I posted a picture of my baby son sleeping on my bed on my Instagram page (pop over and follow me if you like) and also his unmade cot in my first Project 365 weekly update. Sleep’s been on my mind a lot lately.
I’ve always co-slept with my babies, it was easier with breastfeeding and meant I could sleep as much as possible in between. But with the other three, they were always, and quite naturally, ‘off the boob’ by six months and in their own rooms (because by then they were sleeping through).
Except Baby J has decided he’s not doing things the way his siblings did!
Crafty cot avoider
When he was born, we set up a BabyBay bed next to our bed so we could cosleep and he could get used to a cot. It cost around £300 to set up and he slept in it… erm… for a few hours in total! Still preferring to sleep snuggled up to me.
I think the change of plan started because Baby J had reflux, so lying flat, even on a flat slope, was uncomfortable for him. So he slept propped on the crook of my arm. Even now, his reflux is better (thanks to osteopathy) but he’ll naturally prefer a softer bed to sleep on.
By six months he’d outgrown the Babybay (not that he’d been in it to see if he’d outgrown it!), so it went in the loft and we bought a cot, costing around £200 to set up. It’s next to our bed and while he’s had the occasional daytime nap in it, he won’t go in it at night and has now grown accustomed to ‘my side’ of our bed. Put him on there and he’ll snuggle down in minutes; in his own cot, he’s standing up and screaming like he’s being abandoned!
I put him in the cot if I’m in the shower or need to do something without him crawling around my feet, but he generally will only play for five or ten minutes at a time before wanting Mummy again and then stands in it and cries… loudly.
So, now he’s almost 11 months old and I regarded the cot (unmade as what’s the point) and wondered how it’ll be when I finally get him into his own room. Its main use now is as a bed guard to stop him falling out!
We have a three-bed semi and in a month or so we’re building an extension over our garage conversion to make two extra bedrooms. Boy J, who’s 7, will move out of the box room into a slightly larger room in the extension and Baby J will have his bedroom, the fifth bedroom will actually be a storage room for clothes and laundry! So there’s no point moving Baby J anywhere until the bedrooms are done, which will be a few months yet, and by then he’ll be over one year old!
Booby is best… isn’t it?
But then, as my fourth – and last – baby (I think, no, I’m sure, or perhaps, no! it’s definitely the last, oh dear), I wonder if I’ve become ‘one of those mums’ who is breastfeeding her baby or keeping him close because he is the last and I’m the one wanting to keep him a baby forever… gah, I hope not! Yet, I’m not beating myself up about it. My daughter died and our life – particularly at bedtime – is difficult, my rainbow baby was sent to give me hope and joy so I shouldn’t be worrying about spoiling him… or should I? In my day (of having my first) it was all Gina Ford and strict routines – which I hated even then.
By giving my all to my baby, my hubby misses out as breastfeeds and bedsharing do not leave any time or energy for anything more romantic than ‘can you move over a bit’… and that’s not good long term. But then this is only baby’s first year, and I know he won’t be a baby forever.
Baby J is demanding and is going through a clingy faze, but then he’s been attached to me pretty much all his life so far. We need each other. But I do believe that the more love you give the less likely they are to be insecure growing up (attachment parenting I think it’s called). I distinctly notice a difference with my second child (Girl J) who I took a while to bond with due to having PND, the more she clung the more I pushed her away, and she subsequently suffers with separation anxiety. I feel guilty about that every day.
I have had a lot of comments about my longer term breastfeeding though – when I say I’m still feeding him I get sympathetic looks as though ‘poor love she still needs to baby him’. And yes, perhaps I do, but also he loves his ‘booby’ and even sleeps with his hand on my chest to make sure it’s always close. I don’t see how I can tear him away from that before he’d ready.
Baby steps to a happy us
He has started going to the childminder two days in a row, and while I’ve dropped the day feeds so he can be apart from me for most of the day, I still breastfeed him morning, teatime and evening. I’ve tried him with about ten different bottles and formula milk, and he won’t drink it at all. He has sips of water during the day, but he’s put on weight and is doing well so I’m not concerned he’s not getting enough milk.
I fretted about giving up breastfeeding a few months ago in this post, and had some great support from the blogging community, and now we’re so settled into it that I guess it’s just become second-nature (well, after all, that’s what it should be!). So, I’m aiming to finish breastfeeding when he’s one (February) and then he can have organic cow’s milk (which he does like in his cereal).
Thing is, breastfeeding (now) is so convenient. I’ve been out many times and not had a snack on me or baby J has been bawling tired and thirsty and I just pop him on and he’s happy. I even breastfed him standing in the queue to see Santa at a local attraction (though he’s getting a bit heavy for that now).
After a full day of no boob he literally squeals with delight when I sit down with him at teatime and I totally love connecting with him this way. I know it’ll come together and this time next year he’ll have been long in his bed and off the boob, I’ll probably be writing soppy posts about how much I miss it! I also know how life is short and I don’t want to miss a thing. While he needs me to cling to, I’ll just have to be there.
I think I need to try and get him to settle in his cot before then though! What about you? Have you had similar personal battles over cosleeping or breastfeeding? I’d love to know.
I’ve linked up this post with the Breastfeeding Diaries at Zena’s Suitcase. Pop over and see what other mummies have shared this week.