my last baby just slept through. It’s momentous, I’m finished with night feeds forever.
God it’s rough, I remember first time round, we didn’t mind at all, daddy would wake and sit eagerly with me we would turn on the tv and chat and stare at our baba, I’d do the breast feed then hand her over to him to burp and change her, we’d share putting her back down ‘the proper way’ on her back, feet to foot, with her little grobag and cellular blanket, no help ‘self soothing’ and all that jazz. an hour would go by in the deep of the night and we’d be all back asleep, then morning would come. We were tired but she was number one so plenty of time to catch up on snoozes during the day. I decided there and then that she was the baby Jesus and there was no way I would ever go back to work and be apart from her, way too much staring to be done. I would re train in something I could do from home – so I could be with her at all times.
Two years later number two came. Things were different, 1’s routine was to be protected so we were more ‘shushey’ in the night, much more inclined to do anything to keep the baby quiet because a woken toddler is the cousin of a woken troll. So little 2 was lifted at the first peep (self soothing out the window) and boob shoved in her mouth to quiet it at any opportunity – I’ve often wondered how people in hiding kept babies quiet, now I know ‘boob silencer’. dad also having done it the first time round was less inclined to wake in the night, he had work in the morning and couldn’t catch up on sleep was the argument – I had toddler in the morning so no sleep for me either but hey. I went straight back to work – I had copped on that Creche is a friend and work meant coffee breaks, adult company, wearing a bra every day and an obligatory lie on day on the weekend as I was after all entitled to one having been ‘working’ all week. I was a typist. I sat and typed shit all day while listening to my favourite radio program and chatting to my friends in the office while two lovely, maternal fetac level 5 trained women taught my kids ‘the wheels on the bus’ and did potato stamping with them . WINNING. not exactly ‘work’ compared to being at home in the trenches with a toddler and a newborn but socially acceptable as totally heroic of me to ‘work’ with two kids.
Fast forward 3 more years. Number 3 came. as she is more commonly known, Crazy Horse. The problem with 3 is when it comes to the night feeds stage I can remember nothing. It’s either ptsd or selective memory from the shock but I have very little recollection of that time other than sleepwalking down the hall in the dark to her room, hitting every wall on the way, slumping into the rocking chair with her and falling asleep while she latched on, jumping out of my sleep half an hour later when she would nearly fall out of my arms then standing over the cot doing ANYTHING go get her back to sleep – shushing, singing, rocking, a wierd breathing technique I read about that synchronises your breathing to the babies and tricks them into a ‘sleeping’ breathing pattern (bullshit). we had a pull out mattress for when the kids were sick ‘the sick bed’. I spent many a night just lying down on the sick bed, naked and freezing but asleep because she would sleep if I was there. Sleeeeeep. I had also learned at this stage that my kids would literally sleep through Armageddon, nothing would wake them we could have raging parties swinging from the rafters and these children would not wake, people up and down to the loo arguments and sing songs my babies would not be woken. So 3 did a whole lot of ‘crying it out’ not because I read up on this technique, more because I had washing to fold and a dishwasher to stack after everyone was in bed and not a whole lot of spare time for pacifying. I had to leave work after 3. people thought I would be relieved to be ‘at home with my kids’, I was heartbroken. But now 1 was in school and 2 was in play school so 3 and I would go back to bed every morning for two solid hours – heaven. She loved my bed. She would snuggle right into me and get really warm and I would wake up next to her beautiful face all peaceful and warrior-goddess like – she had a lot of hair she looked mental.
And now number 4 is here. My last baby. And I was fucked if I was losing any more sleep than absolutely necessary so I gathered up all of my baby guides and sleep technique books and I threw them in the bin. I did what is not endorsed (who are these experts anyway?) and I took my baby into the bed. And I have Not. Looked. Back. I love it, we go to bed … Whenever! zero routine, just whenever I’m ready to go up I bring him with me, change him and watch telly and munch while he has a big feed then we both snuggle down under the duvet. I make a little nest and block him in with pillows, I bring the cover up to his waist then I scooch down so my head is level with his waist so the blanket won’t go over him and I’ve got into a bad habit of holding his little hand (shoot me) and off we go to sleep. He wakes now and then through the night and I bring my boob to him in my sleep, he takes what he needs and passes out – don’t ask me how many times through the night? 2-3 times? for a max of about half an hour I think? Sometimes just one or two little sucks and he’s gone, Can’t be sure because I’m usually only half awake and I never look at the clock. Morning comes and I hop up and get the 3 girls organised for school, off they go out the door and back to bed I go to my little man, I change him and give him a good full feed, both sides, and a wind and we snooze again for an hour or two. Heavon. Not once have I broken down crying with exhaustion. Not once have I lost the plot with the girls. I am rested and I am sane. The Moses basket stood by my bedside the whole time and eventually became a receptacle for unfolded washing and lost shoes. A ‘shit collector’. It wasn’t used once.
Then the unthinkable happened – he slept through. It was all over. That awful phase of newborns and night feeds was over and not a drop of blood spilled so to speak. 7 weeks had passed and I had hardly noticed. We had created a little nest just me and him and had such an intensely bonding experience with co sleeping. I’m a little sad it’s all coming to an end to be honest. Next stage is he goes into his cot in his room because cmon, i mean I liked it but I’v not completely gone to the dark side of ‘attachment parenting’ – I want my bed back and I want my husband back – poor fucker has been slumming it in the spare room for weeks now and trust me while I’ve enjoyed having one tiny little man in my bed his father is a whole lot more fun!
So my observation on co sleeping and attachment parenting is this – do whatever the fuck you need to do to get a nights sleep.