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Cosleeping – Being Beauty Instead of the BEAST

copyright Daniel Kordek

Lets face it, having a newborn means most days we wake up looking like complete and utter hell. Makeup? WHAT? Do my hair? When? We can agree that on a typical day we walk around looking like the Beast from Beauty and the Beast instead of Belle. But do we have to? I’ve learned that one of the most controversial topics when it comes to child rearing is whether or not to sleep with your child in the bed with you. Who knew cosleeping would be such a hot topic? From the moment I had my son, the nurses were constantly coming into the room ensuring that I was awake and reminding me that he needed to be put back in his  bassinet before I closed my eyes. They made it clear there was No bed sharing. This did not change when I had my daughter either and quite frankly it annoyed me. I carried this child around for 40 weeks (41 with my Bug) and your telling me that now that he’s here I can’t just inhale and love on him all night long? Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the dangers and I am in no way saying that my perspective is better than a doctors. But, I have to be one of the heaviest sleepers known to mankind and even the slightest sound my littles make wake me up these days. So this mama is Pro sleeping with her babies.

What is Cosleeping?

For the new mommies and mommies to be, let me be the first to tell you that cosleeping is exactly what is says. You sleep with your little one. It is still very important to keep baby on their back when sleeping with you. Also ensure that their space is free of loose covers and/or toys and pillows. These days, they have lots of fancy products (also known as cosleepers) that you can put in the bed with you or adjacent to your bed. This is to prevent rolling over or suffocating your babies, which is valid concern and very scary. I personally prefer the foot in the face or the arm wrapped around my neck. You can’t beat that closeness! I don’t need the bassinet by the bed or the crib in the room. I have a California King big enough for the three of us. 🙂

Advantages:

I promise I’m going to give this to you in prose but let me break it down to you in layman’s terms, cosleeping is EASIER! I am a breastfeeding mama which means that the feedings every two hours for the newborn doesn’t involve me getting completely out of bed, waking myself up by turning on lights and having to fight to go back to sleep. All the while, bee is knocked and drooling on my boob. Not only that, I also don’t have to run the risk of her waking up fully as I try tand lay her back down in her bassinet or crib due to her losing the comfort and warmness of my body. Could you imagine being nice and cozy for 9 1/2 months to being subjected to cold sheets every night? Me either. As such, because she’s right next to me, I can easily find her and feed her and not have to readjust my poor eyes to bright lighting and navigating hallways. Simple enough right? I get more sleep, bee gets more sleep and when we wake up to start our days we aren’t glaring each other down with drowsy red eyes. The goal is to be a fab mommy with happy babies. HELLOOOO, we want to look like beauty, not the beast each day.

What about the toddler?

With my Bug it’s a little different. We started out bed sharing and it just never ended. But I am A-okay with that. Bug is very big on having physical contact. He rubs my arm or holds my hand until he goes to sleep at night. I can also say he is very attuned to my emotions and great at identifying his own. I love the secure attachment that we have. Even when he’s not sleep, he is constantly finding time throughout the day to come and sit under me or hug me or even just to give me a simple kiss on the cheek. I believe that this derives from the original bond we created from birth. I am all about attachment parenting (blog coming soon) and the positive affects. Cosleeping is just one of the principles. Some people view this as being detrimental to the children in the long run. You’ll see questions come up such as:

Will the child have trouble sleeping alone when you no longer want to share your bed? Will this increase separation anxiety? 

Although my oldest is only 2, I will tell you that is not the case at all. He will take naps in his room no problem. When family or friends want to come and get him for overnights (or longer like his grandma) he still sleeps through the night. He will even sleep in separate arrangements all alone. At home, he just prefers to sleep with me, and I love it! As far as separation anxiety goes, even from when he was a tiny bug, it was never a concern. He didn’t cry when others wanted to hold him or took him into another room. As he aged and became mobile, he never second guessed leaving a room or my side. He’s always been very independent and self-assured. I am already seeing the same signs in my Bee (3 month old). She loves the contact regardless of who its from and does not panic when I am out of eyesight. Not to mention, she’s pretty much sleeping throughout the night. More importantly, I’m not walking around looking like Frankenstein all day. Hooray for raising confident kids!

The Downside:

What? There’s a downside? Why yes, for every high there is a low. However, I believe that these particular “negatives” are quite subjective. For instance, some parents don’t like constant contact or having their child under them 24/7. This is quite alright. Cosleeping does not mean there is an absence of boundaries. You can set your comfort level with children early. They are very receptive to routines, so practice what works for you early. I am also a strong believer in children having some alone time. Kids need time to explore and discover new things on their own. Trust me, they’ll be that much more excited to share it with you when you reconnect.

What about ‘Adult Time’?

Now that is a valid question. How are you suppose to get some love and mommy attention with the kiddos in your bed every night? Time to get creative mamas! If you get some time during the day, put the littles down for a nap in their respective beds. Or, you could even try out a different area in the house while they are in your bed. Experiment with different times in the day. Early morning, lunch time quickies, late at night. I promise its not impossible. And as much as you love to connect and snuggle with the babies, you have to take care of you as well. Get your swerve on! 😉

 

The Breakdown:

  • Improves sleeping for mommy and baby
    • Less sleep interruptions, better nighttime routines, reduction in anxiety
  • Builds secure attachment
  • Breastfeeding mamas maintain (even boost) milk supply from close proximity
  • Builds confidence which equates to less separation anxiety
  • Allows parents to get creative with ‘adult time’ and keep the spark alive
  • Best of all, it makes it EASY

 

Its hard being a mommy, especially a new mommy. Constantly checking a monitor at night or getting out of the bed to ensure that the baby is breathing can drive you crazy. Although valid concerns, you want to work smarter not harder. Constant crying throughout the night (letting the baby cry it out), getting up to go back and forth to baby, soothing and  learning to adjust are some are the top factors leading to postpartum depression. Its hard to pull yourself away from that dark place. You being stressed only leads to baby being stressed and then next thing you know you’re hiding in a closet bawling your eyes out with a crying child waiting on you to decipher and fix what’s wrong with them. Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic. But, I’ve been there. It happens. So try it out, ignore the critics and trust your instinct. If it’s not for you there is no shame, but if you try and it and love it I promise you’ll wonder why every mama in the world doesn’t snuggle with their little every night.

Happy Sleeping Mamas!


 

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