I love co-sleeping; it’s so sweet, calm and beautiful sleeping next to your little one. It makes nighttime nursing easier, too. But I had decided to do things differently with baby Elizabeth because I am fairly certain that co-sleeping is the reason that neither of my boys slept all that well as they got older and why nursing was directly tied to sleeping, making weaning harder.
So I set up the crib in the master bedroom about a month before I was due, in preparation for our sleeping separately (and of course she waited until her actual due date to come). ;) But then, her birth was nothing like what I’d experienced before. She had to be delivered by cesarean, which meant that I had to recover from abdominal surgery while caring for her. This was a total game-changer!
I literally couldn’t get up without assistance because of the pain I was in. I couldn’t change positions in bed alone. I couldn’t even pick her up by myself. There was no way I was going to be able to get up and out of bed, lift her into my arms, and position us for breastfeeding! So, I had to re-evaluate the sleeping arrangement. I decided to co-sleep again, at least until I was healed. This way, I could still care for her (use the nasal aspirator in her mouth if needed, give her the pacifier, etc.) on my own without having to wake my husband or daughter for help.
But breastfeeding was a different story. For the first full week home, I kept my cell phone near me so that I could call my husband (who has to sleep on the couch because of his back) or our sixteen year old daughter when I needed their help to get up with Elizabeth. One of them would come in and pick her up and assist me in sitting up. Once done with a feed, I could usually get us settled back down by myself. Unless she needed a diaper change or I needed to go to the bathroom. Then, I needed additional help.
By about ten days postpartum, I started thinking about implementing my original plan of sleeping separately but I just couldn’t part from my little sweetie! And so, here we are after a month of co-sleeping and I don’t think there’s any going back, lol. Our routine at night is so lovely. I feed her before I go to sleep (generally between 10 and 10:30) and then she wakes to nurse at 3ish and then again at 6ish. She makes the cutest little “eh, eh, eh” sounds instead of crying. I’m so close to her that it never escalates to a cry because I am able to tend to the need promptly. If she were in her crib, I know I wouldn’t be quite so in tune with her simply because of the distance between us. Sometimes after feeding, she needs to continue sucking so I give her a pacifier and then she’s able to fall back to sleep easily. I’m able to do this right next to her, while lying down, and she’s able to hold my fingers. It’s the sweetest thing.
So, I may be setting us up for a longer weaning process or more night feeds down the line, but we’re both really happy with this cuddly arrangement and I don’t intend on changing it any time soon!