When my belly first started rounding out, I had a hard time making the bed. I remember one morning trying to pull the heavy duvet cover up and over the mattress; I got so frustrated that I just gave up and climbed back into bed. As I lay there, I thought of the baby that would be co-sleeping with us in a few months. I imagined the ease of having my baby right next to me for nursing, traveling and of course attachment and bonding.
When Noele was born, we welcomed her into our bed and she nursed like a champ. Although I didn’t mind, she never slept for more than an hour or two before wanting to nurse again. I never expected her to sleep through the night at three months nor did I long to share my duties with my husband. I loved living in our attached family bed bliss.
One afternoon while I was wearing Nolie in my Moby Wrap, she became fussy and wiggly. So at four weeks of age, I put her in her crib for the first time. When I finished working with the laundry, I went to get her and lo and behold, she was sleeping! This was the first time she had slept anywhere but on my chest, and she ended up sleeping for three hours.
I was in complete shock.
That night when she was restless and fussy and showed no interest in nursing, I had an ‘aha’ moment and put her in her crib. She slept for more than five hours.
After that I tried to no avail to get her back into our bed. She might start off there, but after a period of rolling and kicking she would end up back in the crib, sleeping for four or five hours. I knew my nights of co-sleeping had ended far sooner than I wanted.
I started to worry about what my friends would think of me. They are all attachment parents and I felt like I was betraying a cardinal rule by allowing my baby to sleep alone. Worse still, I was starting to like it! At first, I was afraid my friends would think I had abandoned both my daughter and my attachment parenting ways. But as the nights went on I realized that I was still bonding with my daughter, because I was responding to her at all hours of the day and night. She didn’t have to sleep with us in the same room for us to have an attached relationship, and I didn’t have to feel guilty because she wasn’t in our bed.
Now, over a year old and still waking at least twice (more often three or four) a night to nurse, I have no doubts about our relationship or dedication to natural parenting. Being willing to cross the hall four times a night to nurse isn’t always easy, but I cling to the knowledge that this time is short and I know I will miss her wanting me. Even though my idyllic dream of co-sleeping didn’t come true, I am still an attachment parent, even from across the hall.
Photo Credit: Author
Autumn is a young SAHM living her dream by parenting the quirkiest, silliest 14-month-old you could ever ask for. Her family enjoys hiking, exploring and trying not to eat too many rocks in the lovely Pacific Northwest. At Playing House – Full Time, she blogs about the honest struggles of parenting, being a wife and trying hard to keep it all within budget.