I've had a few people ask me recently when I'm thinking of putting Bella into her own room. When I say I'm not going to I get that look. I've no intention yet of putting her into her own room, for a few reasons. Namely because I like her being close to me, I know she likes it. Its better for her all round well being to be with us. She would also be sharing with her sister, and whilst she's a better sleeper these days she still wakes and I'd not want to wake Kooks up unnecessarily.
Right from the beginning with Bella I vowed not to succumb to pressure this time. This included sleep arrangements to name a few. Not to do what I thought I should do, or what others around me did. Nope. I did that first time round and it made for a stressed me and unhappy baby. Second time around we bed shared and co slept for about 6m, but then I decided to follow 'advice' and move her into her own room.
This time? She can stay here as long as she likes 🙂 we slept in the same end for three blissful months. It was bliss too. Everytime she wanted a feed she literally turned her head, latched on and fed whilst we both snoozed in a endorphin filled haze. I felt she was safer too next to me. I felt in tune with her and her breathing and actually this is proven (see below). She didn't need to cry to tell me she wanted something, I was in tune with her. It was bliss. We had a cosleeper attached to our bed, and when she was about three months I used to pop her into it for the first part of the night as she was more fidgety by this age and I felt we both got better sleep for a few hours. Oh, until this point she stayed downstairs with us until we came to bed. Where did she sleep? On one of our chests. Then we came up to bed, her in the cosleeper as mentioned. Then around the early hours at feed time she would be gently slid over when I heard her stir and we'd feed and then I'd keep her next to me for the duration. When she got too big for the cosleeper her big cot got put up and she was still next to us, this time with the cot side off to allow easy sliding into my bed. When the rolling started the side came up for safety reasons. She is now on my level still, and I sometimes sleep with my hands through the bar holding hers. Most mornings she's in with us by six am. Just because.
Why is society so obsessed with making these little babies conform to sleeping alone, in a room from such a young age? We seem in such a rush to make these things happen and what for? Then we look back and moan they've grown up too quick. I've not taken my decisions lightly. I've done what feels natural then read up on it. I've read some great stuff and its enforced what I thought. Babies who co sleep with their parents are not going to grow up clingy (told you so). They can be more confident. A babies brain is not fully developed at birth so it relies on its caregiver to give the essential contact needed to develop. A babies immune, respitory and thermo-regularity systems coupled with dependence on touch are all tied together to promote efficient functioning of these immature organs to function efficiently.
I read this recently:
Perhaps all of the above examples i.e. how the parents sensory proximity changes the infant’s physiology in a positive way explain why separate surface cosleeping is lifesaving. At least three epidemiological studies show that infants sleeping close to an active, caregiver, an potentially able to exchange sensory stimuli (combining periodic touch, vision, smells, vocalizations, movement cues, breathing sounds, CO2 gas, as well as breastmilk) on close but separate surfaces cuts an infant’s chances of dying from SIDS or from some other asphyxia event anywhere from a third to a half (see Carpenter et al. 2004; Mitchell and Thompson 1995; Blair et al. 1995).
So in short, it keeps them safe. If done safely of course. Yet people STILL raise their eyebrows at it, and still mutter those words. I hate it when people say 'yeah well my aunties sisters best friends cousins dog did it and was ok'. I get this all the time with my job. It's usually when talking to a woman about giving up smoking and they tell me their mum smoked / drank and had 18 kids who were all ok. That's not research love. Since becoming a midwife anecdotal evidence means nothing to me anymore! A quick google doesn't equate to doing research either. I want to read proper research before making decisions. I know smoking causes miscarraige, increases cot death. I know drinking kills growing babies brain cells and is linked to small babies and learning and behavioural diffculties later on in life. Get me? I don't base all my decisions on research mind. I'm kind of a swing it type mum too, and hope for the best. I'm just interested in some things and sleep habits is one of them. Again the midwife in me likes to look at research.
So look. I know its seen as the norm to put babies to sleep on their own, in their room. You know what, whilst it's not for me I have no problems worth someone else doing it. It doesn't affect me. It's not what me or my baby will do, and that's fine. I won't stand there and say ooh why would you do that, do you realise your baby will grow up clingy? Or your baby will grow up detached from you because you left him to cry it out? No of course I wouldn't. Because as with bottle feeding, we pussy foot around these women for fear of offending them. Yet when someone does things the opposite way, being led by their baby and doing things that they and their baby love, and thrives on its seen as 'different' and open to judgement and comments.
I'll leave it at that. For now 🙂