Hello Squeezers! Hope you all had an awesome and relaxing Memorial Day weekend with your families and friends (and hope you didn't forget to remember those who gave up their lives so that we can enjoy ours). Ours was packed with beach excursions, kid birthday parties, play dates, and BBQ outings and though exhausted, we had a blast. And somewhere in that exhaustion, Coco and I decided to start binge-watching Mad Men!
Seems like now as a parent, my social calendar automatically includes at least one kid birthday party a week. Seriously, my May and June weekends involve some sort of birthday celebration that Maya has to attend. I'm constantly buying birthday gifts and eating way too many cupcakes.
The pregnancy has been uneventful this week, and that's a good thing! I've been feeling fantastic, though the heat is starting to affect me a bit more. My energy level drains a lot quicker with a summer pregnancy compared to my winter pregnancy with Maya. Rocco has been moving nonstop inside my belly, particularly between 11pm-3am (I only know because of that Mad Men binge I previously mentioned)! I love feeling him move inside me. It's one of my favorite things about pregnancy. I can't wait until I start seeing some space alien action like a tiny leg or elbow protruding through my skin and moving from side to side.
Tomorrow I have my monthly appointment with the OB so next week I'll have more clinical updates for you!
|Adventures in co-sleeping.|
I'm going to get straight into the nitty gritty of this week's post which is co-sleeping. For those of you that don't know the exact definition of what co-sleeping entails, it is 'a practice in which babies and young children sleep close to one or both parents, as opposed to in a separate room. Co-sleeping is better explained as a practice where two individuals sleep in sensory proximity to one another (the individual senses the presence of the other). This sensory proximity can either be triggered by: touch, smell, taste, or noise. Therefore, the individuals can be a few centimeters away or on the other side of the room and still have an effect on the other' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Co-sleeping). It's a hot-button issue that has parents divided or keeping mum. The topic of co-sleeping comes with a certain taboo that many parents either don't like to talk about or avoid talking about all together because we've been told that co-sleeping is bad and if you do it, you're irresponsible and putting your baby in danger.
Like anything that has to do with parenting, it's about what works best for you and your family and it also heavily depends on what kind of child you have. Some babies are great sleepers, some, not so much. Just ask any sleep-deprived caregiver. While reading this article by famed pediatrician, Dr. Sears, I realized that even medical professionals deal with this issue. They aren't exempt from the same parenting scenarios that we all have to deal with ( http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/sleep-problems/co-sleeping-yes-no-sometimes). As new parents and/or parents-to-be, we are continuously bombarded with opinions about whether it's safe or not to sleep with your child. We are told by our pediatricians and the plethora of baby books on the market that co-sleeping will kill your child and the fear of SIDS can plague you to the point of neurosis. But parents have been co-sleeping their children for centuries. In other countries where crib-sleeping is non-existent, parent and child(ren) have always slept together. It's the natural thing to do, like breastfeeding. America seems to be one of the very few countries (if not the only one), to preach against co-sleeping. Why are we taught against it?
It was a recent article in People Magazine by actress/model, Milla Jovovich, that prompted me to want to open a co-sleeping dialogue amongst other moms (http://celebritybabies.people.com/2015/05/15/milla-jovovich-cosleeping-crying-it-out-parenting/). In the article, she talks about how both her and her husband choose to sleep with their children because it keeps them connected as a family unit in a world dominated by so much modern technology and distraction. She refers to the 'disconnect' that Western culture promotes by keeping babies separate from parents. I didn't necessarily agree with everything she mentioned but it got me thinking. Is there a right or a wrong when it comes to co-sleeping?
When I was pregnant with Maya, I heard everything from, 'Whatever you do don't let your kids sleep with you. Once you get them sleeping in your bed, you'll never get them out,' to 'Sleeping with your kids is the best feeling in the world and it'll only bring you closer together.' I never really formed an opinion in regards to co-sleeping while I was pregnant. My plan was always to have her sleep in her bassinet until she was four months old and then transfer her to her crib. If she cried, I assumed I would let her cry it out and she would fall back asleep on her own. We were extremely blessed that Maya was such a good sleeper. She was pulling six hour sleep stretches after two and a half weeks. I know this isn't the norm, and we were lucky in that sense. With the exception of teething, growth spurts, or having to wake up to give her the pacifier, she slept wonderfully and she slept on her own. As an infant, she slept in her crib and we did let her cry it out when she would get fussy. We rarely ever brought her into the bed with us, mostly because I was deathly afraid i would suffocate her. But there were many times we let her come into our bed to nap with us (thought she did roll off the bed on one occasion). Also, when we would go on vacation or if she was sick, she slept with us. She was also not a fan of hotel cribs or any pack n' play, so the decision for us was easy. Now as a toddler, we are experiencing the co-sleeping issue firsthand. Coco and I are in a unique situation where Maya sleeps in our room. We have a large one bedroom apartment and when we moved to Miami, I automatically transitioned her into a toddler bed in a small area of the room. It was important for me that she sleep in her own bed and learned a sense of sleep Independence that didn't involve sleeping with us but it was something that would require consistency and effort on both our parts. Here's the thing. I love my sleep, as most people do. I also love to hog up the bed, which sucks for Coco (we may start off all cute and cuddly, but then it's every man for himself). But anything that's going to let me sleep, is what's going to work for me and for us, ultimately. At the moment, Maya sleeps in her toddler bed for the majority of the night, sometimes she'll stay there through the night, but for the most part, she wakes up between 4-5am and wants to crawl into bed with us and we don't care. Actually, we love it. If it were up to Coco, she would sleep with us every night. I tend to go for the half and half method. And when she does fall asleep with us in bed because we are watching a movie or reading books, we will transfer her to her bed or just let her stay with us. Why? For two reasons: If she sleeps, I sleep. And yes, there's the occasional kick to the face, the upside down sleeping positions, the constant worrying she's going to soccer punch my belly, but despite all those nuances, I get my eight hours and she sleeps her 10-12. We have a happy baby and happy parents. Secondly, there's no sweeter feeling than cuddling with her. She's at that age where she snuggles up against me and grabs my arm to lock it around hers, and I simply melt. I love spooning with her and I realize there will come a time when she's not going to want to sleep with me or she'll be way too old to be in bed with us. She's going to grow up and I want to enjoy the now, which is waking up next to her. Nothing gets Coco and I more excited than seeing her happy face when we open our eyes first thing in the morning. It makes it easy to forget the hand whack one of us probably endured in the middle of the night. We wouldn't change it for the world. As far as Rocco goes, we will play it by ear. What worked with Maya may not work for him, but we will certainly keep him in his crib and sleeping on his own as long as possible and go from there!
Why is there shame or parenting judgement if we are co-sleep believers or not? We should be able to discuss openly with other parents and keep in mind that every family's need is different and whether our kids have never been in our bed or they have a permanent zip code in it, we all have our reasons and circumstances for doing it. I rounded up a posse of moms and got their two cents on the issue of co-sleeping and what I found was that they all had different reasons or rationalizations as to why they co-sleep or not!
Where do you fall on the co-sleeping spectrum? See what these moms had to say.
Veronica (mom of 2 )- I do not believe in co-sleeping because they make too much noise and I can't sleep. Sleep is crucial for my sanity. We use the rock n play and one of us stays next to the newborn in the living room depending on what shift we are doing. For example I usually go to sleep as soon as A goes down around 8, and Alec takes next feed or two. Then I do the following shift/feeding after that. Basically we both need sleep to function so we do whatever we can so each of us gets a good chunk if possible.
Viviana (mom of 2)- We cosleep our oldest, our youngest isn't interested. Some nights are tougher with her in bed but when we wake up in the morning together, it just seems right. She starts the night in her bed and comes to ours some night. On weekends, she just starts in our bed. Again, the mornings are so much better, it just seems right to start the day as a family in the same bed.
Jessie- (mom of 3)- I don't believe in co-sleeping because it's the sacred time that you have alone with your husband. However, we do it bc it feels so good and we are both obsessed with the kids.
Krizia (mom of 1)- I am not a fan of co-sleeping. I feel that when they are newborns it's the perfect time to train them right into the crib. Plus with all the fancy monitors there are now you can watch them and hear every cry and coo. And because of of SIDS, the pediatrician recommends the baby sleeping in your room for the first 6 months minimum. So we did the reverse. Sofia slept in her crib for the first 3 months and then my husband would keep on seeing all these things about SIDS and recalling what our pediatrician said he was like, what if our baby dies at night because she wasn't in our room? And so she slept in her pack and play in my room. Then around 8-9 months, Sofia started sleeping in our bed because I got too lazy when she would wake up in the middle of the night and it was just easy for her to lay in bed with us and let us sleep. When we moved, I refused for Sofia to keep sleeping with us. I hate the constant kicking and feet in my face ( She was 18 months.) So I bought her a big girl bed and made a huge deal of it and she started sleeping in her bed. I would lay with her to fall asleep but at least I am the one in control of being either in her bed or out of her bed. Plus my husband's mom was super into co-sleeping and his younger sister slept with them in their bed till she was 12. I refuse to let that happen.
Sole- (mom of 1)- I do not believe in co sleeping. We like to keep sleep time separate mainly because I think it helps children with independence and routine . Of course the occasional co sleeping arrangement is ok if our child is sick or we are on vacation. We have seen that it is a very difficult transition for some children to be separated at night time from their parents if they have not become used to sleeping on their own.
Karla (mom of 1)- Luckily we never had to choose. Carolina's transition from crib to bed was really easy and so far she has been a good sleeper (with a few off nights here and there). However, if she hadn't been this easy I would probably give in and let her sleep with us. Taking care of a baby on no sleep doesn't work for me. I morph into a zombie with zero motor skills and zero common sense. So, I guess this makes me an advocate. Taking care of a baby is hard and I think each parent should do what works best for them without being judged. What works for one family might not work for the other. If parents chose to co sleep they should make sure it's safe. Besides, snuggling with your little one is incredibly delicious and good for the soul! :)
Liza (mom of 1)- Prior to the birth of my son, I never thought I would co-sleep but since my son's arrival that has totally changed. I know there are polar opposite views on the subject but simply put - it works for us! Continuous sleep was a big factor and just knowing he is close is a wonderful feeling. He has grown so fast as it is so instead of dreading the commentary or negative connotation of co-sleeping we've decided to embrace it and enjoy it not only because it works for us, but before we know it he'll be all grown up.
Candy- (mom of 2)- I do co-sleep because I feel that sometimes I need sleep and the only way for my child to sleep is with me. Guilt sets in that my child is only going be this small for so long and not going to want me laying with them anymore when they get older. Sometimes it's hard to break the habit of your child coming into your bed because you want to actually snuggle with your spouse instead. As soon as they fall asleep, I always transfer them to their bed.
Kelly- (mom of 1)- We did room sharing. He was in his bassinet in our room for maybe 2 or 3 months. Then he went to his own room in his crib. He wasn't a good sleeper at times. He would wake up in the middle of night then would sleep with us from time to time and we would sneak him back to his crib. Right after turning one year old, he now prefers sleeping alone on the couch! We sneak him to his full size bed, but he prefers the couch! I'm not all for the co-sleeping, I feel there's a better sense of independence with the child. I'm also not against it 100%. I have mixed feelings about it.
Michele (mom of 2)- I didn't co-sleep out of fear I would create a bad habit. I also felt that if I co-slept I wouldn't sleep as well and as you know, mommy's sleep is limited already with a newborn around. With Connor, we put him in his crib on day one since he was a noisy sleeper. With Whitney, she slept in a bassinet in our room for three months.
Vanessa (mom of 1)- I don’t believe in co-sleeping. I have even purchased another bed to sleep in the same room as my soon to avoid sleeping together. The few nights I had to let him sleep with me, I was up all night from the kicking and concern he would fall off the bed. At the end of the day, I feel it’s a habit you don’t want to start because it’s impossible to break in the end.
Pam (mom of 1)- My almost three year old wakes up and comes into our bed sometimes and that’s okay with us. But I wouldn’t co-sleep with a baby under two. It’s too dangerous. I never took the chance and why risk it?
See you all next week with all new updates and a fresh topic of discussion!