Sunday, June 27, 2010
The joys of Co-Sleeping
Looking back, I remember reading ominous warnings about the "dangers" of sharing sleep with a baby...magazines made it seem as if only irresponsible parents would bring a baby into their bed..and if they did, their child would surely suffocate, be laid upon, or fall to their deaths. I remembered these magazine articles as I stumbled through my first week as a parent- sleep deprived, foggy-minded, and somewhat overcome with the new world we had just stepped into...sleep was not happening for any of us. Wesley was an active baby in the womb; especially during the evening. His transition into our world proved the same habit! While he nursed to sleep in my arms, the moment I set him down, he startled and woke. I stared at the bassinet next to our bed...one morning at 5 am, I stopped listening to the voice of society, magazines, movies, well-intentioned friends, etc. Wesley slept on my chest, as I was STILL too afraid to let him sleep on the surface of our bed.
Over the next few nights, we decided to have our little boy join us in our bed, as a family. Even better was when I realized that many mothers from our local La Leche League shared sleep with their children. It has been the best parenting decision we have made thus far (ok...breastfeeding is probably #1!) Co-sleeping families will attest, there's nothing like waking up next to the 2 people you love the most...not to mention the security of having your little one safe next to you, instead of down the hall...
Don't get me wrong. Its not for everyone...especially those who drink, take sedatives, smoke, or have unsafe co-sleeping arrangements. We replaced our old homemade bed rails today with much larger, taller ones- giving our bed a cozy, fortress/playpen-like appearance. We even joked about making a tent or a teepee...(hmmm...)
One of my favorite authors on the subject recently passed away. "The Family Bed", by Tine Thevenin was essential in our choice to co-sleep. Ms. Thevenin, age 68, died peacefully in her home on June 10th. Her life's focus had been on protecting those who cannot protect themselves: children, animals, and the environment. As she had taught many of us, may she rest in beautiful peace.