I always pictured myself cosleeping with my child. And we did for about 10 months. There was a lot of good. I didn’t have to get up to nurse and sometimes could even sleep while he was eating. There were oh so many snuggles. But the downsides of not being able to snuggle or have sex with my husband, having him wake whenever I got out of bed or be unable to go to bed on his own were hard. Eventually, I broke. It had been weeks of us struggling to get him to sleep at a reasonable hour, that also allowed us to have some time together at night. He would cry so hard in our arms while we rocked and soothed and walked. He would struggle to get free. How was this any different than the cry it out method? He was just as upset, and to make matters worse, after getting him to sleep he would generally wake up 40 minutes later to be up until we went to bed. This wasn’t good for anybody.
A friend had given us a sleep book, and we decided to go for it. I was super skeptical. The first night he cried for 40 minutes with my husband sitting right next to him, and then he woke up a couple of times during the night, one of which he cried for another 40 minutes. By night 3 he was asleep within 5 minutes, after a couple of whimpers. And he stayed asleep for 3+ hours. Wait, what? Is this actually possible? It hasn’t been smooth sailing. We’ve had a disastrous night of him awake every hour. Although my husband was up with him, and I slept pretty much through it all 🙂 But overall, I feel this setup is much better for our family.
The ability to be flexible and not dogmatic about how it’s supposed to be is so important for life, not only parenthood. Being able to continuously evaluate what’s working and what’s not allows you to make adjustments and find better ways of doing things. This will only work if you’re willing to look at your surroundings with open eyes. Focus on the facts of things and try and keep your feelings out of it. If I had continued to stick with my feelings of wanting to cosleep, we’d still be fighting with Coen for an hour, so he could sleep for 40 minutes and be up again. The facts were, the bedtime arrangement wasn’t working anymore and it was time to change.
Insanity is doing the same fucking shit over and over again and expecting a change. And we do this all the time. With our health, our relationships, our career. You want change, take a good hard look at your habits and find where you can do something different. Only then will you get a different result.
Update: I wrote this original post on February 24th. Since then we have regressed. We took a trip and weren’t able to keep up with the program we were on and it’s been hard to get back on a schedule. I’ve now realized that it doesn’t have to look a certain way. Just because the book says he should be able to go all night without eating and sleep for 12 hours, doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. Finding our groove and what’s working best for us is the most important thing.
For example. Last night, Coen went down on his own and slept for just over 4 hours. I was able to soothe him back to sleep in his crib, where he slept soundly until 4am. It was then that we ha a choice. Try to get him back to sleep, or feed him and bring him into bed. We chose the latter. We all slept again until just before 7am.
That to me is success. No, it doesn’t look identical to the plan. But it allowed us to pivot into something better. Allow yourself the option to pivot towards a different outcome. Getting hung up on how it should be, rather than how it is will only lead to frustration. This relates to all things in your life. Where can you pivot towards a better option rather than the what you expected? Let me know!