Whoever coined the expression “Slept like a baby” obviously never had a baby. My experience of sleep (or some version of that concept) has changed drastically since welcoming our little love into our lives. Since then, sleep isn’t nearly as long, deep, comfortable or steady as I’ve known it to be. Actually, even before she was born my sleep suffered. Those pregnancy dreams, all those trips to the bathroom, the discomfort and all the worry about the dangers of sleeping in the “right position”.
And then came the baby, who grew into a toddler, who wasn’t a fan of going to sleep at any stage.
It’s not as if it’s been a horrible experience. In terms of ease of adjustment, I feel we’ve been fairly lucky. I believe most parents (I know a couple little people who’ve been brilliant sleepers basically since Day 1) have had similar or worse sleep woes to mine. In fact, I feel like we’ve avoided an incredible amount of stress and unrest by doing what worked best for us. For my family. For my baby. For me.
And let’s not dismiss the value of self-care in this whole parenting scenario.
So what was (and still often is) my saving grace? Co-sleeping. Yep. What you’re told not to do if you live in North America, but is accepted as good parenting practice in many other cultures. What the doctors and nurses didn’t want to see in the hospital when she was born. What gained me an entire wealth of extra sleep and healing, bonding snuggles.
I’m not saying every other mom should co-sleep, and I’m not going to try to convince you of all the reasons why co-sleeping can be a very positive choice for mothers and babies (and daddies, too). We’re all trying a wide variety of methods and ridiculous rituals in the quest for some much-needed rest. What I do want to be realized, though, is that I make the best choices for my family. I know us all best. I know what we need, I know what we can take, and I know what we’re capable of. You know your family best.
I co-sleep. I hope you can accept that as me doing my best by my family. I know you’re trying your hardest here like we all are. These soul-filling mess makers come with too many manuals, and they all tell you to do different things. I’m telling you now, you know best. Follow your mama gut.
And however you handle the sleeping part, I wish you the deepest, most peaceful rest. Morning comes full on for us mamas.