As promised! A post on co-sleeping! And It seems to me that this topic is just as controversial as breastfeeding x formula feeding, for example.
Every single healthcare professional has told us NOT to sleep with our baby because there was a chance we could harm her. Well, I can see that. And for the longest time, more precisely 9 long months, I thought to myself that Helena was going to sleep in her room, in her crib, and so on… It turns out life has proved me wrong once again. She is nearly 7 months old and has NOT EVER spent a whole night in her crib, in her room!
Like I said, initially, I had no intensions of sleeping with her, and therefore, in the very first nights we would have her sleep in her crib, in her room. She would wake up SEVERAL times throughout the night and the 3-second walk to her room felt like climbing the Great Wall of China, from bottom to top, of course!
Naturally, we got a bassinet in our room. At first, it seemed like it was going to work great even though she was still feeding many times every night. She’d eat and fall asleep, but, as soon as I’d put her back in her bassinet, she would ALWAYS wake up crying. Basically, she was waking up now more often than before as I’d insist to keep her in her bassinet.
Finally, it happened! I no longer tried to put her back in there and allowed her to sleep with us. I felt so guilty the next day like I was an irresponsible mom, but, by 4 a.m, I just could not get up anymore. I needed some sleep! And it happened again and again. I would initially try the bassinet and, eventually, give up and let her sleep with us. I felt guilty for the longest time. REALLY guilty. It was horrible. But I had to do what I had to do.
Eventually I gave up crib/bassinet training altogether and had her sleep with us all night long. But the guilt was still there. One day I did something I should have done long before: I googled how to SAFELY co-sleep with my baby.
First, I learned that co-sleeping is not the same as bed-sharing. What I was doing was bed sharing, but most people use the expression co-sleeping even when they actually mean bed-sharing.
Anyway … Secondly, I read something I had never read before, but my instinct had already alerted me to the fact: Mothers are ALWAYS aware of their baby’s presence which is NOT true to Fathers.
Even when mothers are sleeping, they know their baby is there. I know that to be true because I would barely move throughout the night since I was so scared of hurting her. I could tell I was waking up in the very same position/spot I had initially fallen asleep in whereas my husband would totally forget the baby was there.
So, here it is! A list of things you can do to SAFELY bed share with your little one:
* Do NOT have daddy sleep next to the baby. It must be baby, then mommy, and finally, daddy. And that is because of the awareness previously mentioned.
* You can either push your bed close to the wall or buy rails in order to keep your little one from falling out of bed. I chose to buy bed rails because I think it is safer since there is always a gap between the bed and the wall. If you choose to push the bed to the wall make sure to fill the gap!
* Be very careful with covers and pillows. Your little one may get tangled in your covers. The best option is to keep them off your baby. Dress your baby warm so that you do not need to cover him/her.
Once I applied these changes, I did not feel guilty anymore and was able to enjoy sleeping with my Helena.
Eventually, my husband started to sleep in the spare room in order to maximize his sleeping hours which allowed Helena and I to have the bed completely to ourselves. I had the best nights of sleep, then! She would help herself to my breasts whenever she was hungry as I’d make them accessible.
Now, the three of us are sleeping together again. I have got to say that I love it! I mean, it is uncomfortable because Helena, now at almost 7 months, moves a lot, is a really fussy sleeper, but I can see that it truly helps her evolve. She feels confident and safe, she has a great night of sleep and not to mention that it helps prevent SIDS.
You must be thinking now ” What the h*** is she talking about now?”. Well, it is true. When you sleep with your little one it helps prevent SIDS because the baby tends to copy your sleeping pattern! Your little one will try to match his/her breathing to yours!
To me, bed sharing is like a continuation of the bond mother and baby had in the womb. The closeness, the warmth, the intensity of the connection! It certainly helps you to bond with your baby and vice-versa AS LONG AS YOU DO IT SAFELY.
If you are interested in bed-sharing, I HIGHLY recommend that you read more about it to make sure you are doing it right!
I will never quit saying the word SAFELY!! Do it safely!!! It is possible!!