I knew from all of the books I read, and mom’s I talked to, that getting you to sleep in your own crib/bed/room was going to be one of the hardest battles I faced as a parent, but one of the most worthwhile. When I was pregnant, I held firm that I was not going to give you blankets or pillows, and that sleeping with you in my queen sized bed was an absolute no-no. And then you were born.
Your dad was supportive of me not wanting to co-sleep. He knew that it made me so nervous to potentially roll on top of you, or suffocate you, or somehow hurt in. So the first month either him or I stayed in the recliner, where you slept on our chests. A few times we got brave and gave co sleeping a try, but to no success. I was reluctant to hold you, or have you next to me because my fear was so great. Dad held you on his chest, and it seemed to be okay.
And then one night I woke from my
slumber brief attempt at sleeping to you shrieking in fear as you rolled from your father’s chest. It wasn’t a quick roll, but something you had probably been working on for a few minutes: a slow slip from the comfort of his sternum, to the crook in his armpit. Suddenly, that crook shifted in his sleep, and you felt a gaping hole between you and no support.
Instinctively I snatched you from near death (it may seem I am being dramatic here but I am not). You were less than an inch from rolling off the side of the bed, unable to control your neck and head. My heart was pounding out of my chest as I slapped your father who was too deep in sleep to wake up. I was done with cosleeping.
So we tried a little harder for you to sleep in your bassinet. You would do okay, and then have nights of pure agony with baby gas and fussiness and it would just not suffice. Then one night you fell asleep on my chest, and I gently laid down in bed, too exhausted to fight my fear of cosleeping. And when I awoke, you were nuzzling into me, searching for the breast, but my arms hadn’t moved. It had been four hours, and my hands and arms didn’t move one inch. They were numb from lack of blood flow, but I kept you safe in my unconscious state.
When side-lying nursing was accomplished after weeks and weeks of failure, co-sleeping got even better. We could manage to go to bed and you would wake to nurse, and I would get you latched and then BOOM, I could sleep. Together we spent your second month of life getting fairly decent sleep!
I knew that by age three months I wanted to transition you to your crib. Granted, I thought it would be from the bassinet and not cosleeping, but still. At two months of age when you had a fairly regular schedule or pattern, I put you in the crib for naps. Some days were better than others, but you were learning. I grew to enjoy your naps in the crib, since you were safe and secure, and I could get things done. You were also more comfortable in the bassinet, able to go down for the first leg of the night before joining me when I came to bed later. Things were going great.
Halfway through month two, I laid in bed snuggling you. Breathing in your freshly bathed hair, smelling the top of your head. You still smelled like a newborn, but it was fading. It wasn’t the pure, baby smell you had when you were just mere hours old. Time was passing. I cried that night, and the next, and the next, realizing that you would eventually not want to snuggle with your mum. The count down to the invisible deadline of three months was coming, and I wasn’t ready. I truly cherished snuggling you more than any other time. As I laid there on those nights of January, I realized that it had been a while since you “treefrogged” your limbs across my waist and fell asleep. The next day I tried to rock you to sleep that way, but you would’t do it. You weren’t comfortable that way anymore. A phase of your life I loved had already come and gone.
It is now February 15th, 2016. You’re still a “two month old” for three more days. I got home from my workout to find your dad had put you to bed- the same as other nights I worked out. Sneaking into the bedroom trying not to disturb you, I rummaged for a pair of pajamas. I peered into the bassinet- you weren’t there. Glancing over to see you in our bed- you weren’t there. You were in your crib.
And there it was.
The very thing I wanted when I was pregnant, for you to sleep on your own in your crib, you had done. I had my bed back. I sit here, typing this up because a piece of my heart is broken. Our co sleeping days are not over- I know you will wake around 2am, or 5am, depending on how full you are, hungry. I will pick you up and bring you into bed with me. Or maybe tomorrow you won’t want to sleep in the crib even for your afternoon naps. But it is not the same. You have done it tonight, and it is a reminder that my time with you this little is short. The sad articles, poems, and anecdotes I read on my Facebook timeline are real, and one just happened to me. It wasn’t that I didn’t get to wash your hair, or help you get dressed. But it is the beginning of those things: the start of you not needing me.
I will cry tonight, because I love you. I hope you always need me, my sweet, baby bean.