But here's a story for your reading pleasure...
When I was pregnant, I had a bassinet all set up for my baby next to my bed. I thought that babies were supposed to sleep by themselves, and be "trained" to sleep soundly through the night.
I just thought this was normal, I didn't have any idea how differently I would feel once I had a real live child.
After WildChild was born, everything went out the window.
|Accidently passed out on the lounge, WildChild was about a week old|
(This is not an example of safe bedsharing, but luckily my dad was nearby so no worries)
So she slept on the bed with me. I put the side rail up and wrapped her up and slept with her beside me. The nurses occasionally told me it was against hospital policy, but they were very understanding and (several of them) told me they wouldn't tell so long as I didn't tell that they knew.
I guess I was lucky for that because as a new mum I was so impressionable and if someone had screamed about it then I would have overridden my instincts and put her in the cold plastic bassinet to sleep.
So that's how we came to bed-share. It was instinctual and natural, and it was also the easiest things in the world. I did try now and then in the following months to put her to sleep by herself, but she wouldn't have a bar of it, and it killed me to listen to her cry that she was scared and lonely.
I have always gotten as much sleep as I wanted or needed, never having had to get out of bed to feed my daughter. I guess this is why I've never cared that she didn't sleep through.
|anyone feel like telling this mum she can't sleep with her baby?|
When I thought about it a little, it made sense to me that doing what our species is designed to do will produce the best results. (Sound a little Paleo?)
It was only after being a mum for a while that I found many online parenting resources that document the short and long term benefits of bed-sharing for babies and mothers. Research by Dr James McKenna indicates that bed-sharing protects against SIDS (and other night-time dangers), facilitates breastfeeding, and produces happier, more confident people.* Babies don't know that they've been born into a safe place, they instinctively need their parents close to feel like they aren't in danger. They also need to feed frequently because they have very small stomachs and very quick metabolisms, which in turn helps mums milk supply keep up with her baby's changing needs.
Now that WC is 18months, I'm starting to think about her having her own bed. Although this doesn't seem like a very practical option while I'm living at my parents house, in a rather cramped room, so I'm happy to continue while we're here.
Perhaps when one day we have a home of our own she will have her own room and her own bed, but I won't force her to sleep alone if she doesn't want to, and I won't mind the cuddles at all :)
NOTE: This means safe bed-sharing, where the parent is not sleep deprived, under the influence of anything, they don't smoke, the baby is above the bedding, and there is not chance of baby falling into gaps that could crush a tiny body. There are dangers, just as there are dangers with cots, that need to be monitored and minimized.
However, for us, bed-sharing is lots of reward for much less effort.