has stayed up all night trying to get him to sleep in his co-sleeper.
There’s also the added bonus that he actually seems to sleep 100x better snuggled up next to me and has been a much happier baby as a result.
I don’t let him sleep next to Paul because that man rolls like crazy and has been known to squash me once in awhile.
I’ve also been rebelling against the AAP recommendation to only put babies to sleep on their back. The kiddo hates tummy time with every fiber of his tiny body. He also doesn’t nap well during the day because he generally does not like to be swaddled when the sun is out and then proceeds to startle himself every thirty minutes or so. So Paul and I finally decided to try to kill two birds with one stone and let him nap on his tummy during the day, as long as I’m awake and watching him. We’re hoping he’ll sleep deeper and also create a positive association with being on his tummy because Paul is terrified that he will fall behind developmentally and there goes his Stanford basketball scholarship =P
Also, funny enough, he will sleep on his tummy in his co-sleeper. So maybe at some point we will just have him do that at night. I figure once he can roll on his own that would make it the safest of the options that lead to sleep for us and him.
I guess in the years to come I’ll have plenty of opportunities to give up my own expectations of myself in pursuit of sanity so I better just get used to it now. Like I said, parenting is humbling!