I am blow-me-out-the-water exhausted today. I’m not really sure why, because I had relatively good sleep last night, with just two brief wake ups to latch Ameli on for feeding. The benefits of cosleeping (YES, I said the “C” word!) seriously outweigh the one negative, in my opinion.
So looking at that one negative, potential death, I’ll admit that it’s a pretty big one. A few weeks ago there was this big raucous in the media about the evils of cosleeping, warning mothers again not to do it. Fortunately UNICEF countered with a statement of their own, which has been very useful when dealing with health visitors etc.
According to the statement, cosleeping on the sofa, or when extremely exhausted, or taking drugs (including I’d imagine flu medication and sleeping pills) or after drinking is dangerous. This makes sense. But if you’re following those basic common sense rules, there really should be no problem!
The day Ameli was born, we finally managed to get in to bed at 6am, and my mom put Ameli in the bed between us. Martin was really conscious of her being there. She was so tiny and we were so tired. So I moved her to my side, so I was between my husband and my daughter. I was worried too, that I might roll on to her, or smother her, or knock her off the bed or something equally as awful. My mom put her Moses Basket flush with the bed so that should she be knocked off, she’d ‘fall’ in to the basket, and assured me that I would not crush my baby. We went to sleep and woke up about six hours later, Ameli still happily sleeping, curled up in bed next to her mommy. I slept really well, but I was so aware of her at the same time.
As the month has progressed, we have finally found ourselves in some sort of sleep routine. Ameli goes to sleep in her Moses Basket in our room, then when I go to bed I either feed her and then put her back in her crib and wait for her next feed before I bring her in, or if I’m ready to sleep, I just take her in to the bed straight away. I have a lovely 5-foot pillow which sleeps next to me, with Ameli on top, propped in the nook of my arm. That way there’s no way my breast is going to block her nose, and there’s no chance of me rolling on to her. When she’s finished feeding, she takes herself off the breast and sleeps there next to her mommy.
Nature is a fantastic thing, if you’ve not interfered with it by getting drunk or taking drugs. I have learned in just one month, in my sleep to differentiate between niggles and concerns. Concerns, like hunger or a dirty nappy, normally wake me, especially if I choose to ignore them as they then escalate to tears! But Ameli is a noisy sleeper and I am now able to distinguish between what should wake me and what should not.
The problem I find with just latching her on and letting her determine when the feed is over is that she snack feeds, so feeds enough for about an hour or two, then wakes up for more, but that’s not a huge problem, as I’m still awake for less than an hour during the night. The main problem with this system is that I am not awake to wind her after her feeds, and find that she can become quite uncomfortable and although she keeps her eyes closed, she will lie squirming in bed, creaking like an old man! If it weren’t the middle of the night, it would be really funny to observe! If I then burp her, she normally goes happily back to sleep. From about 4am she sleeps straight through to sometimes as late as mid day!
Cosleeping has also affected Martin. As he is building his own business now sleep is imperative for him, so some nights he’ll sleep with us, some nights he’ll sleep in the nursery and other nights he’ll start with us, then move to the nursery when she becomes noisy. This is obviously not ideal, but isn’t that big a deal for me, since he has pretty much always stayed up later than I do. So long as he joins us in bed in the mornings for a while, there’s no huge difference. Well, I say that, but truth is I do miss him when I wake in the nights, just knowing he’s there would be great, but I know it’s only for a limited time. Once Ameli sleeps through the night, I’m happy for her to go in to her own room. We shall see.
Today I had an almost return to life pre-Ameli. By this I mean I managed to clean the kitchen, do three loads of washing, make lunch (even though it turned out to be toast – there’s another story there!) and go to the mom&baby group, but I’m exhausted tonight, and ready for bed.
I know cosleeping is not for everyone, just as homebirths and breastfeeding aren’t and that’s fine, but as for me… my name is Luschka and I’m a co-sleeper.