22 April 2012, by Tan Yi Lin
Informal . a person or group that is friendly toward another because the relationship brings benefits, but harbors feelings of resentment or rivalry.
Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE Coco deeply and I don’t think of her as my enemy (well, not most of the time anyway).
But THIS is a different situation altogether:
When she gets between me and my beauty sleep, my blanket (because she kicks it off) and my husband, then yes, the feelings of motherly love get slightly tainted with a dash of irritation, resulting in a Love-Resent (because ‘hate’ is SUCH a strong word…) relationship. Not unlike a Frenemy situation.
But how did we end up sharing our bed with her in the first place?
The Early Days
Right from the day we brought her home, Coco started sleeping in our room – but in her cot, not in our bed.
The logic behind having her sleep in the same room was simple: She was going to wake and cry a few times every night. I was going to have to nurse her a few times every night. Both of us would have to carry and rock her back to sleep a few times every night.
We did not want to have to trek across the shared bathroom to the adjoining study a few times every night.
And okay, I admit – as a brand new momma, I was really reluctant to leave my precious newborn in a room all by herself and couldn’t bear to tear myself way from her for too long.
So in our room, she slept. And it was just like how we had expected it to be – incredibly tiring, but as convenient as it gets.
But soon, we realised that newborns are very noisy sleepers. The phrase “sleeping like a baby” apparently does not apply to babies less than four months old. Newborns grunt, snort, snore, yelp, whimper and mew continuously throughout the night. If you’re blessed, they may amazingly start sleeping through the night at about 10 weeks and just when the smug parent in you thinks that you have returned to the days of uninterrupted sleep…. WHAM! They go through another growth spurt at about four months and start waking for late-night feeds and cuddles all over again.
To make it worse, four months is about the time when most working mums mark their return to the office upon the end of their maternity leave. I did not have the energy to rock Coco back to sleep in the dead of the night and wake up bright and chirpy for work the next morning. So I caved to nursing her in bed and letting her continue to sleep in our bed till dawn.
I’m sure many of you have seen this set of diagrams making its rounds on Facebook recently (originally from www.howtobeadad.com):
Yes, folks, this is REAL. ALL OF IT. REAL. And somehow, I always get the bottom end of the deal. Literally. Her feet in my face/neck/chest/back. Alive and kicking.
Needless to say, our quality of sleep suffered badly. And with a baby in our bed, we couldn’t even bring ourselves to even think about plans for No.2. Where would we even find the chance to, you know, make No.2?
That was when we decided that we had to…
Kick The Baby….
…. out of our room. We timed the grand eviction of our little overstayer with Coco’s 3 Day 2 Night staycation with my parents-in-laws. We decided that instead of letting her (and us) lapse into old habits upon her return, we would put her directly into her cot in her new room. So we spent those few days hurriedly clearing out our study, decorating the walls with pretty ocean-themed stickers and wheeled Coco’s cot into her new room.
We were really excited about creating a underwater wonderland for our little girl! So excited in fact that Dan didn’t notice the $68 price tag on the Wee Gallery wall graphics when he picked up a pack from Motherswork. Ouch!
Also, in our excitement to finish decorating the room and photographing our handiwork, we neglected to remove a slightly child-inappropriate item from the shelf…. namely, a novelty matchbox that Dan received as a funny gift, which exclaimed “I ‘HEART’ MY PENIS”.
And so, the offending matchbox was hurriedly removed from Coco’s room, by her mother, and returned to the bedside of its rightful owner.
We were delighted (and relieved) that Coco didn’t mind sleeping on her own at all! In fact, it has led to better quality of sleep not only for us, but also for her because she doesn’t get disturbed by us moving around in our bed as well (I’m referring to just the normal shifting and stirring in our sleep – NOT the kind of movements that some people may have in mind. EEWWW! Not with a baby in the same room!) Many a time, we’ve tiptoed across to her room in the morning to find her content with lying in her cot and quietly taking in the pretty sight of gliding sea turtles and eagle rays sweeping across the walls.
Well, that’s not to say that with the small success that we’ve had in shifting Coco to her own room, she’s no longer allowed in our bed. I still pet her to sleep in our bed every night before transferring her to the cot. And while Dan was away on a recent overseas work trip, I sneaked in a new bed partner during his absence.
But once again, THIS was enough to remind me why it’s best to let your baby sleep in her own bed, and in her own room. Especially if she sleeps like ours:
For the records, I had placed our little bed tyrant vertically next to me as she dropped off to sleep. When I fell asleep, she was lying perpendicular to me, with her head to my chest. The next morning, she had somehow rotated 180 degrees to plant her feet into my face and flip onto her tummy.
I guess we’ll have to muster up some discipline and be firm in making her sleep in her own room, and only allow her into our bed for reading, playing, cuddling and the occasional starship flying lesson with R2D2.
Is Co-Sleeping For You?
Our experience is not to say that co-sleeping is 100% bad for all parents.
After all, so many parents throughout the world share their bed with their children, and have done so for thousands of generations before ours. You can find many online sources out there that either support co-sleeping or warn about the dangers that the habit may entail. But it’s up to you to decide how to parent your child and manage the sleep habits of your family, depending on your individual preferences or constraints, and your living arrangement.
Whether you’re all for co-sleeping or strongly believe that parents should be entitled to their privacy, the most important thing is that the sleeping arrangement that you decide upon is SAFE.