Posts Tagged ‘co-sleeping’

Silent Saturday: Co-Sleeping Brothers

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Some of the “joys” of co-sleeping that I don’t miss…

Can that really be comfortable?

Or how about this one?

Apparently it’s true that “Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet”.  ~Vietnamese Proverb

-Sarah 🙂

5 Tips for Co-Sleeping Families

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

 

Co-sleeping brothers

There’s plenty of information readily available on how to safely co-sleep, however there is far less information on the practicalities of co-sleeping. Yes, I know it sounds fairly easy and straightforward, however I’ve learned a few tricks over the past five years of co-sleeping. Here’s five simple tips for c0-sleeping families that utilize a family bed:

1. Have a large sleep surface– I know king sized mattresses are a lot more expensive (as is the bedding for a king sized mattress) however if you are a co-sleeping family it is likely to be a wise investment. More bed room means more comfortable sleep for everyone and less likely to result in dad getting booted out of the bed in the middle of the night. One of the benefits of co-sleeping is the deep emotional connection that is formed through close physical proximity. It’s equally important/beneficial for dad to be a part of that experience. We decided during my pregnancy with my first son that we would be a co-sleeping family so rather than spending money to create a nursery we decided to upgrade from a queen mattress to a king mattress. If a new mattress is on the horizon for you in the near future, perhaps consider going with the king sized bed to best accommodate/support your family bed. One thing that helped me swallow the cost was understand that a bed is: 1)something you use every night 2) a very infrequently purchased item and 3) that a good night’s sleep is important to overall health and wellness. Another option to purchasing a king mattress would be to have two queens pushed together.

2. Put your mattress(es) on the floor – Once baby is able to roll, I find it’s easiest to have the mattress on the floor. That way we don’t have to worry about baby falling off the bed during the night or at nap time (typically a common concern among bed-sharing families). Also from a very young age we ‘teach’ baby how to scoot backwards off the bed. This not only helps ensure baby’s safety it also foster some independence.

3. Make a ‘birth bed’ – In preparation for my home births, my midwife suggested I make my bed so that it would be easy to strip off dirty/soiled sheets to uncover a clean set of sheets underneath. I soon realized this was a great way to make the bed all the times because co-sleeping can occasionally result in extra fluids; babies spit up, diapers leak/ have blowouts, breasts leak milk, etc. It’s nice in the middle of the night to not have to find a clean set of sheets and make the bed when messes happen. I call it the ‘birth bed’ since it started with the home birth of my son. I have a water proof mattress cover on the bottom layer, then a clean fitted sheet, then a regular mattress cover, and then another fitted sheet. If a mess occurs I can easily remove the top two layers and then go right back to sleep.

4. Use a sleep sack – If you are concerned about use of blankets and such with baby, consider using a sleep sack to keep baby warm. Keep in mind that with co-sleeping extra body heat will help keep baby cozy warm too so a lot of extra layers are typically not necessary.

5. Ignore Negativity – There might be people in your life who do not support your choice to co-sleep or even make inappropriate comments to you about it. While that can create hurt feelings, confusion, and/or conflict try to shield yourself from the negativity of others. If you have chosen co-sleeping because you feel it is beneficial to your family and best meets everyone’s night time needs, frequently remind yourself of that. There is no need to convince anyone else of your co-sleeping beliefs…as long as it is working well for your family that is what counts.

What c0-sleeping tips do you have to share? Would love to hear from YOU! 🙂

Sweet dreams all! – Sarah

Thankfulness

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving I thought I would share a few things I am feeling extra thankful for today! 🙂

Midwives – I am grateful for midwives who compassionately support and empower women through pregnancy and childbirth. There is a saying “peace on earth begins with birth” and I believe that to be true!  In which case midwives are ambassadors of peace and love to us all.

Health – Sadly, it sometimes takes a health crisis to truly appreciate one’s health. Today I am full of deep gratitude for my health! I hope to humbly continue to recognize what a gift it is to have a strong, healthy body.

Co-Sleeping – I am thankful to be a co-sleeping family! I am happy that my hubby understands and supports our sleeping arrangement. I seriously cannot imagine any other bedtime arrangement. I am thankful for the conversations we have as we drift off to sleep. I am thankful for the night time cuddles as we play musical beds throughout the night. And I am most thankful to awake each morning next to sweet little faces.

Pets – Up until more recently I felt completely annoyed with my two dogs. I admittedly saw them as a “chore” and nothing more. Although that changed after I had a scary incident while running that involved a man threatening me. Ever since then I have been running with my dogs and have discovered a new appreciation for them. My younger dog actually makes a really great running partner! I feel reconnected to my dogs and am thankful for the protection they provide me.

Infertility – I honestly never imagined I would be thankful for the infertility we experienced when trying to conceive our first child. It was an extremely difficult and emotional time in my life. I deeply longed to be a mother and month after month (32 of them to be exact) I was met with disappointment. Now several years beyond and 3 children after infertility, I view it as a gift of time. By the time we actually had our first baby, my husband and I had been married for 6 years. Therefore we had plenty of time as a couple to develop a strong relationship before welcoming a baby into our lives. Additionally I was able to finish my graduate degree before having a baby. Not to say I couldn’t have completed my educational goals after becoming a mother, but it would have definitely been more challenging. We were also granted extra time to develop financial security before becoming parents. Shortly before I got pregnant with my first child, my husband secured a stable job which would allow me to be a stay-at-home mom. During the course of trying to conceive, I had many years to read about and reflect upon information regarding pregnancy, child birth, and mothering. Of course at the time I didn’t recognize the value in that, but now I realize and appreciate the positive impact it had on my birth and parenting choices. I have only recently viewed infertility as a gift which I feel reflects a great deal of inner peace and healing.

What are you thankful for today? Would love to hear from you!! 🙂

-Sarah

Top 5 Benefits of Co-Sleeping

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Co-Sleeping as a Conscious Parenting Choice

When I became pregnant with my first child we were living in a rather small house at the time. I was a bit concerned about all the “stuff” that usually accompanies a baby. How would all of it comfortably fit into our small space? I decided I would research to determine the top 5 pieces of baby equipment to purchase and limit ourselves to those. Surely I would discover if a swing was more important than a bouncy chair or an Exersaucer. Or perhaps I would find out if a changing table was really necessary.

Well, my research ended up taking me in a very different direction as I happened upon the concept of a “Family Bed” in an article questioning the need for a crib. See, I had assumed a crib was an essential, non-negotiable piece of baby equipment but here was this article that offered the idea of a “Family Bed” as an alternative. Needless to say my interest was definitely peaked and I googled “Family Bed” to learn more. Eventually I came across the term Co-Sleeping and the more I read, the more enchanted I became with the idea. So instead of buying a crib and associated nursery furniture, we upgraded to a king-sized bed to allow plenty of room for our soon-to-be co-sleeping baby. As I shared our co-sleeping intentions with others, I quickly realized what a controversial topic it can be from people thinking it’s unsafe, inappropriate, or just plain weird to sleep with your baby.

Thankfully there is a rather extensive body of research available that supports co-sleeping as not only a safe practice but also a beneficial one. Additionally, when we examine the anthropology of co-sleeping, we discover an innate desire to sleep close to our young has prevailed up until more recently. A shift has occurred in our cultural expectation of a baby to sleep independently through the night at a very young age. Where did this cultural expectation derive from and who does it benefit? While it might ensure parents get more sleep, I believe this cultural expectation to be potentially disruptive to the biological function and physiological sleep patterns of infants and young children.

Historically speaking, humans are a co-sleeping species just like all other mammals. A multitude of factors have influenced the current mainstream practice to have infants sleep independently. A few possible influences include medical institutions, consumerism, business entities, social class, as well as changes in family structure and dynamics. Of course, all of these factors are a valuable part of our culture and society, but they do not surpass the need for individuals to make educated, empowered, and personal decisions in regard to any parenting approach. In other words, if you feel drawn to the idea of co-sleeping explore it fully to make an informed decision for your family. Don’t be scared off by one individual claiming it to be unsafe and/or unhealthy. Honor the instinctual intuition you have to keep your little one close to you during the night knowing it is an enjoyable, beneficial and inherent tradition. The more you listen to your intuition as a parent, the stronger it becomes.

Daddy co-sleeping with his one week old son

Here’s a few ways co-sleeping has benefited my family:
1. Supported successful breastfeeding.
2. Allowed for bonding time and physical contact with working parent
3. Ease of traveling and flexibility in sleep space. We travel often and have never needed to pack a portable crib or request one at a hotel
4. Fostered sibling relationships
5. Made room-sharing an easy, practical arrangement. If every kid had their own bedroom it would impact the size of home we are comfortable in. A smaller living space has both economical and ecological benefits.

What are your thoughts on co-sleeping? Do you or did you co-sleep? In what ways has it benefitted your family? I would love to hear from you!

– Sarah

PS. When my second son was a few months old we participated in a co-sleeping study that was a collaborative effort between the State Department of Health and the local University. I was quite honored to be a part of an exciting project that aimed to re-evaluate state recommendations around safe sleeping arrangements for infants. Ultimately their agenda was to improve breastfeeding statistics and they recognized co-sleeping positively impacted a breastfeeding relationship.

Silent Saturday

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Co-sleeping Babies