Today marks three months since this girl entered our world. Immediately after she was born, she was placed on my chest for that lovely skin to skin contact; and she obviously liked what she saw, because she claimed that spot between my boobs as her own, and has barely shifted since.
Being the second child, she was expected to just go with the flow of our already established, child friendly routine. Because of that, I didn’t mind too much when she wouldn’t sleep in her bassinet for her daytime naps – I just popped her in the sling and away we went; free to feed chooks, pick flowers, supervise crafts and SURVIVE those first few weeks.
As each week passed, the lack of sleep got easier to deal with; which meant we took on more – outings, play dates, trips to town. We were busier. And I kinda forgot to stop putting her in the sling for every single day nap. Besides, every time I remembered to try, she grizzled and moaned (it’s possible that it had something to do with her reflux, but more probable that she has barnacle DNA somewhere in her heritage). And seriously, who’s got time to settle a baby when the toddler has NEEDS. SO MANY NEEDS.
But how did she sleep at night – I hear you ask.
Well. Obviously I couldn’t put her in her bassinet, ESPECIALLY on her back; she would just scream all night and wake up the toddler. And completely aware of the SIDS safe sleeping recommendations, I couldn’t possibly sleep her in her bassinet on her stomach either (which she found slightly more bearable). So I would lay deathly still, propped up ever-so-slightly on pillows, with her on her stomach, on my chest. She would sleep soundly, and I would lay awake with a guilty conscience; making sure she continued to breathe; while Google-ing: “my baby will only sleep on me – send help.”
I was pretty sure that everyone – from my friends and family, to the strangers in the supermarket; knew my dirty little secret – that I was CO-SLEEPING (although does it count as co-sleeping if the mother doesn’t actually sleep!?) with my newborn. I spent approximately FAR TOO LONG stressing about whether I was damaging her emotionally. I was 99% sure we would still be co-sleeping when she started high school. She would probably never move out of home. And she would definitely start pulling out her eyelashes and have a nervous twitch. And I had basically written off any chance of snuggling up to Mr Junebug in bed ever again – I was so entrenched in my mattress groove, that even if I wanted to roll over and give him a goodnight kiss; I’d probably need some form of rock-climbing harness system to pull myself out.
About a week ago, I roped Mr Junebug into rearranging some furniture; so that now her cot is about a foot away from our bed. Let me tell you; there is nothing that screams ‘romantic parent’s retreat,’ like a cot squeezed into the corner of the master bedroom. But hey. We’re not on an interior design show. And we certainly didn’t chose ‘parent-life’ for its romance. This gig is about SURVIVAL.
And guess what?! The VERY FIRST NIGHT that I put her in her cot, on her stomach; she slept for five hours straight.
Which is kind of a very big fucking deal.
It was as though I had awoken from a coma; I could MOVE again! Once I had actually realised that I could go to sleep, instead of laying awake worrying – I was all like: ‘look at me rolling all over the joint, making blanket snow angels, and sleeping ON MY SIDE.’
Turns out the second night she had flicked into growth-spurt-overdrive and was feeding every two hours.. but hey, I was ready for that shit. I was ready to take over the world after my five hour chunk of solid sleep. We took on all sorts of ridiculously high-level craft projects the next day (bubble painting – the one where you have to BLOW and NOT SUCK the bubbly contents of the cup, before placing a sheet of paper over the bubbles to create a bubble print – yeah that one; take it from me, that’s best left to the experts. K pooped bubbles for the next three days straight).
So that’s night-time sorted. Now I’m meant to be attempting to remove The Barnacle from her rock for her day naps. Her increasing size means that the she’s no longer securely tucked against my chest in the sling; instead, her head hangs out and I have to use an arm to hold it safely on her shoulders as she sleeps. I’m like a kangaroo with a joey in my pouch – her little head making anything other than standing in the paddock eating grass, rather difficult.
But I carried her in my belly for nine months, and then have carried her on my chest every day since – I don’t think it’s her that I am emotionally damaging – I’m not ready to put her down.
So I’m going to invest in a new sling/baby carrier. Any suggestions?
I’m looking for one that has a weight range from three months through to about.. eighteen years.