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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Let's talk about SLEEP, baby!

O bed! O bed! delicious bed!
That heaven upon earth to the weary head.
~Thomas Hood, Miss Kilmansegg - Her Dream
Ah, yes. Bed. Is there any more treasured place of solace for a mama to little ones? It really is a heaven on earth to those who are "on call" all day, every day. But when we these little ones make their grand entrances, the Mommies and Daddies often have a dilema about where the babes will sleep (when they do sleep, if they do sleep . . .).
Before D was born, I was very solidly in the sort of "mainstream" camp that says babies should sleep in their own bed (crib or bassinette) so Mommy and Daddy can keep their bed special and privated. I just swore up and down that our "marriage bed" would not be invaded by our children. I held fast to this belief all throughout my pregnancy, only begrudgingly allowing my in-laws to buy a bassinette for D to sleep in our room.
Okay, so fast-forward to our first night in the hospital after she was born. D was born at 5:43 in the morning and I finally came out of OR recovery about 7:45 or 8. Our hospital is all about rooming in, so she had been in my arms or right beside me in her hospital bassinette all day. I shoo'ed everyone out of the room for the night. It was just D, me, and the nurses. I tried and tried to let her sleep in that hospital bassinette. I just knew that was the "right thing" to do. But I tell - I felt a physical ache over her being even 2 feet from me! Finally in the middle of the night, I pulled her into bed with me and discovered the joys of shared sleep.
Over the next few weeks, I constantly beat myself up because our lovely bassinette was getting no use at all (except as a diaper holder - disposables back in those days). BUT, D was content to sleep between her daddy and me and Kyle loved it, too. We never felt she had invaded our bed -- quite the contrary, it seemed as if that is exactly where she should be. Since we found it to be really very natural and very right for us, we went with it until she was about 6 months old, when it became very obvious to us that she wasn't sleeping well in our bed anymore. From there, we moved into a time where she would start out the night in her crib, then join us in bed anywhere from 2 to 4 in the morning and wake up with us. Oh, what treasured times! It is such a DELIGHT to wake up to the smiling face of your precious love. We continued with that sleep situation until just very recently when she started sleeping through the night.
It's nice. I miss her at night, but I know she is getting great sleep in her crib and is confident and secure in knowing that we are there for her if she needs us. It's also nice to not share your bed with a windmill. :)
Now that I have shared our story about sleep decisions, I would LOVE to hear ya'll's thoughts on babies and sleep. Where did your babies sleep? How did you come to that decision? Do you/did you feel at peace with that? Did you/will you do things differently with future children?
*** this post is brought to you courtesy of Sesame Street, that lovely, lovely program that has been both entertaining and educating D for the past 15 minutes so I could write!