New Mama Musings

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Henry Sleeps Like a Baby

When you have a baby the one thing people ask is: "How is he sleeping?"

I'm always tempted to reply, "Like a baby," because if you have any experience with infants you know that means not so good, and if you don't then you walk away thinking everything's just grand.

But I'll be straight with you: not so good.

At night I lie down with Henry sometime between 7:30 and 8:30pm. He fusses, crawls all over the bed and me, nurses off and on, sucks his thumb off and on, and finally falls asleep after about half an hour. I generally turn the TV on (sound off and closed-captioning on) at that point and watch until I decide it's late enough for a 35-year old to turn in or until Henry starts to fuss, at which point I immediately turn the TV off and pretend like I was sleeping the entire time, honest.

After that Henry wakes up roughly every two hours or so and nurses. He also cries out in his sleep, or moans, or otherwise fusses, which I may or may not need to respond to with more than a "shh, shh, sweetie."

Then he wakes up for good at around 7am.

Naptime used to mean my lying with him also, but since his first cold a few months ago -- which required him to stay upright -- I've been putting him in his Kozy mei tai to sleep.

He usually falls asleep within ten minutes or so, which enables me to sit at the computer and surf the internet. I can't type more than a few words, though, or he'll wake up. For some reason clicking the mouse is okay.

By the way, this is our current sleeping set-up:

I never thought my bedroom would look like this, and it's a bit embarrassing to post a photo of it, but I figured someday when my bedroom is Martha Stewart perfect (minus the felony conviction) I'll want a reminder of what we went through in order to catch some z's.

You'll notice that our queen-sized mattress is on the floor and the extra twin bed we bought is still raised up on a bedframe and boxspring. Henry and I sleep in the queen and my poor six-foot-three-inch husband is relegated to the twin.

Could someone tell me again how as parents, you don't join your child's life, they join yours? Because I don't think Henry got the memo.


  • Hahahaha! I found your blog through MDC and I just had to comment. We put our old mattress on our son's floor since he hates the crib and even though it works great for us I'm always embarressed when people come over and see it. It just looks soo.....junky, ya know? Oh well, it gets us more sleep.

    By Anonymous Jenn, at 9:28 PM  

  • Kay, I love it. When I move soon, my mattress is going to be on the floor, FINALLY. And when anyone sees it, I am going to be so so proud to tell them why; I haven't been able to co-sleep for years, I'm just bursting with excitement and envious of everyone who does "get to" despite the difficulties.... So cute!

    By Anonymous allie, at 7:10 PM  

  • I think Henry and M are twins separated at birth. All except for the thrashing around and moaning while sleeping (that went away when the gas did, thank god). I am so tired of being a human jungle gym. We are living twin lives ...

    By Anonymous Shasta, at 3:16 PM  

  • Henry needs his own crib and sleeping space.
    There is no way he is ever going to sleep through the night and be able to feel safe in his own space if you dont allow him to experience sleeping by himself.
    It may be hard the first few nights, maybe even a week, but Henry will feel more secure and safe knowing you are there, but he is still ok in his own space. developmentally kids need that. They need you to teach them how to be safe when in their own space. THats why we are the grow ups, we are there to teach them, if they were able to tell us what to do, and we were to listen, they would never learn from us what they need in order to develope. Also for your marraige and Henry's future, you and your husband need to be in the same bed. It seems to me that your child never sleeps alone?
    I know it is hard, and every mother has their own way of doing things, but eventually henry will have to learn to sleep by himslef in order to develope a sense of capability and inner strength.
    If you dont mind it, fine, but Henry might need it.
    Allie's comment disturbed me a little she commented by saying " I haven't been able to co-sleep for years, I'm just bursting with excitement and envious of everyone who does "get to" despite the difficulties.... So cute! "
    Co-sleeping is often not for the baby, but for the parents as allie seems to be stating. Its about a mothers need, not the babies.
    I understand that it can be hard and I dont expect anyone to change their life because of this comment, I just thought I would give you a differant side of things.
    I have helped raise and nuture children, from infants to toddlers to teenagers, by nannying and consulting through an agency and privatly. I have over a decades worth of experience and thought you might be interested. If not, thats fine too. Your sone is adorable and I can understand why you would want to calm him and hold him every second, I just question for how long and at what cost. Love your blog, if youdont mind, I would like to view it again, if you do mind, thats ok too.
    Great photos.

    Nanny Louise

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:07 AM  

  • Nanny Louise, I have to respectfully disagree that Henry needs to learn to sleep on his own or he never will. I think that's a very American idea (independence being the ultimate ideal) and not consistent with attachment parenting, which I practice. My feeling is that babies need a secure, attached foundation from which to build their confidence.

    I was a nanny for ten years before becoming a SAHM, as well as a stepmom, a babysitter and an involved aunt. Before having Henry I felt quite that sure that *I* would be in charge of any children I had, that they would sleep in their own bed when I told them to, even if they had to cry it out. I see from your blog that you're not a mom yet -- things change when you become a parent.

    Of course you're welcome to continue reading and commenting -- I hope you do!

    By Blogger New Mama, at 5:20 PM  

  • Through the ages all mammals have slept with their parents. Can you imagine taking a litter of kittens away from their momma?

    It's only within the last few hundred years that this whole independence crap has been forced down mothers throats. Just a blip in time, really.

    Enjoy your family bed, mama :)

    By Blogger Christine, at 6:04 PM  

  • Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog, I'm a fellow MDC member. ;)

    I need to take a picture of our bedroom, it is hilarious, a king, a queen, a twin, and we are going to soon add another twin. :p

    Perhaps Henry's having too *much* time in bed? I get that way when I try to sleep too much -- tossing and turning and just in general not sleeping well. Do you think maybe his body's not *ready* to go to bed at 7:30?

    He may also be a light sleeper, in which case maybe he does need some time alone. (If he keeps waking up on schedule or is upset by it, you'll know it's not the answer obviously.) Have you tried white noise?

    I hold my daughter too as she naps (she's 18 months.) I don't mind, it's a time for me to relax too (which to be honest I NEED) and we both love that physical connection. There is nothing like holding a sleeping baby, and having her wake up to your face, smiling. :)

    I know, it can be inconvenient, but I think these demands that infants and children make on our time are there for a reason -- they facilitate bonding and encourage us to slow down, which is healthier.

    Here's more of my take on co-sleeping:

    including why I think it's absurd to assume that people will never be able to sleep alone unless they sleep alone as infants. ;)

    By Anonymous Linda, at 6:17 PM  

  • I love your set up, we need to do that. We have a king size bed that all three of us (soon to be 4) snuggle in together. I'm planning on putting a twin next to it for our dd.

    Babies co-sleep because it's good for them. If it wasn't then it wouldn't be "hard" for the first week to get them in a crib.

    By Anonymous Kathryn, at 6:37 PM  

  • Love the blog!
    Your life is so much like mine. My sweet son is one and pretty much same routine. He naps for 2 hours a day, nice solid nap. Goes to bed at 8pm and then wakes up every 1.5-2hrs nurses, fusses, back to sleep. Of course also co-sleeping with me and my very patient and wonderful husband.
    How long do you think you can continue this way? I'm not sure how much longer I'll keep going...I'm starting to consider the suggestions on Dr. Jay Gordon's site - I've tried all of NCSS already!
    Well I wish you the best! Its nice to hear there are others living this life!

    By Anonymous Lara, at 8:02 PM  

  • Well, as a momma to an almost 13 yr old and a 3 yr old, I can PROMISE you that your son will sleep - even without you eventually - when he is ready. Co-sleeping is the best thing for most children - most babes are meant to sleep with their mommas. After all, we carry them inside of us for 9 months - to shut them off in a cold crib alone in a dark room with no one around... well, that even SOUNDS wrong, never mind how it feels!
    I co-slept with my older son until he was 4, then he slept in his own room by himself until he was 10, when an emotional crisis and safety issues brought him back into my room. He currently sleeps in his own bed, in my room and occasionally sleeps in my bed with his brother and I (not often, cause there simply isn't enough room!). I am certainly NOT going to refuse him this small comfort during the tumultuous time of adolesence (and he is developing his independence just fine, trust me!).
    My three year old has slept with me since birth and he manages to fall asleep just fine at daycare. He is brilliantly independant and beautifully developed - both physically and emotionally. He has NEVER been left to "cry it out" - the studies have proven that allowing a child to CIO can cause brain trauma - something that seems very logical to me!
    As a previous poster noted, there are soooo many things you "know" you will never do or "know" you WILL do or "know" your children will or won't do *before* you actually HAVE your own children... things that get blown so far out of the water when you are actually a parent.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:04 PM  

  • If babies were meant to sleep alone in a crib, then breasts would be detachable. Mine are firmly planted on my chest, so I'm quite positive my son benefits from being near me for immediate nutrition and comfort, which is so important for a growing child.

    My husband and I are a little cramped with our son in the bed, but we know it will only last a short time and these early years need to be cherished.

    Enjoy your family bed! Ours is set up like that. We have a queen size mattress and a toddler/crib mattress next to it, all on the floor. The original plan was for our son to sleep on the crib mattress, but more often than not, *I* end up on it!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:17 PM  

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