Where to sleep?

Okay, full disclosure, we co-sleep and I love it!

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I know, I know, it’s horrible, the worst thing I could do for my child. He’ll get dependent on it. I’ll have to have him in our bed forever. -I’ve heard it all!

But in the end it works for us, so I don’t need to hear it -thanks!

First of all, when I was pregnant, I was 100% against co-sleeping. I thought it would feel weird, I would feel uncomfortable and it just wouldn’t work (I thought I would roll over my child in the middle of the night). But in reality, it is glorious! I cannot imagine any other way working for OUR FAMILY (yes folks, it is our family we make the shots, not you, or Sally, or John so comments are not necessary).

If you’ve read this article you know why O was comfortable with sleeping with us from the beginning, so it just kind of happened this way. Babies have an incredible way of just disturbing your expectations and creating a beautiful pattern which works for you. Anyways, back to co-sleeping.

My fear of rolling over my child was ridiculous, I doubted the mother instinct until I became a mother and let me tell you, it is insane!

He could move a finger, in my dead sleep and I’d wake up. For real. It’s a mom thing. Anytime he moves, takes a deep breath, starts getting hungry, starts waking up, I wake up instantly. Aside from that I never move in my sleep anymore. It’s the craziest instinct, I’m not sure how it happened but I sleep in one position, like a barrier to protect my baby (again, crazy mom instinct). So, if this is your fear as well, trust me when I say, our bodies do not fail us. And yes, I am well rested at night despite this.

Secondly, there are so many advantages to co-sleeping. Especially if your an exclusively breastfeeding mama.

Don’t even get me started on “SIDS”, but studies have shown that co-sleeping encourages the babies to breathe in a more regular pattern. Meaning it lowers the risk of them to stop breathing. This happens as they feel their mothers breathing body with every breath and get in sync with their breathing encourage long them to continuously breathe -seems logical anyways.

It creates a healthy bond. I love cuddling and feeling someone close, so why wouldn’t a new baby who knows no one or nothing in this world other than their mom and dad? They’ve heard their mothers heartbeat in the womb for 9 months, so having their mother close enough to hear her heartbeat is reassuring and comforting to them.

For breastfeeding moms, it is so easy! You don’t have to wake up, stand up, take baby out of the crib, stay up to breastfeed, put them down then go back to bed (I wouldn’t be able to fall back asleep). You simply feed them, laying down, they fall asleep and then you drift off shortly after as well. It is so easy and relaxing!

All advantages aside, of course co-sleeping can be dangerous if you don’t take the right precautions. We have a king size bed, and I would never attempt co-sleeping in anything smaller, I’d wouldn’t leave us with enough room. Take away any pillows, blankets or things that could suffocate your child. Put up a guard or rail on the edge of your bed to prevent anything from happening. And lastly don’t ever co-sleep under the influence of alcohol or drugs (even over the counter medicine as it can make you sleepier than your normal state). We take all these precautions and when we sleep in hotels or anywhere but home, we even go the extra mile (I have taken foams off of beds, not used pillows or blankets) you name it.

To some it may seem ridiculous, unnecessary and perhaps odd, but we have THE happiest baby, we all get 8+ hours of sleep every night and he has the comfort of knowing that his mom and dad are never far away from him.

And ps, to the woman who told me that my son will always want to sleep with me, you know because your son was the same way after you co-slept. I ask you, does he still come to bed to sleep with you at age 32?

 

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Sleeping baby

I have to say, ever since O was born he’s been a pretty good sleeper but I do think that the environment and routine we have implemented is really helpful.

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To be honest, before I had him, we had envisioned him sleeping peacefully beside our bed in his crib until 6 months, then move him into his own room -I have to laugh at the thought of it. I know some people where this works for their family and that is great! Every family works differently, however, for us, this just wasn’t how it worked best.

First off, O had amniotic fluid still in his lungs after birth (a normal situation) which caused him to kind of choke, cough a lot. Of course, this is scary, and being first time parents, we were terrified. So, my husband and I took turns sleeping while the other held him while he slept to make sure everything was okay (this may be extreme to some of you but it gave us peace of mind).

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So after the first week or so, he was used to, and we were used to, him sleeping around us. I was also exclusively breastfeeding him, so it was extremely unpractical for me to have him sleeping in his crib, have to take him out, feed him and try to put him back afterwards since he’d always fall asleep while he ate. So, I would have him sleep next to me, when he would get hungry, I heard him routing and would feed him laying down, after he would fall asleep I would then too. My husband was able to sleep through this all (thank goodness because he had to go to work the next day), my son wasn’t put through any discomfort and I was able to easily fall back to sleep. It was (and has been) wonderful.

I know a lot of people are not keen on co-sleeping, but to be honest, there are so many advantages to it. You can read more about it here.

But back to the beginning of our routine. We initially started with a routine at about 6 weeks when we were able to start bathing him. We have since changed his bedtime, but the routine always stays the same regardless of the time. This has also helped us with traveling in different time zones.

So we start with some calming activity, usually reading a book, going for a walk or gently playing with a toy. Afterwards I bathe him. After the bath I blow dry his hair, massage his body with coconut oil, and put on his pjs.

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From there we go into the bedroom (everything is dark to avoid stimulation after the bath) and I breastfeed him in the dark while laying down, generally he falls asleep, however if he doesn’t I simply pick him up and hum a song while holding him and he falls asleep. It is a very simple process and he never cries or fusses and I am at peace because I know he’s gone to bed happy (there’s something about him going to bed crying that disturbs me).

For napping we also have a (somewhat simpler) routine. We close the blinds turn on some running water white noise and gently rock him to sleep. It takes about 5 minutes, sometimes 10 and he’s generally easy to put down. His naps are usually 30 minutes in length and he has one nap a day for 1.5 hours in the morning. I was interested in starting a routine, but to be honest it never worked for us and I was more stressed out than anything.

Now he’s such a happy baby and has made his own routine more or less.

What’s worked for your family’s sleeping arrangement?

Thanks for reading!