It was right around the four and a half month mark, however, that the boys decided that my schedule wasn't working for them. Coincidentally, that is when they were no longer able to share the co-sleeper. Mason still spent some time there, but mostly they were in their crib. That's when I stopped getting much sleep, began to feel crazy, and would lie awake in between feeding sessions stressing about what I should be doing to fix "the problem". Should I let them cry it out? Should I refuse feedings at night? Should I bring them into bed with me?
Finally one night I had had enough. I began to feed them when they wanted to be fed. I brought them into bed when I did so that I could lie down and even drift off to sleep. I stopped tandem feeding them at night because the process of setting up for the feeding was taking as much time as the feeding. This is how I did it with Kyan, but for some reason I thought I had to do it differently with the twins. I thought I would beat the system and have them sleeping through the night as soon as possible, but what was keeping me awake at night was the fact that that desire was about me, not about them.
I know that there have been numerous studies done on co-sleeping and attachment parenting, and most of them show that the babies are happier, better rested, and calmer. It doesn't talk as much about the mamas, but why should it?
http://mothering.com/parenting/science-mother-love-science-catching-mothers-wisdom (especially note references: since all of these articles are from one source and I, as a teacher, know that you can't count only on one sources I refer you to the reference articles and books in this particular article)
I 'm not trying to say that we mamas are not important and should simply martyr our well being for the good of our children, but when I stop and look at the situation the reality is that this time of little sleep is very short lived. I'm not having any more children, so in a year I will be looking back on my nighttime cuddles with my boys and probably shedding a tear or two that my time for that is over. And, when it comes right down to it, I am far better off now than I was during those two weeks where I was fighting it and trying to let them cry it out or ignoring their demand to feed.
The shift happened when I asked myself why I was lying awake night after night. Once I answered that question I knew how to solve my problem. I had to let it be about them and not about me.
So, people ask me all the time, "Do they sleep through the night." It's the typical baby question around this age. I smile and shake my head, "Oh no, not even close." They always looks at me with a startled smile, not sure why I am smiling or being so flippant about such a serious matter. It's almost as if we have deemed this one accomplishment the standard measure of a good mother or a good baby, for that matter.
My babies are happy; They are confident and at ease and they are healthy. They are on the small side, and so was Kyan, so why on earth should I be denying them milk because it is not "time" for them to eat again? I could easily sit up in the rocking chair and feed them one at a time at night, in fact I do that for their first feeding, but bringing them to bed is more about me and more about balance.
I don't want to have to hold myself to any one particular parenting movement or credo. My motto as a parent has evolved to the simple phrase, "Walk the Line". I've said it before and I'll say it again: The answer does not exist. There is no one theory or practice that is magical and all powerful. I must do what works for me and for my children and for my family; I must do what feels right deep down in my intuitive core. If that means that I'm a bit tired for awhile, then so be it. Yes, I have a baby (one or the other) next to me all night long. There are worse things. I am tired, but when I look at the three amazing little beings that Ben and I have created I am blissful.
Yes, I guess I am tired
if you mean could I use a nap
or a meal
or a minute alone. Of course.
But I flush with pleasure
to remember the nighttime—
warm hands roaming my ribs,
the milky slow-dance of nursing.
He is the most passionate person I have ever shared a bed with.
Isn’t falling in love always like this?
The nights are long and wakeful
and the days are a thrilling blur.
"Tired" is not the first word that comes to mind.