Hello dear ones! Welcome to another Life with Baby post. Today I want to talk about sleep. Then at the end I have a picture of the shadow box I put together of Leeland’s birth and all our hospital memorabilia.
Last time I shared several hacks/ ideas for making baby life easier. You may remember that we side carred our crib to make it a co-sleeper. Here’s a picture of it. You’ll find directions on my previous Life with Baby post.
For now let’s talk about the controversy of sleep.
When Michael (my nine year old) was a baby, I knew very little about how babies should sleep. I picked up a little book called “Baby Wise”. Chris and I made up a schedule and by the time Michael was 3 months he was sleeping through the night. He was also on formula though. And Michael had his own room.
Leeland is a different baby. I am still mainly breastfeeding him at four months and hope to continue for awhile. Also, Leeland sleeps in our room still. We don’t have a separate nursery this time. Its been nine years and I am a different mama. Michael never cried it out for hours, but he did cry some. my eldest has turned out well and I’m not worried about him. We did the best we could as new parents and I think we could’ve done a lot worse.
So…to co-sleep or not to co-sleep? To sleep train or to follow baby’s cues? Cry it out or comfort?
These are big questions and people are passionate on both sides. For me, I want Leeland and myself to both sleep well. My baby is important, but I can’t be a good mom if I can’t function. I’m human. I need sleep. So does he. We needed a compromise.
So I tried to sleep train. Leeland would not self soothe. I could not handle him crying for long, and he could not either. So I did what I didn’t with Michael, I rocked Leeland to sleep. It worked for a bit, but soon I was walking the floor at night. Leeland cried. I may have cried too. It was clear that I was dealing with a different kid. Leeland may look like his bubba, but he is not Michael part 2.
So one night I did what felt natural and the only solution I had for my sanity at the time, I breastfed the baby to sleep. He was happy. I was happy. But I didn’t feel safe having him in the bed. Several of my friends co-sleep with their kids, but it was new to me. If I fell asleep while feeding Leeland, I worried about me or Chris rolling on him. I kept the covers down near my legs, but I still worried the baby would suffocate. Also, it was painful on my back when I had to lift Leeland into his crib. I have scoliosis. If he woke up we’d have to start the process over. Our solution? Side carring the crib to turn it into a co-sleeper.
I love the crib now. It is a safe way to co-sleep for us. I’m able to breastfeed and relax myself. I enjoy having Leeland near. I used to believe that co-sleeping would mess up the marriage bed. It hasn’t. Chris and I still have a romantic relationship. We are probably both more sane, because we are actually getting sleep. I feel like I can keep a good eye on Leeland at night to make sure he is breathing well. I know our solution isn’t for everyone. That’s okay. No parent is alike.
I will say that I’ve learned a lot these last couple of months. I learned that co-sleeping can be safe when using certain guidelines. I learned that co-sleeping is the norm everywhere except North America. Yet, we have the most cases of SIDS…interesting. I also learned that crying it out for many hours can harm a baby’s brain. They go into shock. I learned that there was a major shift in motherhood during the 1800’s…a shift that I believe was bad. Doctors told women that breastfeeding was unclean, that babies should not be held too much, and that babies needed to be in a separate room so they wouldn’t be a bother to parents. Many moms are breaking free from those traditions and embracing natural motherhood.
For balance sake, sometimes a mom does need a break. It’s not that children are a bother, or that moms are selfish. But the baby and the mom both need to be in good health. Sometimes a mom has to do what she has to do to stay sane and to be a good mom. Sometimes babies will cry. It happens. Sometimes you have to walk away and catch your breath. Maybe it is safer in your situation to have the baby in another room. Maybe you have to use formula. I’m not here to judge, and honestly, on the weekends we pull out the disposables, and when I need a break we use formula. Every baby and every mom is different. Give your best with love. That’s what counts.
For me, I needed to be educated on alternative methods. Co-sleeping is a rising trend, but I had many negative and preconceived notions about it. Research showed me that I was wrong. My views on how babies learn to self soothe has changed. You can read more about that in the article below by Psychology Today on Crying It Out. I don’t co-sleep exactly as others do. But our method works for us. Leeland mainly sleeps on his back but he will roll onto his side. I’m very in tune with him at night. I will wake up if he startles.
I have several articles below and some with varying opinions. Judge for yourself what is best for your family. As I lay here typing, my lil one is sound asleep next to me. I like that. My eldest is in his own room, so we don’t have a complete family bed. I still go in Michael’s room and check on him at night. His long legs are usually hanging off the bed. Both of my boys are extremely loved. Life with Baby is different. At 30, I am a different mom than I was at 21. But I am still a loving mom. I’m still a praying mom. I still need Jesus’ guidance. I’m still learning. I’ll never be a perfect mom, and that’s okay.
Lastly, here’s the photo collage/shadow box of Leeland’s birth and hospital memorabilia. I used duct tape but I should’ve used glue. It’s coming a part now that it is hung up. I’ll probably have to fix it.
Well, sweet dreams :). God bless & remember the High King lives! ~ Amber Dover
Helpful articles on both sides:
Other Life with Baby posts:
Breastfeeding and Baby Wearing