I could also title this post Pros and Cons of Co-Sleeping.
The biggest con?
My baby at 14 weeks is nowhere near sleeping through the night.
P.S. Sleeping through the night is defined as 5 straight hours. Yeah, I know! We're not even talking 8 hours here people, just 5 hours!
My jaw drops to the floor when I read that some of your 2 and 3 month olds are sleeping 8 hours at night.
THAT IS BEYOND AMAZING TO ME.
I'm lucky if I get 3 hours in a row these days...baby thinks he is ALWAYS hungry at night.
I know I'm not getting great long stretches of sleep because the baby is next to me and can smell my milk and sometimes just wants to SNACK every 2 hours...
But I'm not a zombie.
The biggest pro to co-sleeping is that me and baby stay laying in bed all night long. Sidelying nursing is my savior as I don't get up at all unless it's to pee or we have a massive blowout that needs tending to. This is HUGE to me and means the difference between a well rested mama and a sleep deprived crazy lady.
In the midst of the fallout from the dairy allergy before we knew we had a dairy allergy an extra side effect was that sidelying wasn't working for us anymore because EVERY single time I would try to feed him in bed he would spitup HUGE amounts all over both of us and we'd end up having to change both our clothes. This means that before we uncovered the dairy thing we were physically getting up and into a seated position EVERY 2 HOURS ALL NIGHT LONG.
It added to the hell that was my life a few weeks ago.
But now, even though baby doesn't sleep for long stretches, I still feel like I'm getting a pretty good amount of sleep.
Our nights look something like this:
I Moby the baby when he looks tired until bedtime, so he's usually sleeping from about 7-8pm onward. Then between 9-10pm we go to bed (just me and baby usually, hubs comes to bed later) sleep great, amazing and wonderful AND STILL until 1-2am...and then it's feeding every 1.5-2 hours for snacks the rest of the night. I hardly even wake up for these, just make sure the boob is out and that baby can get to it and back to sleep I go. THEN THE GRUNTING AND KICKING AT 4:30am starts...oh yes...there's still grunting. He continues the grunting and kicking and wiggling until he finally wakes up between 7-8am and the husband takes him downstairs for the morning baby shift and I sleep in for an extra hour.
I know I'm not getting great long stretches of sleep because the baby is next to me and can smell my milk...
But the fact that I barely have to wake up to feed him means I'm not a zombie during the day and don't even feel the need to nap most days.
For now this is working for us. And while I long for a full night of sleep, the fact of the matter is that I've been sleeping like this for more than a year now as while pregnant I was up at least every 2-3 hours to pee. The amount of wakefulness required to feed the baby while lying in bed is about the same amount required to get up and pee and it means it's very easy to fall back to sleep after the middle of the night feedings...mostly because I don't actually get up!
Ideally I would like to put baby in his crib at 7pm, go get him at 9-10pm whenever I go to bed, keep him in bed with me until he starts grunting at 4am and then put him back in his crib until he gets up at 7-8am. But honestly I still can't figure out how to get the baby down without me laying next to him for any length of time.
Sad but true...baby only sleeps alone for morning naps...the rest of the time he's on or next to me.
All our other sleeping issues aside the other huge pro to the co-sleeping and the frequent feeds continuing through the night is that I can expect my period and ovulation to stay away for longer. I've heard many of you out there complaining about your periods making unexpected early appearances as soon as baby begins sleeping through the night...I shudder at the thought!
The fact is that I NEED any ovulation that may happen to continue to be suppressed for as long as possible because otherwise WE HAVE TO START TTC AGAIN. I have no idea how long I will ovulate if ovulation starts again on it's own and if we didn't TTC and then ovulation stopped again like last time I WOULD NEVER FORGIVE MYSELF FOR THE WASTED OPPORTUNITY.
Bottom line is I am in no position to be thinking about #2 and thus frequent nursing sessions all day AND all night help keep me suppressed which means we will continue to co-sleep for as long as I'm happy with the quality of sleep and the suppressed ovulation.
It's entirely possible that I am creating a terrible situation in which my baby will never learn to sleep in his crib but for now it works and I'm not messing with it.
I still have hope that one day baby will sleep longer than 4 hours but I'm learning that it's rare for a baby that co-sleeps to sleep through the night because of the aforementioned smell of milk. Anyone out there co-sleeping AND have a baby that sleeps through the night?