Monday, 6 February 2012

The Family Bed.

Posted by Gemma Kelly at 20:09:00
After having Connor, after a thirty hour labour and one night in hospital both without any sleep, I thought once I got him home it would get easier, it was infact the opposite. With constant visitors during the day, when he slept, night times seemed to last a lifetime, not that I begrudged anyone wanting to see the new addition, I might even go as far as to say I enjoyed the attention, for the first time it seemed I had done something people where genuinely in awe of. That first week as I look back on it was just a blur, one very long day after another soon became merged together, not helped by the fact that I had chosen to feed him myself, meaning I was doing the night shifts alone.

Alone, that's a key word, Connor, it soon became apparent, did not like being alone, I think it was the constant holding and cuddling from both of our large families that got him used to sleeping snuggled up with somebody or maybe that's just the way he is, "my own little King of the clingdom". Each time I lay him in his crib the screaming would start and it did not end until he was picked back up again, this made for exhausting parenting and I soon decided it couldn't go on much longer.

Just over one week old I took drastic action, did the unspeakable, and let our baby into our bed. Not that this meant I was any more able to sleep than the previous nights, the constant worry of rolling on him or him suffocating was enough for me to wake up on an half hourly basis, between feeds, to check that he was still ok. However it shocked me just how quickly we all adjusted to the new sleeping arrangement, there was three in the bed and nobody was saying roll over. I know to a lot of people this seems like a risk not worth taking but it's what worked for us, and as I researched the subject the more it became apparent that more families embrace co-sleeping than admit to it, knowing this though still didn't stop me blushing and feeling a little ashamed when people questioned our bedtime routine.

As the weeks went on another concern took over, was I setting myself up for a fall in the future?, was I making my boy too dependant on us? So at three months I decided it was time for Connor to get to know the feeling of sleeping alone, he was only waking once or twice in the night now and was sleeping about five hours at a time. I thought I was in for a nightmare, but he really surprised me going straight to sleep with nothing but a gentle back rub and that's when the realisation hit me, it's not Connor with the closeness problem it's me!

Now sleeping in his crib alone I still keep him pulled right up to the side of my bed, I like to say its for feeding purposes, but really it's so that when I wake up in the middle of the night I can still check he is sleeping soundly.

I'm sure I'll learn to let go a bit soon, I hope so anyway or he'll be coming back to work with me!


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