I was blessed with our first son, Logan just shy of two years ago. As we embark on trying for another, I prepare myself once again for the sleepless nights. I try to remember what those were like, as we are now used to getting plenty of sleep; more than I expected, but our little man is a big sleeper (yay!).
As I think back to the first few weeks, I recall them being pretty rough. I remember hearing everywhere that “you must use the crib or an approved sleeping bed” and of course “back is best”. It was even written on his sleep sack the hospital provided us. All seems okay when you are in the hospital, but then you go home. Then the real fun begins.
I had a c-section, so the crib in another room while breastfeeding was just not feasible. We had borrowed a bassinet from a friend and tried that; we heard so many great success stories of babies falling fast asleep and they could be right next to you. It sounded perfect and it was an “approved sleeping bed”. Alas, our little man was NOT a fan. After two nights of consistent crying and no sleep, we moved on to the pack n’ play that was also set up in our room. He wasn’t having that either.
I remember looking at this tiny human being and asking him why he wouldn’t sleep? I believe I even pleaded with him… please, please buddy, Mommy needs sleep. But nothing was comforting him, except sleeping on my or my husband’s chest. I was torn. As much as I loved having him snuggle up with me, I was terrified of sleeping with him in our bed. My husband and I would sleep on our back, with our son on our chest and the sheets all the way down by our hips or even knees. We would switch off every couple of hours, so that allowed for some sleep, but after a few days of that, we both looked at each other and knew we had to do something else. This whole Zombie look was not a flattering one for either of us.
Finally, my husband mentioned trying his swing. He took some phenomenal naps in that swing, so why not night sleep? I remember looking at him with a blank stare, saying something about that not being an “approved sleeping bed”. It even says on the swing not to make it a bed. But my husband isn’t one for rules (he believes they are more like guidelines), and he said we should try it. So we did.
And what happened? GLORIOUS SLEEP. I couldn’t believe it. Okay, okay, the first night I didn’t get much sleep since I kept checking on him to make sure he was okay; but the second night I got the aforementioned glorious sleep. I felt like a whole new person the following day. He slept in that swing until about 6 months when he was quickly outgrowing it and started being more mobile. Luckily, by then he was more comfortable with his crib and he’s been there ever since. Now I’ll have to welcome the next big milestone; converting it to a toddler bed, but I’m in denial and that’s not happening for a little bit.
So to other first time moms out there, if you are reading this with the same Zombie look I had, don’t give up. Try whatever you are comfortable with and just know that sometimes the solution is in a different form than a bed, or bassinet; sometimes it’s a swing.