After my first son was born, I envisioned putting him in a bassinet in my room and he would peacefully remain asleep. I expected night waking, but I assumed I would just feed and put him straight back down. Then eventually, I'd move him into a cot which he would sleep 12 hours a night.
Not even close.
That bubble was shattered almost instantly when I realised you don't just put a baby down. The minute they realise you're not still holding them, they wake up.
I had no idea about co sleeping. All I knew was it was "extremely dangerous" and I would end up smothering my baby, or so the news would report.
But I had to find an alternative, sitting up at 2am feeding for an hour, looking at facebook just so I wouldn't fall asleep holding my baby, was one sure fire way to induce severe sleep deprivation. Not to mention the times I feel asleep in the chair. That scared me.
My nana suggested I feed him laying down, so if I fell asleep atleast I couldn't drop him. She's crazy, I thought. I'll kill my baby doing that!
Then I researched bad sharing and how to do it safely. Then I tried it. I sleep. My baby slept. OH MY. Why doesn't everyone do this!
Don't get me wrong, he still woke up 2-3 times a night, but the difference was, I would latch him onto my breast and go right back to sleep.
Fast forward 6 months, the comments "does he sleep through the night?", "He should be self soothing", "He's using you as a dummy" crept in. And so did self doubt.
Maybe they're right, maybe I'm teaching him a bad habit. What if he never learns to self soothe. What if he never sleeps through the night.
I then became obsessed with teaching him how to fall asleep without my breast. I tried heaps of different "calm", "no-cry" sleep training. None of it worked.
So I gave up and continued to co-sleep, but couldn't help compare my child to friend's children, who were all sleeping through. Maybe I really had screwed up by starting this habit.
Then he turned 2, and I was expecting my second baby. So, I decided to wean once and for all. That meant sleep training, the tough way, the method I was avoiding this whole time - controlled crying. My last resort.
So after about a week of tough love, constant night wakings, tears, late night cuddles, he finally started sleeping through.
Oh My God, I've done it. I should have done this earlier.
Yep, but no one tells you that preschoolers still wake frequently (or that they have night terrors and bad dreams). He slept through for about a month, then started waking randomly through the night. Sometimes once a night, sometimes four times a night.
This was tough, especially when I had a newborn. All night I was going between Zander's room and my bedroom to sooth Corbin.
I was a mess. But I was determined that he needed to stay in his own room, and he needed to sleep 12 hours a night.
This constantly night time battle continued on, until one night 5 months ago I decided, screw it. I'm going back to co-sleeping.
Crazy right. I went through so much effort to make sure my child was self soothing, sleeping through, and was his own room, only to turn around and go back to the start.
But I don't regret it.
I've given up on this notion that babies and young children need to be independent and should sleep in their own room by themselves. I've embraced the fact he still needs me at night, despite being four and off to school next year.
We now have a family bed. Our Queen bed with a single bed pushed together. We all sleep together, my husband, Corbin, Zander and I.
It means I don't have to get out of bed in winter when he wakes.
It means if he wakes up scared, I'm right there, and he will go back to sleep with a pat on the back.
It means I don't have alot of space at night, but I also get to sleep in between the two cutest little guys around.
It also means there are some early mornings, especially when one child wakes up first and decides everyone else needs to be awake also *yeah 4:30am sucks*
But it's fine. They will only be in our bed for such a short time. I only know of one boy that's slept in his mother's bed until the age of 11. (LOL sorry Bro).
In hindsight, I wouldn't bother sleep training again. I would ignore all comments and stop doubting myself as a mother. Do what is right for YOU.
ABA bedsharing guide
Pinky McKay - Bedsharing Myths
Dr Sears Co Sleeping Safely