When we brought both of our boys home from the hospital, they slept in a co-sleeper. The co-sleeper is a bassinet that is attached to the parents bed, and makes it easy for mom to reach over and get the baby to nurse or give a bottle for midnight feedings. But the co-sleeper also provides the baby with their own bed, which is far safer than putting a newborn in the bed with you, and helps them learn to sleep independently in their own space, without the need mom's arms, chest, or boob for snacking to sleep soundly. Yet the baby is still close to mom to make those first several months with a baby that isn't sleeping through the night a little easier for everyone.
We seldom shared our bed with Ben. The 1st time was when he was about 9 months old and had RSV. I was afraid that he was so ill, and having difficulty breathing, that I put him in our bed until he was well. I never rocked my babies until they were asleep. I would rock them or sing to them or read to them until I knew they were ready for sleep, but still awake, and put them in their crib. Josh, however, never (not once) in 2 years, has slept in our bed. We felt strongly about encouraging and training the boys to be independent sleepers from the start. Once Ben moved to a toddler bed (way to early in retrospect, as he was not climbing out of his crib) we went through bouts of him coming into our room in the middle of the night. The child cannot, will not, does not stay still in his sleep. I've woken to a TKO to the nose, where I literally saw stars. Sometimes Ben will get in on my side, and I'll keep him there so that Joe isn't subjected to the trashing. One night recently, Ben crawled in on Joe's side & by morning Joe was in misery & exhausted. These bouts will go on for a week or more, and then he'll sleep fine in his own bed, and only come into our room occasionally. Last night was one of those nights. Sometimes it's as though he has an internal alarm that wakes him at 3 am . I tried after a few minutes in our bed to put him back to bed & got a loud protest. Exhausted myself, I put him back in my bed thinking I needed to give him a little more time to get into a deeper sleep before putting him back in his bed. I fell asleep until ten minutes to six this morning, waking in discomfort, and wondering why. This is what I woke to find. We have a king size bed, but last night (and more nights then I'd like to admit) I find Ben in this position, which clearly makes our king size bed feel much smaller.
|By all means, make yourself comfortable. . . Down by Ben's feet, Joe is clinging to the edge of the bed.|
Last night Joe & I were Benjy Bookends. Poor Joe got the feet of fury & I got the hammering hands. So after all the sleep training work, we are still working on it 4 years later. Ahhh, the best laid plans. . . But at least it's not every night, and at least he goes to sleep in his bed independently without needing Joe or me next to him. He's learned to soothe himself to sleep, he just doesn't always stay asleep. It was brought to our attention that many children on the Autism spectrum have sleep issues and disturbances. So given the circumstances, I think Ben is doing pretty well. Mom & Dad, on the other hand are exhausted after nights like the one pictured above. I'll never forget when I had the insane notion that I wanted to have a third baby. Joe was ready to have me committed. He said, "Are you CRAZY? Aren't you tired? I'm tired! I just want sleep!" He was right. What the hell was I thinking? That was the end of any thoughts of having another baby. We are happy & complete, though exhausted with the two we have.
This is just part of the reason that parents are so exhausted.