Crib, Cradle, or Co-Sleep? (Adventures with a Newborn)

I was three months pregnant when I saw the notice on the office bulletin board: one crib and change table for sale. The price was less than what we’d pay for a new crib, so my husband and I jumped on the deal.

We hauled the furniture home and spent the next few months trying to decide where to fit it in our one-bedroom apartment. It ended up in the living room, because the crib was too big to even fit through the bedroom door. It was also rather big for the living room, no matter how we rearranged.

I was seven months pregnant when we were touring second-hand shops with my mother-in-law and found the cradle. I’d been digging through the maternity racks, trying to find some new clothes, when my husband came to get me.

The cradle was white, with a train and circus animals stenciled in bright colours on it. It came with a mattress and three sheets. It was also very cheap. We already had a crib, but the cradle was so cute and would fit much better in our apartment. So we squished it into our car and hauled it home.

Once again we rearranged, moving the cradle and change table into our bedroom. We took the crib apart to put it in the storage room.

The night Sunshine was born, we all slept in the Murphy bed at the hospital. The bassinet there seemed cold and medical, and Sunshine just wanted to be held. The next day we were home and discovered she didn’t like the cradle.

She slept with us again that night… and the next… and the next.

We laughed a bit over the fact that we had a crib and a cradle and were co-sleeping anyways. We also tried to understand that, after being tucked in my stomach for nine months, it was a huge shock to her to be away from me, in a strange, cold, hard cradle. So she remained cuddled close to one of us day and night.

She’s starting to sleep longer at night now (five hours!) and to nap more in her cradle. She’ll also fall asleep on her own sometimes when I put her down almost asleep. My husband and I agree we’re not going to leave her to cry herself to sleep in her cradle, and so moving her there remains a slow process.

Let’s see, by the time we get her used to the cradle, she’ll be too big for it and we’ll have to get her used to the crib…

Recently, we were shopping at Safeway and had Sunshine sleeping in her carseat on top of the buggy. A fellow walked up to me, gestured to her car seat, and asked, “What aisle do I find those in?”

When Sunshine is upset, she flails her arms in the air with a music conductor’s flair; she pumps her legs as though she were an athlete climbing stairs; she screws up her entire face and yells with the lung strength of an opera singer. The more upset she gets, the faster her arms move and the louder her wails get.

Being a mom requires a huge amount of organization. Besides the crib in storage, we also have a humongous box of baby clothes. Sunshine has outfits to wear from now until she’s two. Yesterday I did laundry, sorted through her closet (again), and put away a few things that don’t fit (some too small, most too large).

Some of them will fit her soon, so in a month I’ll drag that box out again, sort through it trying to find what does fit her, and put away the ones that don’t fit her anymore. Without having her grow out of any clothes before she even wears them.

Holding a baby who has been screaming for the last hour and a half and won’t stop no matter what you do is the most frustrating feeling in the world. Holding a baby who is snuggled up to you, with her head tucked under your chin and her hair tickling your skin, is the most calming feeling in the world. And even if I’ve spent two hours trying to get her to sleep so I can put her in her cradle, often I just want to keep snuggling her.

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  1. Janet Rubin April 24, 2008
  2. The Koala Bear Writer April 21, 2008
  3. Dana April 20, 2008
  4. The Koala Bear Writer April 20, 2008
  5. Hecky April 18, 2008
  6. Dana April 18, 2008

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