It is 4.30am. I have been wide awake for a good 2 hours now. That damn teh-c I inhaled at 5pm was potent, damnit. I’m lying in the dark typing out this entry on my phone while Elliott is in his crib. I can hear his cute gentle snores while the husband snores beside me. Not very cute, that one.
And yes, Elliott sleeps in his own crib at the foot of our bed. It wasn’t always the case though.
When we first got home from the hospital, we placed him in his crib. Of course we did. Have you not seen pictures of sleeping babies looking ok-so-cute and snoozing peacefully in their cribs? Well. Real life is a bit different. A LOT DIFFERENT, if I may add.
To put it simply, Elliott did not like being in the crib. Place him in it and he’d wail. When you’re a new parent and your tiny newborn cries in that little frantic voice, you rush over and pick him up quickly to soothe him. At least that was what I did. Coupled with sleep deprivation, I decided that it was probably better for everyone’s sanity (and sleep quality) that we co-sleep.
This means having tiny Elliott sleep between the husband and I on our Queen-sized bed. My memory is a bit hazy now but I do remember it being very convenient to do the night feeds. The moment he stirred or made the slightest noise, I’d reach out, scoop him into my arms and nurse him. I did not need to get out of bed and more often than not, I’d fall right back to sleep once he was done. If he fussed in the middle of the night, I simply reached out and placed my right palm on his chest to soothe him. For the record, I don’t move much when I sleep and was extremely conscious of the fact that MY TINY BABY IS INCHES FROM MY LEFT ARM. As such, I never did feel stressed that he was on the same bed as us despite tons of literature on the Internet saying that one should never co-sleep because you’d end up rolling over your baby, etc. In fact, I slept very well once the routine was established because I felt assured and safe that my baby was right within reach.
Unfortunately, the husband did not share my sentiments. He would sleep in an awkward manner, i.e. right arm stretched out over his head to prevent him from rolling over baby. After weeks of co-sleeping, he started to suffer from mind-numbing headaches. It got so bad, he had to head to the doctor for painkillers. And the advice given? He was not getting enough quality sleep, hence the blinding headaches. Oops.
I took this picture during one of the night feeds.
When he first broached the subject that perhaps we should put Elliott back into his crib, I was hesitant. I was used to the convenience of having him close to me. Putting him in his crib meant that I had to physically get out of bed, walk to his crib, pick him up, walk back to the bed, nurse him, walk back to the crib, place him back down. Phew. It sounded like a lot of effort for 4am in the morning.
However, for the sake of the husband’s health, I felt that I needed to at least try. Besides, the crib was fast becoming a white elephant, sitting forlornly at the edge of our bed.
The first night we tried, Elliott was ok, generally. By then, he was older (probably about 3 months). Oddly enough, I was the one who slept badly! I was the nervous mother, wondering how my poor baby was coping being all alone in his crib. I tossed and turned, and listened hard for any signs of distress. For the first few nights, he did end up on our bed a couple of times when he couldn’t settle down to sleep and I was too exhausted. Thankfully, we soon settled into a routine and I also got used to walking to his crib (groggily) to pick him up for the night feeds.
The bed feels more spacious now that he isn’t co-sleeping with us. I am also a light sleeper so at the slightest cry, I am up and at his crib side. At 4am, it warms my (sleepy) heart to look in and to see him looking up at me with large alert eyes (at 4am!!), as if to say: “I knew you’d come to pick me up for milk, mummy.” Moments like that keep me going.
It is now 5.30am. A full hour has passed since I started on this entry. I am still wide awake. What was in that cup of teh-c?! Elliott’s last feed was at 2.30am. This means that even if I manage to fall asleep, I will be up again very soon at about 6.30am for his next feed. Pffft.
Oh wait. I just heard him stir. There goes sleep.