from co-sleeping to cot sleeping
Daniel and I often remark on how different our entry to parenthood would have been if Percy was our firstborn. He’s been (by far) the most unsettled of our three; the fussiest feeder and the lightest sleeper. There’s a slew of reasons why this may be the case; the noise that accompanies two older siblings is relentless and the frequent in-and-out routine that coincides with school drop-off and pick-up isn’t conducive to long, deep sleep cycles, to name a few. But I try not to get too caught up in the whys – often these issues fix themselves.
And they have, for now.
Perhaps the introduction of solid foods has something to do with it. While my past experiences were peppered with disinterest and dramatic gagging, Percy has decided to take on every piece of food placed before him with vengeance. I tentatively introduced him to avocado two weeks ago and now he’s eating three meals a day and will happily consume a lamb cutlet and pumpkin + cauliflower mash in one sitting. Who would have thought?!
I also bought a cot. Sometimes my mama instinct is so strong that a voice arises and politely demands a trip to ikea because frankly, “this baby is not a co-sleeper”. And it turns out I was right. For the first time in our parenting years our baby is sleeping in a cot instead of our bed. Granted, Percy does make his way back to our arms in the early hours of the morning but his day sleeps and (most of his) night sleeps are in the cot. It turns out he loves his own space and really, who are we to argue?
Sometimes your parenting intentions and ideals need to be put to the side so you can listen to your children with, dare I say it, objective ears.
I’m reminded of a lesson shared when Che was attending Steiner Playgroup as a three-year-old: “Just because you love the idea of a Steiner education doesn’t mean your child will thrive in that environment.”
Just because you intended to co-sleep with your baby, doesn’t mean your baby will be in on the deal.
Over these past few weeks we’ve reached a new stage of settled. Co-sleeping, cot sleeping and the art of musical beds. Do what you have to do….just as long as you’re sleeping.
*and no, I can’t open my wardrobe door without moving the cot. Small sacrifices for sleep, though.
Things just change don' they Jodi x
Aye. True that. Every child has his/her own blueprint. It's strange that we should believe otherwise. My eldest has always been an early to bed baby and would wake up on the dot at 6-7am. My youngest has always been a late to bed baby, going down at 10pm and sleeping till 8-9am. I thought it would change with teenage years…it hasn't. The oldest is still the easiest to rouse early and the youngest the hardest to wake.
Very interesting and nice to read Jodi. As a first time mother I had strong ideals on many (well all!) parts of my baby's development including breastfeeding and night weaning. I thought that my baby should be the one to say no when he was ready. It came to a point where he wanted milk every half hour EVERY night resulting in a very tired mother and baby. Like you describe, I could'nt just ignore his signs and all he wanted was for me to draw some boundaries. Next night I refused him milk and after a few hours of fussing he gave up and sleeped for 6 hours straight – something he had neeeeever done before.
I understand what you mean about co-sleeping. We cosleep with our older daughter, but our little is just not a cosleeper. He is too active in bed that I am constantly afraid he will fall off! So we put him in a crib next to our bed. And then we noticed that he is such a light sleeper that any movement, cough or anything would wake him up. So now he has his own room next door with a white noise machine. It was really really hard at first to let him go from the bedroom, but sometimes, we have to find what works best even if it isn't what we truly want!
This is a wonderful post. There is often so much pressure on parents, often self imposed, to follow a very specific "style" of parenting;even if that style is seemingly very open and "go with the flow" it can become unstuck when your child needs something else. My second child was so, so different as an infant than my first and now as a toddler. What I've realised is that she is very different from me and I need to embrace that not fight it. Learn how to adjust and work out her flow too. Thanks again for an honest, lovely post. Happy musical beds.
I couldn't agree more with the 'self imposed' parenting style!
I have a co-sleeper. But now that he is almost four, he should be in his own bed. Every time we try it he has had the most scream filled night terrors, that takes hours to calm him. So I end up letting him sleep in our bed for another few weeks until we, okay my partner nags me into trying again.
For the first time ever he has occasionally started to day nap in his bed. My Mumma heart is telling me to let him take his time. I cannot imagine a teenage boy still in our bed, so my guess is when he is ready he we make the move.
Oh I can very much relate! We co-slept with our daughter for the first year and none of us got more than 3 hours sleep a night… it was hell! Then the minute she was finally in a cot in her own room (something I swore I would never do) she made a huge sigh of relief and began sleeping through the night almost immediately. Now number two (all of 2.5 weeks old) has to be as close to me as humanly possible. She'll only sleep on me (or in the ergo) or snuggled in right at my side, even being half a metre away in the co-sleep crib is too far away. A big lesson for me in letting go and realising that life is easier for everybody when we don't fight these things!
My son is the same, he simply prefers his own space so co-sleeping never worked for us. He got his own room when he was 6-7 months old and within a week he slept through the night. He has just turned 2 and in the evenings he goes "Night, night, mamma. Mamma, go! Bye!" and I have to leave the room before he is able to settle. Talk about little Mr Independent!