Breastfeeding was a challenge, my baby got jaundice, the back-splash poop was staining everything, but mostly I was exhausted. My little baby just wouldn’t sleep in the crib, wouldn’t sleep in the side-car, wouldn’t sleep in bed next to me, wouldn’t sleep anywhere except in my arms.
So on the second night at home, my husband and I took turns every 3 hours holding him. Now that I think about it, 3 hours is a lovely chunk of sleep after a year of waking every hour or two on most nights. But back then, 3 hours would go by in a wink.
On the third night, I devised a way to hold my baby and learn to co-sleep.
After breastfeeding him, he would just pass out. He wouldn’t stir unless I moved him out of my arms. So my husband would prop my legs up on the couch and I slept sitting up with my baby on my chest.
And after a couple of nights of baby steps, every time testing a minuscule change, I managed to lie all the way down and get my baby to sleep next to me. With him in my arms and high up on my lap, I would scoot in bed and slowly lean back, while at the same time shifting my baby to my side and laying him down next to my body. Then, only after I was assured he wouldn’t wake up, I would scoot slightly over to give him enough space, but still kept my arm under his head.
For a long time, I could not reclaim my arm from under him. With time, and more baby steps, I was able to move him down my arm further and further, from my armpit to my forearm.
One night, after breastfeeding him in bed, my arm went numb because of the weight of his head. He was growing up fast and his head was getting heavier. I said, enough! And slowly slipped my arm, while holding his head with my other hand so he wouldn’t plop suddenly on the mattress. And presto! He stayed asleep.
From that point on, I would use a folded receiving blanket under his head while breastfeeding so I could easily transfer him off my arm and on my bed. Then I could lie next to him and sleep at last! (For more details on this trick, read my past post here.)
Now, my little guy sleeps in his crib. It took several months of baby steps to progress to a little sleep independence. Of course, if he’s sick we snuggle together again and I must confess, I do miss it terribly. Here’s the cutest little video that epitomizes the mommy-baby snuggle at its best: