Without me

Two nights ago, Zeph decided it would be fun to sleep on the floor. He asked Daddy, and together, they made a blanket nest, where he fell asleep.

It’s the first time in a little over four years that he has gone to sleep without me.

We co-sleep. I didn’t intend to. In fact, I very much intended not to. We bought a small pre-loved cot for Zeph just before he was born and I very much meant to use it. No increasing the risk of cot death for us. And that first day, coming home from the hospital with him, he fell asleep breastfeeding in my arms. And every time I tried to put him down he woke and cried and wanted to drink milk again. So I made myself a nest in the corner between the bed and the wall where I could sit and study (I was part way through a part-time MSc at this point) and breastfeed. I slept here, and he slept on my chest. Until later he got too heavy and had to sleep next to me, cuddled in my arm.

We moved countries (South Korea to UK). We stayed with my parents-in-law who blessed us with a cot-bed. But Zeph stayed in bed with Mummy and Daddy. Until he started rolling. Then I worried about him falling during naps, so to nap he went into the cot-bed. And I went in with him.

We moved countries again (UK back to South Korea). Now Zeph could have his own room – we had two! So at bedtime I would go with him, lie with him until he slept, often fall asleep with him. He would fall asleep with his arms wrapped tightly around my neck, his face pressed into mine. But I also started getting up in the night, letting him be alone, until he woke and cried, and then I would go back. Sometime into my second pregnancy I decided enough was enough and we went back to full on co-sleeping. Now Zeph would sleep cuddling my belly and the new baby.

When Elly was born, we didn’t even think of him being anywhere but in with all of us. Zeph, Mummy, Elly, Daddy. Four of us on a queen sized mattress on the floor. It came with the house and has a horrible many-legged plastic stand that gathers dust and toys. Forget that. It’s small. We sleep sideways not long ways so we all fit in. Mummy and Daddy’s feet stick off the end. But it works.

More recently Zeph has been asking to go in the middle. Asking Daddy, ‘sleep next to me’. And now, two nights ago, Zeph lay down on the floor with Daddy and fell asleep.

Without me.


So Elly got flu at the end of last week, and simultaneously developed flu-feeding: he reverted to baby-style constant breastfeeding.

Which is great! And not so great.

It’s great because it’s the best thing he can be doing. He hasn’t been wanting to eat all that much, but breast milk (even at 19 months during extended breastfeeding) is packed full of all the nutrients he needs and is keeping him well hydrated. It’s also packed full of antibodies to support his immune system. And it ingeniously adapts itself to be even more perfect by recognising that he is sick and stuffing in even more good things.

But I also (aside from other life things to do) have an at-home 4 year old who is less than impressed at the amount of sitting around his brother currently wants to do, and even more unimpressed that it’s taking up lots of Mummy’s time too. Then there’s the way my body feels about it. Especially when flu-feeding goes something like this: sign ‘milk’ and start tugging on Mummy’s hand. Or leg. Or face, depending on which part is reachable during her current task. Cry a bit if she isn’t immediately available. Sit in Mummy’s lap and latch on. Chew for a bit. Run off and grab a big toy, or a book. Try to latch on again while standing holding said big toy or book, then try to twist into a sitting position without giving up the toy/book or the milk. Drink some milk, then chew, pull, twist and wriggle around a bit more. Start to fall asleep, still refusing to give up the milk and waking every time Mummy tries to make an escape. Hold on with teeth for extra grip. Finally let go of milk and sleep soundly for 10 minutes. Wake up. Repeat.

So this week I’ve been trying to get a balance between Elly getting enough rest and fluids, Zeph getting enough attention and excercise and me not going out of my mind.