Two objects which can help create a relaxed baby – Part II: the cosleeper
As with the wrap, I can’t remember where I first heard of “co-sleepers”. I think a lot of baby wearing moms also cosleep, and that I probably heard the term somewhere there.
During my pregnancy I told a lot of people we’d bought a co-sleeper, and most of them reacted with, “a what?”.
Co-sleeper is really just a pretty word for a crib or cradle alongside your own bed. It’s not the same as putting the cradle next to your bed, because in that case you have to get out of bed to get the baby out. A co-sleeper is attached to your bed, like a baby-sized extension of your mattress.
When I first told Denny about it, he was not keen at all. He just didn’t see the benefit of it (at first). Now? He thinks it’s one of the best inventions ever. 🙂 But why is it so handy?
It’s essentially very simple: you can be there for your baby without having to get out of your bed. That means that you can help keep a pacifier in a mouth, soothe your baby, notice the very first hunger signals (which means baby doesn’t need to cry) all while half asleep, and you can even feed baby without ever waking up completely. And most important of all: your partner can keep sleeping. That means that you have at least one well-rested person around during the day, and that makes a big difference!
Because Liv was born by c-section, I was extra pleased that we had chosen a co-sleeper. I never had to ask Denny for help in the middle of the night. When Liv was first born she was so small that she only needed half of the bed, so I put diapers, wipes, cloths etc in the bed with her. All I had to do was sit up, and I could do everything: feed, change diaper, and put her back to bed (and there’s still room for the diapers now). Liv is so close to me that it’s easy to comfort her. The result is that apart from one night in the first week, Liv NEVER cries at night, and I’m not exaggerating. I wake up when she starts sucking on her hands, turn on a small nightlight, change her diaper, nurse her, burp her, put her back, and we continue sleeping until the next feed. This takes at most 30 minutes. Usually she falls back asleep on the breast, and it’s easy to put her back in bed because I don’t have to move far, or make any difficult movements which would wake her.
I remember telling my brother about co-sleepers, and recommending that he and my sister-in-law get one, but their reaction was: what nonsense! But during the first week my sister-in-law could hardly walk due top the stitches, and my brother had to get my niece out of her cradle every time she cried. When they saw our co-sleeper after Liv was born they immediately said: that’s what we want next time!
You can say you think it’s unnecessary, but believe me: if you try it, you’ll never want anything else! And no, this does not mean she’ll sleep in our room forever. As long as she nurses at night, this makes our life easier, and that benefits us all.
Result: two well-rested parents, and a content baby. Three cheers for the co-sleeper!
(We have a co-sleeper which we bought 2nd hand, and we chose one which you can also ‘close’. I want Liv to stay in her own bed, and us in ours. Right now she sleeps in a ‘side-sleeper’ so she can’t move anywhere and I keep it open all night, but if it’s necessary, I can close it with one hand.)