how and why i abandoned attachment parenting at night

The sleeping situation here in Casa Moi has been a near-continuous struggle, with shifts and turns and endless hours of agonizing and fretting (on my part) and a good amount of fussing and demanding "a certain way of doing things" (on his part). 

 When Gabriel was a baby and we were still living in Denver, he slept a lot in his crib and seemed ok with it. When we moved, I didn't have his crib for about 6 months, and during that time, he became fully acclimated to sleeping in my queen-size bed with me. We were in that arrangement until he was about a year old, at which point I had just figured it was going to be a battle to get him back to sleeping on his own, and I had neither the time nor the inclination to fight. So when we moved again, into our own apartment this time, it was just him and me on a twin mattress on the floor. Cramped quarters. 

Eventually I hauled his crib mattress into my room and set it between my bed and the wall, making him a little "sidecar" arrangement in the corner. It took a while (...quite a while) to get him ok with sleeping there, and it required significant amounts of nursing and about three weeks of reassuring him as he screamed for an hour or two each night to get him sleeping through the night. Once he accepted the transition, though, I felt a new sense of freedom. No more babies draping themselves across my neck at night! No more being kicked and prodded. It was glorious. 

Until it wasn't. Not long into our newly accepted sleeping arrangement, Gabriel got sick. Like sickie sickie sick. And he was sick for well over a week. Poor baby would wake up in the middle of the night feeling super yucky, and of course I'd be right there to help him out. Well, that was fine, until he was all better but still waking up constantly at night, climbing all over me, and fusser-fusser-fussing to nurse (and screaming, up to hours at a time, when I would not acquiesce). 

I was exhausted. 

I was also beginning to resent him. He was always touching me...I never had a break. And nursing was starting to hurt. I thought about quitting -- he was 15 months old, for goodness' sake. I thought about some sort of schedule of weaning (only nurse at these times or whatever). I mostly just thought "maybe tonight he'll sleep through and we can get on with this. It's been a couple of weeks...surely he'll adjust soon...I'm too tired to figure it out." 

Well, he never adjusted. And late into the evening one Friday, after he nursed himself to sleep at 9:30 and then woke himself up five seconds later, I snapped. Mama couldn't handle one more second of bedtime hell, of not knowing if or when he would finally pass out, of having a toddler who stayed up until 10 or 11 and left zero margin for grown-up not-mommy time, of having my hopes for a normal bedtime and decent evening and hope of sleep dashed. Nope, I snapped. Pretty sure I even said "I can't do this anymore" out loud. 

I held my son up, looked him in the eye, and told him that it was time for him to start sleeping in his crib. 

And just like that, I abandoned my long-held practice of co-sleeping or bed-sharing or whatever you want to call it, and I plopped him in, sang him songs until he cried himself to sleep, and had the rest of the night all to myself. The next morning, I woke up happy to see my son. It's been fairly smooth sailing ever since. 

I feel like a new woman. 

1 comment:

  1. haha, I love the crib. It truly is so amazing just knowing I can tuck her in and walk away and most likely, I wont have to do anything for her until the morning. I definitely think when they are younger you should absolutely respond to them whenever they need it at night. But at this age they are more than ready to go to bed and know that you'll be there for them in the morning.


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