Monday, April 21, 2008

Reflections on Co-sleeping

It has been interesting for me to watch as my baby developed in so many ways from the unique vantage point of co-sleeping, especially coupled with our part-time EC.

I learned that just when things were getting to me at night that a few weeks later things would change. That between 3-6 months he was pretty disturbed from his sleep by his elimination but that around 7 months sleep trumped middle of the night diaper changes.

Or how big developmental changes, like learning how to crawl, would really get him going to such a degree that he would be trying to crawl across the bed in his sleep.

At three months you are entering into the window of developing hand control as I recall. I travelled with my little guy last year around that time so it's kinda fixed in my mind as well about how much he was up and down all night long. That was particularly rough since I was alone, without my partner.

A mom of twins I know, who co-slept through the first 18 months or so, said something that for me really helped me put things in perspective -- that her really bad days were ones when she had lists. She realized that setting her expectations too high for what they could get done in a given day would just set her up for conflict, frustration and aggravation. Better to go with the flow.

I also found that when I would consult my baby advice books about what my baby was supposed to be doing that it often set me up for conflict with my little one as well. It's reasonable to test out certain theories and then back off of course, such as my recent try as dropping one feeding during the night with my 14 MO. While no one said it would be easy I realized that it also was majorly disrupting both of our sleep, and my baby sleeps pretty well other than night nursing, so why mess with that.

For you, there could possibly be other causes that you might rule out such as food sensitivities, physical changes, perhaps medical issues like reflux. But it might just be a passing thing.

Co-sleeping can be a challenge at times, and it doesn't work for everyone -- parents, family or baby. Still, it is such a sweet thing to be able to hold your baby near you at night, to be right there to help comfort them and then to watch as they grow in your arms over so many days and months.