Trust me, I understand. In the average day I need to prepare at least one large balanced meal (lunch is usually leftovers from prior days, and breakfast is typically simple, but I generally spend a good hour on dinner). I chase a toddler around all day. I break up world war III (or IV or V) between my sons on a regular basis. I clean the house. I sew or knit. I may have errands to run or people to see. And yeah, I spend some time online chatting with friends, commenting on their facebook statuses, and attempting to enlighten the world via my blog. Yes, I need my sleep as much as anyone.
But I don't believe in leaving a baby alone to cry. I think it's psychologically damaging to a young infant to abandon them like that. (Go ahead, feel offended, this is my blog, I'm going to give my opinion!) ☺
So what is my solution? Simple: co-sleeping.
Co-sleeping can mean several different things. It might mean bedsharing (where the infant is in bed with mother). It might mean having a sidecar bed (where the infant's bed is adjacent to mother's). It might mean having the baby in his own bed across the room from mom--but still in the same room. The point is not the exact sleeping arrangement, the point is that they are sharing sleep.
Many breastfeeding mothers choose bedsharing because they can literally just half-wake, slip the breast into the baby's mouth, and drift back to sleep. Bear shared our bed until he was past 2. He also didn't night wean until then. Both Hubby and I would have preferred to have him move into his own bed (and nightwean) a little earlier than he did, but every kid is different and that was just what Bear seemed to need at the time.
Some people have difficulty with bedsharing because they get 'touched-out' and need some space in order to sleep soundly. My sister is one of these people, and my little Eagle is another. My sister puts her babies in their own bed near hers, so that she can attend to them when they need her, but she can still sleep between times. Eagle enjoys snuggles during bedtime, but once he's asleep he stays asleep much longer if I put him in the sidecar crib rather than keeping him nestled next to me.
Here is our current arrangement:
(And no, we don't usually make the bed--you're right that is a bit of a hassle with the crib there--but we didn't usually make it before anyway. Today I made it specially for taking this photo for you. Don't you feel special?!)
You can see that my bed is scooted right against his, and that they are the same height. I have a few things in the bed there with him too. First, a small pillow (to keep him sleeping on an incline, so that he doesn't get stuffed up). I lay a cotton blanket out under him (over the pillow) and then I grab a crochet blanket or two to put over him--I like using them because they are warm but they are also full of holes--so I don't have to worry about him accidentally pulling it over his face because he would be able to breathe through it.
One thing that has proven to be very convenient about the sidecar arrangement is that I keep a little box there. It has my water bottle and chapstick, gripe water, diaper cream, the binkie, a burp cloth or two, plus some wipes and my nighttime diapers. They are always right at hand so I don't have to clamber out of the bed for anything during the night. If you look back to the first photo, you can see that there is also a pair of wool longies hanging over the end of the crib...I often put them there to air out because I always use them at night.
Eagle seems to like the arrangement ♥