I never wanted to be a co-sleeper. In fact I was adamant about Eggbert sleeping in a crib. While I am not against co-sleeping in general, in our case, it seemed inappropriate for several reasons. First and foremost, Mystery and I are flailers. We both toss and turn, and have (accidentally, I swear) each awakened the other with a smack across the head more than once. So, we are particularly poor candidates for co-sleeping. In addition, I have a (perhaps irrational) fear that co-sleeping with an infant will lead to co-sleeping with a 10-year-old. Mystery and I like having a little "us" time in bed, and I don't like the idea of being accompanied by even the delicious Eggbert for years and years. Also, I have a friend who lost a six-week-old baby to SIDS, and while I am not completely convinced that co-sleeping is intrinsically a risk factor (the studies suggesting that it is are seriously flawed), I know I'd never forgive myself if something happened while co-sleeping. Finally, we do plan to keep Eggbert in our room for at least the first year, so having her in the bed too seemed a bit much.
That was then.
My plan was simple. I moved her crib right next to the bed, so that when she woke up in the middle of the night, I could pick her up right away, move to the glider (also conveniently placed nearby), feed her, and then lovingly return her to her crib. Putting her down while sleepy, but not asleep, would teach her to put herself to sleep, and ensure us a lifetime of all-adult bed time. Are the moms out there laughing hysterically at my naiveté yet?
Eggbert's plan was also simple. She would cry anytime I put her in the crib alone. Ever. After I fed her into a nice stupor in the glider, she would respond to my slightest movement toward the crib with howls. After several almost completely sleepless nights, I got the brilliant idea of nursing her in bed, so she'd already be lying down on her back, and I could just gently shift her to the crib without waking her. In response, Eggbert developed an exquisite radar system that allows her to detect breaches of the crib perimeter with uncanny precision, leading her to sleep soundly until my hands lowered her within the border, at which point she started awake and began whimpering.
We went back and forth for the first few nights, with her falling asleep in my arms, or later in the bed, but waking the second I put her in the crib. Then it happened. I fell asleep with her in the bed. We got four hours of delicious sleep, but I was absolutely horrified. I confessed to Mystery (who had adjourned to the guest bed prior to this incident in an attempt to both get some sleep, and give me more room in the bed to nurse Eggbert). He promised to check periodically to make sure that we weren't co-sleeping. And it worked. A few times. By worked, I mean that I fell asleep with the Egg in the bed several more times, and a few times he came in and noticed, and put her in the crib, at which point she howled.
I also won a few battles. Once in a while, she fell asleep and stayed asleep for a few hours in the crib. After a while I thought we were making real progress, when she spent over six hours in the crib each night.
Then we went to the US. In Korea, we can keep our tiny apartment at about 75 degrees F without much effort or expense. However, it would be impossible to raise my parents' house above 70 F without depleting the entire strategic oil reserve. So, the Egg no longer required her uncanny senses to determine that she was alone. The absence of a nearby adult was immediately detectable through a several-degree drop in the local air temperature. No matter how warmly she was dressed, she never slept for more than a couple of hours in the crib that her grandparents had so lovingly provided. I told myself that the (increasingly frequent) co-sleeping was temporary, and that we'd get back on track once we were back in Korea.
Now here we are, and last night she spent four hours in bed with me, and four hours in the crib. Can we call that a tie? I would, except that after a 1:30 am feeding and diaper change, I caught myself putting a sleepy Eggbert back in bed with me after the diaper change. The diaper change had been precipitated by a feeding (you've gotta love that gastro-colic reflex), so I couldn't even pretend that I was putting her in the bed to feed her. It's now official. She has trained me to co-sleep.
Now what to do? We're working on getting her to take naps in her crib (not easy after two weeks of being held 24-7 by a team consisting of both parents, two grandparents, an aunt, and about a million other visitors), but even that is hard, and generally results in very short naps. Does anyone have any tips for how to get the baby back out of the bed into the crib where she belongs?
I should mention that:
A) I never move when sleeping anymore. I wake up aching from head to toe from having spent the whole night (or at least the most recent sleeping bout) in exactly the same position. So, I'm no longer worried about Eggbert's safety, but I'm increasingly worried about my own.
B) Aches aside, I must admit that co-sleeping is the most delicious thing on earth. However, I still don't want to co-sleep with a toddler, and I would like to let Mystery back in the bed on a more consistent basis some time soon!
The lovely M-B asked for photos, so here she is: