I Stopped Co-Sleeping & Now I Can't Sleep!

Asleep With BabyJust a few weeks before her first birthday, my daughter Abby has started sleeping in the crib! This is big news, since her sister was in the Arm's Reach co-sleeper well into her second year.

Not only that, she didn’t need to nurse at all between 8 p.m., when I put her down, and 5 a.m., when she had a snack and went back to sleep for an hour.

So I got a full night’s sleep too, right? Right? Wrong-o. Oh, so very, very wrongly wrong with the wrongness.


First of all, not nursing for all those hours meant that by 11 p.m., my breasts were painfully engorged -- so much so that I could only lie on my back. I was tired enough (remember, I’d been up since 5) to fall asleep anyway, but by 3 a.m., I was wide awake and nearly in tears.

Why yes, this would have been a great time to pump. Why no, I couldn’t pump, because I don’t even know where I put my pump after I got laid off from my office job. I hate that thing. And I haven’t cleaned the flanges or anything. So I ended up expressing milk into the bathroom sink -- just enough to allow me to go back to sleep. Liquid gold, down the drain!

Secondly, just because my baby was safe and sound and happily sleeping one room away doesn’t mean I actually believed she was safe and sound and happily sleeping. In fact, I was in an agony of worry that (a) there would be an earthquake and I wouldn’t be able to get to her, (b) she would wake and cry and I wouldn’t hear her (despite both doors being open), and (c) everything else that could go wrong under the moon. It was like I was on a treadmill set to “fret interval training.”

The third reason I look as blasted by sleeplessness today as I did yesterday? That reason’s name is Penelope who, at 2 1/2, has decided to return to the family bed, and will wake out of the deepest sleep to mummy-walk, with Special Blanket and Daisy, back to our bed. I am a sap. I can’t handle middle-of-the-night arguments, and I feel like these early years will pass in the blink of an eye, so I’m stuck with this thrashing bed-mate who sticks her foot in my ear and talks in her sleep. Or is that her dad? They have a lot in common.

So I’m glad Abby’s made this leap forward, but as with every kid development, it’s accompanied by a few steps back. My mom tells me this is one of the really, really bad jokes of motherhood: by the time your kid learns to sleep through the night, you've forgotten the skill completely. Oh boy. Anyone up for a coffee run?

Do you sleep when your kids sleep, or have your nights seemingly been ruined for good? Has changes in your co-sleeping habits changed your sleep, too?

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