Thursday, January 10, 2008

I’ve Got Friends in Small Spaces

A friend of mine pointed me to an article in the New York Times recently about post-Christmas organization driven by the need to find a place for all the stuff we accumulated over the holidays and the year in general. The most interesting part to me was this line: "It isn’t a house problem... [i]t’s a person problem."

Most of the people I know from the expat community here had to go through an extensive household purging when they moved to Copenhagen. When you’re faced with the huge cost of shipping or storing all your earthly possessions it causes you to take a long hard look at how attached you are to all those Waterford crystal picture frames you received as wedding gifts and have never opened. And while there are a few comments along the lines of, “I probably should have held on to my fantastic milk whipper” the overwhelming opinion is that it was an incredibly challenging yet therapeutic and cleansing process.

We were lucky to find a great, furnished apartment and somehow figured out a way to only bring with us the five suitcases and John’s portable crib we checked as luggage for our flight over here. This was a little challenging given that we brought clothing for two children in five different sizes, early maternity/transition clothes, maternity clothes and two standard adult wardrobes including the sweaters, shoes and water gear made necessary when living in Copenhagen. This in addition to deciding what of all the great piles of baby gear were absolutely necessary to pack along with us (which, when we thought about it, was surprisingly little).

So here we are, in our small but adequately sized apartment, patting ourselves on the back for living on the bare essentials, when we face the question: where is our new baby going to sleep?

Hello, my name is Rebekah and I wasn’t Dr. Sear’s enough to co-sleep with my first child.

We’re crib people. We like our bed space. Back in the States our queen-sized bed was barely large enough for Michael to tolerate sleeping with me (I have the undeserved reputation of a “cover hog” and a “midnight cuddler”). But we’re faced with (a) not having space for another crib, (b) not wanting to buy a bed or crib that we’ll have to get rid of in five months, (c) our first child isn’t old enough to handle the transition to a trundle-bed or pallet that could be stored under the bed.

For those keeping score at home, we’re left with the following two options: co-sleeping and possibly making a bed for the baby out of a dresser drawer that may or may not be wide enough and deep enough to hold an infant from birth to five months (the age James will be when we plan to leave Copenhagen this summer).

And that’s the story of how I have suddenly found myself pouring through the Internet reading up on how to safely share a bed with a tiny baby – no blankets, the proper placement of pillows, and reminding myself how to side nurse. Because it's a people problem not a house problem.

Any recommendations from my co-sleeping readers?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

A few thoughts:
-a cosleeper. But you would have to buy that. Still, it would be smaller than a bed.
-Are you sure #1 wouldn't do ok on the floor? We moved Bryan to his crib mattress on the floor at 21 months since we were moving and didn't want to set up the crib. We did have to rest with him until he was almost asleep at first, but at that age he was old enough to know he had to stay in his bed or get in trouble. It takes some training, but it isn't impossible.
-I sort of coslept- the babies would start in their cradle or crib and then move in at one of the feedings. It is nice to snuggle, but it is also nice for them to have their own space.

-Elizabeth

Hallie said...

DON'T.

another elizabeth said...

I've co-slept with both my girls. Lily off and on until about a year old, and Bea almost exclusively for the first six months. It has worked pretty well for us, but I know it depends on the baby's temperment and on your ability to get back to sleep after being woken up by wiggling, nursing, etc. We have a co-sleeper (arms reach mini) which is really nice and very small. But honestly Bea only sleeps in it a few hours a night. Still, it is nice to know we can move her out of the bed for a while if we wanted.
My advice would be to try co-sleeping for at least a few weeks before buying anything.(Except maybe one of those bed rails to attach to the side of the bed, just so you can switch sides and not worry about the baby rolling off.) You may find you do just fine. Or not. But I do know from experience that you will get more sleep those first few weeks with the baby in the bed. And don't be scared of hurting him. I had Bea next to me when she was a mere four and a half pounds, and I never once forgot she was there. You just get used to it.