Ok, sorry folks...I can't take this anymore. If you would like, you can blame OR thank Rick for this one. Either way - this is not a touchy subject per say, just bothersomely taboo.
Yes, we co-slept. When Soren was roughly 8 months he moved to his crib and at his first nightly nosh he stays with us - most nights until morning (when he seems restless, Rick puts him back to bed - we need a bigger bed...). And yes, I loved and still love it. Yes - it is challenging, but in the best ways. No - I NEVER came remotely close to crushing him, because here are a few things I did and DID NOT do while co-sleeping:
1. I didn't drink before bed (nor did I drink much at all while nursing until Soren
was about 5-6 months. One very small glass of wine or even half a beer - my son's
health is more important...)
2. We stripped the bed of everything but the necessary sheets.
3. I slept in the traditional, natural, instinctual position - on my side with my arm at an angle above my head, my legs curled up and my other arm around him. This is a natural protective instinct for mom. Crazy how that happens?!
4. My partner (Rick) NEVER consumed alcohol before bed.
5. Here's a biggie - I am breastfeeding. And I use the present because we still are at almost 16 months. This allows baby to wake up periodically - not keeping him satiating for unnaturally long periods of time thus preventing SIDS which startles mom for his feeding. You rarely ever fall into REM sleep, which could make harming yourself or baby more of a risk when getting up to retrieve them from an independent sleeping space.
So there are a few things we really thought out before we made this decision. Which, by the way - was not made until after we were home from the hospital. We more or less fell into it. Soren was a nurse 45 minutes, sleep 20 minutes type of newborn and I wasn't getting ANY sleep. This way - I was able to get some rest, my nipples started healing (sorry if that's TMI, but shoot - it happens...nipples chap people), my milk production leveled out so the engorging would STOP and Soren and I have an amazing relationship. I truly feel as if I have a sixth sense about him. More than that - Rick does too. This wasn't just for me, and the links that Rick sent me that resulted in this post go to show how much it means to him. I still catch him waking up at night to listen for Soren, bringing our babe into the bed to cuddle if it seems like he is having a hard time sleeping. This dad gets it. You should really see it for yourselves.
This is a father that isn't afraid of doing anything with his son - alone. I have to say, it is most endearing when you hear from other people how impressed they are with his confidence about handling his baby, especially - alone. Why? I guess to me it's obvious - but in today's society, I don't think it is. Co-sleeping has made Rick's sixth sense stronger. I do really believe that this necessary step in our attached parenting really paid off - for us both.
Rick has also worn Soren. Admittedly, he tried the sling which he couldn't get the hang of, but he did become an avid user of the baby Bjorn and our ERGObaby carrier. Now on to the back pack! This is a pop that refuses to push his child.
Can't believe it? - neither did I, but I love this about him.
Below are a couple links that inspired this rant. Again - you can thank Rick for them. It's nice to know I am not the only parent in this family that feels so passionately about this very, unnecessarily sore subject. When it comes to pregnancy, birth and parenting - knowing is really half the battle. The other is experience. Do what is right for your family and be smart about it.
1. Mayim Bilalik's Book Beyond the Sling
2. Mayim Bilalik's ABC interview (if you are anything like me, you will end up screaming at the screen - awful anchors...awful)
With the internet and an open line of communication between yourself and your partner - everyone is capable of making decisions that are right for their families.
Don't be afraid just because it might seem taboo. It's ok, it's actually recommended you nurse and for at least up to 2 years - not just for baby, but for yourself. It's ok to co-sleep, just be sure to take necessary pre-cautions. It's also ok for your baby to sleep independently if that is right for you - again though, be sure to take the necessary pre-cautions. They exist for that situation as well. My apologies if this seems slanted, but let's face it - it is. I have received more criticisms, furrowed brows and judgements for our natural birth, nursing, co- sleeping and wearing to put me on the defense...
But when it comes down to it - parenting is a blast, on any path you choose. They are precious and really do rely on us as parents to make their decisions for quite some time. Let us all do the best we can in that moment for our babes - they are looking to us for just that.