Anatomy of a co-sleeper

There are many wonderful things about co-sleeping:

  • breastfeeding lying down (I am lazy)
  • sleeping whilst feeding (ditto)
  • not having to get out of bed to feed/settle the baby (and again)
  • cuddling a baby all night long (and Eli is my very last baby so I will really miss this when this stage is over

Whilst not having to get out of bed or really even wake up when the baby needs feeding in the night are my absolute favourite things about co-sleeping, finding out exactly how Eli has decided to orientate himself each night is entertaining too. Accordingly I have been taking photos (blurry as it’s hard to get enough light to take a photo without waking the baby!).

The spread eagle: now, considering that I feed Eli to sleep and generally leave him on his side, in a position that would mean I could lie next to him when I decide to go to bed, he is remarkably good at stealing my side of the bed. We do have a super king size bed (definitely a co-sleeping necessity for me!) but I like my pillow and don’t want to have to sleep in the awkward middle space…

Then there’s back-to-front: generally given away by moaning and rustling over the baby monitor, I’m guessing this is what happens when he goes looking for me when he stirs, rotates himself, gives up and goes to sleep.

Normally these positions only affect my ability to get into bed without disturbing Eli and if I don’t have to move him my own ability to get under the covers comfortably. When perpendicular comes into play, R gets to join in too.

I mean, so what if your parents believe that they should have most of the bed (especially after buying the biggest one they could after years of co-sleeping on a double), clearly the bed is for the baby. The cot on the side is, however, clearly not. That has surely been placed there simply to allow for clothes storage and for the rare occasion when you might otherwise fall out of the bed. If you do end up accidentally sleeping in it you should protest loudly until you are removed to the proper bed.

It’s a recurring theme but we have a poorly boy again

A poorly (but smiley) Eli.

It is fascinating, in a completely sleep-deprived way, how each of my children has suffered teething differently. Lex’s first teeth resulted in fevers and a clingy, limp, sleepy (except at night) baby. With him Medised, now outlawed, was brilliant as it helped him sleep despite his discomfort. Tilly didn’t have the fevers, I do remember disturbed sleep but generally teething did not bother her too badly (that I remember – maybe I’ve blanked the memory!). Eli seems to be following in Lex’s footsteps and throwing in a couple of variations of his own.

It’s been a rough couple of days and nights for Eli and those of us he has been depriving of sleep and I think that he has another tooth (or two) on its way out. Of course whether or not I’m right won’t be proven for a day or so but it helps to have something to blame!

Just like last time he cut a tooth we have a feverish boy – his temperature’s been up for the last two days, at its highest reaching 38.9°C (easily controlled using paracetamol or ibuprofen luckily). A new variation on the theme was the D&V he had after his nap this afternoon. Whilst smelly and messy it was a good opportunity to end the extended play date Lex and Tilly were having with some of Lex’s friends from school who live nearby. Eli’s nappies generally have been yuck and frequent for the past couple of days.

No sign of any other illness though and there is a massive bump next to his one existing top tooth. I really hope I get some sleep tonight but I won’t expect it, pity it’s R’s turn for a lie-in tomorrow morning.

Finally, only one more sleep and daddy’s back

It’s been a long 4 weeks but tonight is the last time (for a while I hope!) that I’ll be solo parenting as R is currently flying back from Japan to rejoin family life. Luckily my mum has been on hand to help in the mornings (before school broke up for the holidays) and in the evenings, eating dinner with us and then staying to help with bath time. Of course she hasn’t been here through the night or for the early mornings (not that I would have ever expected her to be!) and it’s been a very tiring time!

Whilst I am happy to see R simply because I’ve missed him, I am also happy to see him because it means that I may get the odd lie-in and afternoon nap and hopefully fend off some of the crushing exhaustion I am currently operating with.

So, one more night to survive and then reinforcements arrive.

Kids always have to prove you wrong

Today at our baby group (only allowed to attend one more session <sob>) while watching a 5 month old who had just conked out on the mat, I said to those around me that I have never had the type of children who could just fall asleep anywhere, like in a highchair for, I don’t know, an example.

Guess what Eli did tonight… How does a baby do that – you say, oh he never does x, y or z and within no time, and despite not having the receptive language skills or forward planning to make their parents look silly, they’ve done whatever it is they never do and you look like you don’t know your child very well.

Today it is possible that Eli had just not had enough sleep during the day as a trip to the zoo and then baby group had scuppered his ability to nap but it was, almost certainly one of the funniest things I have ever seen. The poor child was trying desperately to eat but just. couldn’t. keep. his. eyes. open. He then tried to sleep in the high chair but only lasted a minute before he realised he was horribly uncomfortable and started screaming. After I released him from his plastic not-a-bed he snored happily on my lap until bath time. Of course I was concerned that his impromptu nap would mean difficulty in getting him to sleep at bed time but no, he really was tired and had no issues dropping off in bed.

Sadly of course, this type of one-upmanship does not take place when you say things such as ‘they never sleep through the night’ or ‘they never spend days not bickering with their siblings’ <sigh>.

Teething – here comes tooth number 3

Teething must be one of those topics that sends a shudder through all but the luckiest parent. It seems that all unexplained fussy/cranky behaviour after the first couple of months is generally assumed to be the ‘T’ word, of course whether it is or not is never proven except for the odd occasion when the screaming does in fact yield a tooth the next day.

Eli has been a little slow in gathering teeth – although strangely aside from one notable exception this seems to be true for most of his baby group peers. For the last few weeks though I have been suffering with screaming at night (sometimes this is not only from Eli) that only abates with pain relief and today, finally, I can feel a new tooth! This will be Eli’s third, he has the two bottom central incisors and this is the top left central incisor (thank you Google for the names of the teeth!).

I am hopeful that this means I will be getting less interrupted sleep soon – a girl can dream can’t she?

Somewhat rested

Well Eli’s illness/developmental spurt?/teething? was tough. A few days of very little sleep for me due to lots of nightwaking by the boy had me exhausted by last Friday. At that point he was the world’s saddest baby, not feverish but covered in a viral rash, not feeding or settled. Of course when I finally decided that maybe a visit to the doctor would be sensible he metamorphosed into a giggling, cooing (rashy) charmer. Last night he slept through – at least 7 hours – I don’t expect it to happen again soon but it was nice! Picture is of my poor rash covered monkey.

Creeping back to normal

So, Eli finished his antibiotics yesterday and I no longer have to remember to administer them 3 times a day. Sleep is better too – he’s feeding a lot but isn’t unsettled so I’m getting rest again.

Today was entertaining – couldn’t find my keys in the morning. Phoned R to discover they were at work with him. On any other day this would be annoying but easily overcome, Monday is gymnastics day which is something else entirely. Mum went to get the keys for me in the end as the logistics of nursery, school and gym runs was too complicated otherwise. Crisis averted.

Getting there

Another horrendous night – Eli woke at around 1.30am and it went downhill from there. At around 3am I went downstairs and he settled (and I dozed) until about 4.30am but then the screaming started and so I headed back to the bedroom to avoid waking the other kids.

R left me to sleep in the morning and took the big kids to swimming lessons by himself leaving Eli and I to rest which has definitely helped. After swimming the kids were desperate to go to Nana’s so they all headed off there – extra peace, bliss! The screaming fits have been non-existant, fingers crossed for actual sleep tonight.