I am guilty. That is how midwifes, doctors and medical carers made me to feel. I believe that one of the biggest concern for parents-to-be is sleep deprivation. Antenatal classes trying to prepare you by explaining that a baby will cry: often, a lot, loudly and sometimes do-not-know-why. So your life is just going about to change. No pubs, meetings with friends, newspaper reading, coffees in favorite cafes, listening to music. Cold breakfasts, late lunches, no dinners. OMG! That what I saw on all Irish faces at same time. Plus sleep while your baby is sleeping and same time nurture yourself - eat well, just look after yourself! So how to manage all of those and not get crazy?
So my first focus was sleep. We bought big cot for Z.'s room quite early. We just could not wait! And than we got small moses basket for first few months and great mobile solution also for daytime. And then I went to hospital. All staff encourage skin-to-skin contact. Fair enough. Great feeling! You have your baby on chest, breathing, wriggling like a minutes ago in your tummy, it is warm and cosy, you are tired as never after delivery and... you fall asleep. What is then? I think your baby should magically teleports herself to cot. Well, surprisingly it did not happen in my case. I fall asleep with my baby in bed. In hospital. And I was woken up by midwife in the middle of the night and asked to put my girl to cot. I was just exhausted, sleepy and... I answered in Polish without thinking: "Ale ona będzie płakać!" (But she will be crying!). Midwife looked at me like at crazy women who just cursed her. So I repeated in english. Well "that is the policy, put your baby down in cot". So I decided to not sleep and have her next to me.
Once we were back home, we arrange everything. Put Z. overnights to moses basket. But she was falling asleep in my or my husband arms. So we were transferring her and she slept 2-3 hours. And we had our system. Husband was changing her in first half on night (I was like zombie at that time) and brought her for feeding and second half, on morning I was doing by myself. And that was perfect. Guilt free. But on the morning moses basket transfers were harder and harder and... I fall asleep few times and Z. was with us in bed. I was terrified we would do something accidentally to our baby. But we have noticed also that all of us slept just much better in that configuration.
So what we should do? Co-sleeping or worse bed sharing is such a controversial thing! I was bad mother. I risked my baby's life. We will never have same life as we had before. I am not going even mention our sex life.
I started to read and look for answers. When I went for postnatal class I think someone asked that and answer was so strict: "you need to put your baby on back in cot" I decided to never have questions about bed-sharing to Irish medical staff.
What did we do to our humanity? Depressions, medicals, low self-confidence, no trust in our bodies, to the others, arguing families, zero respect to beloved ones. Too posh to push, breast for sale not for feeding, bottles instead of breasts... And now this. Sleeping. Why all mammals sleep in nests? Mothers and babies? And why we trying to be so different again?
So there is one professor, anthropologist, who create in US a Laboratory of Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep. James J. McKenna is the most famous person and the world’s leading authority on mother-infant co-sleeping in relationship to breastfeeding and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). So I had a read on his website. Then I started to ask other mums. And suddenly, all of them were hiding with bed sharing. We are all bad mothers!
I spoke with my husband and he said he did not see any problem when there was three of us in a bed. We checked 7 steps of safe bed-sharing and yeah! We can do it!
So then community. I have heard so many opinions and judgements! Your baby will get use to it. She will be addicted to you. No life. No sex. Divorce! It is unhealthy. And none of you will ever have a proper sleep. For years!
How did it happen our bed life is in bloom? I said to myself again I should follow my instinct. And I prioritized. The most important thing is for me well rested daddy, baby and mummy. In that order. Daddy - someone needs to make money, baby - will be less fussy during day, mummy - can catch some sleep during day with baby. But usually we are fresh and ready for new day in same way. So it did not matter for me how we would do this. If bed sharing works for you, that is fine! You are fine!
I found and still am finding many benefits! It helps with breastfeeding - sometimes Z. will not even cry and somehow I will wake up and I know by her movement she is hungry. I can feed longer on my side and fall asleep, sometimes daddy will put my breast if it will fall out. Baby is more calm and sleep longer. When I want to do something on morning I leave them together and they can sleep for hours then! All of us just love being close to each other! And I love to take photos when we sleep together!
And sex? Well my stretch marks, flabby belly or post delivery vagina did not ruined that so will my baby? And who said you have to make love only at evening and in bed..?