Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sleep Schedule

I still remember that moment, the moment filled with both excitement and fear, the moment when I held my own babe for the first time.  Before my own, I'd always been pretty afraid of babies, especially the new ones, I was happy to admire them from afar, so holding one of my very own was a completely new feeling.  I thought I had it all figured out, I'd read books, listened to others, even took a couple classes, but none of that really prepared me for the adventure I was about to begin.  First babies are special, it's just the two of you, there is no one else waiting for a turn to be held, all of your attention is focused for one.  At the time I remember thinking that Jonas was a high maintenance baby, but really I was just a high maintenance mama.  I'd set some pretty big standards for myself, the sooner I let those go, the easier things became.

Schedule, that word is beat into you the moment you talk about having a baby.  Feeding schedule, bathing schedule, changing schedule, sleeping schedule, you litterally need a schedule to remind you of all your schedules.  When Jonas was just days old I felt like a failure, he wasn't making it long enough between feedings, I thought for sure he was pooping way to much, and our sleeping situation was a mess.  Nothing was following my schedule that I thought was so important to keep.  That all changed when an unexpected visitor shared the bed with me one night.

From total exhaustion, Jo never made it back to his bassinet after a mid night nursing.  At first I was pretty terrified when I realized he'd spent most of the night next to me in bed, and so close, but then I noticed we'd both slept peacefully for almost four hours.  I knew then there was something to be said about co-sleeping.  That was close to nine years ago, now with two more babes under my belt, I've figured out our schedule.

By the time Sol was born, a baby schedule was long gone.  Having no schedule worked for us (I know it doesn't work for all).  I was lucky that I was able to be at home with my babes so I nursed on demand, slept with a little one nestled close, and loved every minute of it.  Solomon was such an easy baby, content, peaceful, fat, and happy.  He slept so close, his little arm draped up the side of my body.  He taught me how to do just about anything with a baby tucked near.  I'd given up on society's norms, and created a system of my own.

We'd find Sol asleep everywhere and anywhere, just this year we found him out cold on the toilet, it was a hard task but he was wiped and dressed and laid in bed, never once stirring

My children nursed longer than most, Sol let it go the easiest at around 20 months, my lap had lost some of it's comfort, he was sharing it with my growing belly (even then Abe was fighting for his spot).  My other two boys were into their two's, weird for some, but for me completely natural.  I was sad to see those days go, they seem to grow up faster once they stop nursing.  Our shared talent we'd mastered so well (I swear Abe could do headstands while nursing, and my gift, the ability to hang on to my wiggly bundle while trimming the fingernails of two other rambunctious boys), was discarded.  We upgraded to a King after Jonas, a little more space for us and our tiny bodied companion (that and the fact that we usually gain another bed mate come morning time).  A happy family of four, I figured we knew what we were doing, so why not add another. 

Heavenly, Abe had me in his trance, so sweet, and sleepy, he was the only baby I ever woke to nurse.  He slept long stretches from the very start. After six hours I'd start to worry, so I'd gently rouse him enough to eat, and he'd doze back off as soon as he'd got his fill.  The first five months of his life I rarely saw him with his eyes open, little did I know that he was resting up for what was to come (6 mo - 16 mo, the hardest months of my life, a story for another time).

Abe fast asleep in his sling, out for our weekly 'Mom's' hike, and by the looks of the baby acne, approaching 1 month

Now that we have no baby, we follow a schedule, school has a way of making that choice for you.  After months of begging we've finally moved all three boys into the same room (this was their demand), this means the same scheduled bedtimes.  With all the boys in their own bed (for at least part of the night anyhow), I was feeling a little incomplete, nothing snuggled close at night, well so I thought (no not what your thinking, no baby on the way, although I've had dozens of requests for a baby sister), there is a little something sneaking it's way under the covers and finding the spot close to my heart........

He slinks under the covers, starts at my feet, but by morning he's got his nose tucked under my chin (silly dog).

He slinks under the covers, skips my feet all together and has stolen my pillow by morning (silly boy).

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