In the hospital, our daughter was quiet. She whined a little bit and cried when we would lie her down to change her, but other than that she mostly liked to be cuddled up to my husband and I, skin to skin, catching some major Zs.
Once we got her home, we noticed a change in her personality.
She was fussy. She didn’t like the bassinet we had in the room, because, as we would discover later, she didn’t like lying flat on her back. She didn’t like a lot of the little gadgets and gear we had gotten in hopes of her getting a good night’s sleep (and a nice sleep for my husband and I as well.)
Instead of the typical bassinet that she would grow out of in just a few months, we went with a playpen with the bassinet and change table attachment on top. Not only did she not like the bassinet, but she also didn’t like the changing table. We ended up having to bring her into the nursery to use the larger changing table.
Of the things she did like, she liked this Fisher Price rocking chair thingy. I couldn’t tell you exactly what it is called because my brother handed it down to us. It has a base that is supposed to move the seat back and forth, but when we got it, the base didn’t work. However, the legs on the seat itself when you take it off the base are like little rocking chair legs, and she liked the way her body sunk into the seat and how her own movements could make the seat move.
Our thought for bedtime was to remove the bassinet and changing table attachments from the playpen and just sit that little chair in there. That way she was up where I could see her from the bed (and my dog wouldn’t fuss with her being on the floor), and she was secure in the frame of the playpen.
Genius! Or at least I thought.
Nope. As it so happens, the chair was all fine and good during the day, but absolutely unacceptable for bedtime.
She would lie in there for a few minutes before she would wake up and cry. Okay…
Now, all the articles and doctors will tell you that co-sleeping with your baby is dangerous. It increases the risk of SIDS and really should just be avoided all around. Trust me, I have read all the articles, I understand the risk and trauma of rolling over onto your new baby or having your baby tangled up in the sheets. When I was pregnant, I read through those articles and thought to myself ‘What in the world are these people thinking? Just have your baby in a bassinet beside your bed.’
When you actually become a parent, you realize just how ridiculous it is to think things are that simple.
When you are running on empty, and all you want is a mere thirty minutes of uninterrupted sleep, you will put your baby on your chest the way you know they like and doze off completely, forgetting all about those articles.
I am an extremely light sleeper, always have been. I used to wake up when my dog would wake up and move around the room before I was pregnant. Every little coo or deep breath my daughter takes I am aware of, even if I am sleeping. I am also the kind of person who has always slept on my back and doesn’t toss and turn. So the idea of letting her sleep on my chest for an hour while I caught a little bit of shut eye was not even something I thought of as dangerous.
It just made sense.
Over the past eleven days of having my daughter at home, I have noticed things that make her sleep routine easier.
My daughter does not like to wear anything but a diaper when she sleeps. It’s important to test the waters with a new baby, especially when it comes to their sleeping attire. So long as you keep your room a comfortable temperature for baby, there is no reason why they have to wear clothes to bed. If my daughter has so much as socks on her feet when she goes to bed, she will fuss until she gets them off.
My daughter can’t sleep in silence. I think we forget just how noisy it is for babies inside the womb. We assume they will want quiet when they sleep, but in our tummies they hear the constant beating of our hearts, every breath we take, not to mention some of the noises from out in the world are amplified for them in there. They have spent nine months with this constant soundtrack of sound, if you strip away all the noise for them on that first night home, it will be hard for them to settle.
My daughter can’t sleep in complete darkness. I am the kind of person that liked the room pitch black, black out blinds and silence (unless I was listening to my rainstorm sleep sounds). The first night we brought our daughter home, I crawled into bed in the dark and revelled in the silence after spending the past few days in the hospital with no sleep. My daughter however, was not as comfortable as me. She was up constantly, whining and searching for us. The womb is not completely dark either, so most babies do like a small amount of light while they sleep. We decided to go for some dim string lights behind the frame of our bed so it wasn’t so bright for mom and dad but was enough to make our daughter feel comfortable.
My daughter craves skin to skin. Skin to skin is so important to build a bond between you and baby in the first few months they are here. My daughter would curl into my husband and I at the hospital like a cat in the sun and go right to sleep. When she is being overly fussy at night, I take my shirt off and lay her on my chest and she is asleep in mere moments. I noticed she couldn’t initially fall asleep at bedtime without some cuddling. For now, this is okay, but it is something I am going to have to ween her off of as she gets older.
There is no spot in our whole house my daughter loves more than our bed. It has been 11 days since we took her home from the hospital and we have had just as many nights to try and find what works best for her and for us. At the end of the day, there is no spot that puts her to sleep more soundly, than a spot on our bed.
Look, I am not a doctor. I am not telling any new moms out there to co-sleep with their babies. I know the risks, trust me, I do! I am merely being honest with you guys and telling you what works for us.
Regardless of what you decide is best for you, it is going to take some trial and error. If you do decide to co-sleep, make sure to give you baby enough space away from you to be sure you don’t accidentally roll onto your bundle of joy. Also, remove all the blankets from around baby (this above photo was taken before I did all of that). If you have the space on your bed, co-sleeping could work. If you are still too nervous, than maybe you will be successful where I wasn’t.
Good luck either way!
Feel free to get in touch with me and let me know how you are doing with your new baby!