Monday, January 23, 2012
Considering A Sleep Experiment
We are cosleepers and happily so. I walk the line between thinking about it logically and emotionally every day. I have friends who've had infants, mostly newborns, die in bed with them. Most but not all of them blame it on cosleeping. I have friends who are quite convinced their children wouldn't have made it to their first birthdays if they had not coslept. I have a living son and a dead daughter.
My son arrived with his own mind, just like every other living child. For a couple weeks, nursing to sleep and then being moved to his carseat worked several times a day, even if it took a few tries. But it gradually took more and more attempts each time. It began to stress him, he stopped sleeping as well no matter where he was. He began to cling to me even in sleep. And finally, I made the decision to stop trying to force him to sleep separately. I didn't do it in the heat of an exhausted, middle of the night moment, but in the cold light of day. I made it with my mind thinking over every possible situation.
The relief was nearly immediate. He relaxed and began sleeping with arms stretched wide, hands open. He started sleeping for longer and longer periods of time. So did I. So did Hubs. We where all happier and more rested. But the idea that LM is a fragile, tiny child has never left my mind.
He soon started sleeping through the night, sometimes up to twelve hours a night (though our "night" begins around 11pm-2am). Sometimes it's only six hours, very rarely even less. And we roll with it. But now, as I usually have to be laying next to him or holding for him to nap during the day, I wonder if maybe this could be changed. He still has what seem to be unusually short sleep cycles and tends to be a light sleeper except during the over-night stretch. Noise or silence don't seem to make much differences. He's approaching five months old. He may or may not be ready to nap alone. If not, well, then I'm fine with it. But if he is and I just don't know it, well....
It must be a gentle change though. No tears, no stress. So I'm thinking of an experiment. Trying to slip away every single time he falls asleep but returning as soon as he wakes and needs me. Trying to return to bed to sleep myself while he's already sleeping. And seeing if begins to work more often. Seeing if he adjusts or if it stresses him out.
Disclaimer- the picture above depicts LM napping during the day under my supervision, not in a night-time sleeping situation. This is why you see pillows, a sheet, book, corner of laptop etc.