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Posts tagged ‘co-sleeping’

That title is a little ambiguous, isn’t it? I left it that way on purpose. Because sleeping with a newborn in the house can be a challenge all by itself. And then there is sleeping with said infant, also known as co-sleeping. This is about that too.

Earlier this year I had a guest post on the pros and cons of co-sleeping. Now my third child is here, and I haven’t changed my ideas on co-sleeping one bit. However, I am having some new challenges.

In my first pregnancy, I spent 6 weeks sleeping in a recliner, but within a week I was sleeping in bed again. With my second, I never left the bed. With my third, well, I started sleeping in a recliner in the last week of March, and I haven’t moved back yet. The only position that doesn’t hurt is on my tummy, and that has never been comfortable for very long. Besides which, I can’t very well nurse on my tummy. This time around, whether due to the time I slipped on the bathroom floor reaching for my towel and pulled a ligament or something in my groin, or whether it was just a different pregnancy (maybe a bit of both), I still cannot lay on my sides, especially the right side. And if I manage to get into position on my side, rolling over is almost too painful to be possible.

I’m not complaining. I have a precious new baby, and I know I will heal and be back to normal in a while. But for now I’m still in the recliner. And co-sleeping in a recliner has it’s own unique challenges.

For instance, I can’t very well lay the baby beside me. He has to be on top of me. That is nice and cozy, but on a warm night it can be a sweat-inducing experience for both of us. Thank goodness I’m in the northwest, which has been unseasonably cool this year (while the rest of the country swelters–*ducks and runs*). Also, I have to sit up, which disturbs my sleep more than simply rolling over would (though less than rolling over would at the moment, considering how painful it still is). Nonetheless, I have had my baby with me most nights.

A few nights ago, he slept about 5 hours straight. I thought, Great! Maybe I can just put him in the baby swing that we are using for a cradle and enjoy some positions that are not practical when I am holding a baby. But the next Day, he rode with me to the chiropractor and a couple of other quick stops. The ride lulled him to sleep faster than laying around with the family drooling over him would have, so he got more sleep and less milk during that time. And for some reason he also slept a good bit in the afternoon. So come night he was more hungry and less sleepy. Between 10 and 4 he woke pretty much every hour wanting to nurse. I would nurse him and put him back in the cradle, hoping this time he would sleep for a few hours. Finally at 4 I had had it. I asked Daddy to bring him to me (since I just couldn’t face lowering the foot rest yet again and then trying to get comfortable again with a baby in my arms) and kept him. He nursed briefly, and then slept until about 6:30. And so did I!

So the next night I did start him out in the cradle, but he had been awake for a good hour and a half or more before, and nursed thoroughly right before bedtime. He slept for about half an hour, and when he woke up hungry. I fed him, then had to pee, so I put him back in the cradle. He slept 3 or so hours, then woke to eat again. I got him and kept him with me the rest of the night.

And l slept much better!

So what is your take on co-sleeping? Do you like it? Do you fear rolling over on the baby and prefer to keep him nearby in a cradle? Or does his every peep keep you so alert that you find it better to put him in a nearby room? Tell me about it!

I found the following post intriguing, because I co-slept with both of my children for a few months before moving them to a crib–usually by the time they were able to roll over or before. I hope you find this post helpful.

Choosing to have your baby in bed with you is an often controversial topic, and polarizes opinion enormously due to the dangers that are often spurted out in the news. But the benefits of co-sleeping also speak for themselves. So what really are the pros and cons of co-sleeping with your baby, and how is it done safely?

The Pros

  • A calmer baby – bedsharing is renowned for making your baby feel more at ease and content, having their mother right by their side. They are likely to sleep better and for longer periods, as they feel safer and more secure.
  • Bonding – if you have been away from your baby all day, you can instantly regain that connection and closeness by having your baby in bed with you. Make sure your baby is between you and the wall, and is placed to sleep on their back for the safest way of co-sleeping.
  • No cot shopping yet – for the first few months, there might not be any need for a cot or Moses basket, saving on space and money. You may want to invest in a new double mattress that is much firmer.
  • Breastfeeding made easy – having your baby right by your side means there’s no need to get up for a feed, and there’s less disruption during sleep for you and baby.
  • Body clock – your sleep cycle is more likely to stay in sync with your baby’s if you sleep together, meaning you both get better and longer sleep.

The Cons

  • Cot death – the biggest and most important negative of co-sleeping. Unfortunately, this is a possible danger due to strangulation and suffocation that could happen in your bed. To reduce the risk of cot death, it’s extremely important to ensure that you and your partner have not been drinking, smoking or are unusually tired.
  • Less sleep for you – at first, it may be an unfamiliar and strange concept of having your wriggling baby in bed with you, so it may mean less sleep for you.
  • Getting too used to it – co-sleeping may make the transition from bed to cot much harder and drawn-out for your baby, as they are too familiar with the safety of sleeping next to their parents. It might also make it harder on yourself when your baby is left with a sitter or relative.

How to co-sleep safely

  • Invest in a firm mattress, and tight sheets that lay flat on the bed. Make sure your duvet or comforter is lightweight. Remove any unnecessary cushions, throws, blankets and stuffed animals and keep all bedding to a minimum.
  • Place the baby to sleep on their back, for the safest sleeping position.
  • Keep your baby on top of the duvet to avoid overheating, and always check your baby’s temperature is warm and not hot.
  • Place your baby to sleep in between you and the wall, and place rugs and soft furnishings down if you have a hard-wood floor for extra safety.
  • Keep the bed right up against the wall, and ensure there are no gaps around the bed. Wedge pillows or tightly-rolled blankets into any visible gaps.

 

Zoe is an avid blogger and experienced freelance writer, and loves to share her knowledge through content on the internet. Zoe is currently writing on behalf of bed superstore Archers Sleep Centre.

Okay, this post is not for me. My son is almost two.  I am writing this for the author of a blog that I follow who just had a baby a few days before Christmas, and now she is starting to feel overwhelmed as hubby goes back to work, mom goes home, etc. She asked on Twitter if any of her followers had blog posts on the topic of surviving with a toddler and a newborn, and since then all kinds of ideas have been flooding through my mind. Of course, since my second is almost 2, I figure I am an expert on the topic (hahaha), so here is my advice, for what it’s worth:

Prioritize

I know that sounds hard to do right now. But take 5 minutes when the baby is asleep and toddler is happily coloring or playing with dollies or something that will keep her attention for that long, and decide what is really important. Spotless floors? Dream on! Making sure mother and all minors are fed? Absolutely. Making sure they get nutritionally balanced, gourmet meals? Forget it! If they get Cherrios & milk for breakfast, PB&J sandwiches for lunch, and takeout for dinner for a month, you can consider yourself a good mother! Hubby can fend for himself for at least the first month! Of course, the newest arrival will be getting nourishment from Mommy or a bottle, so make sure you keep taking those prenatals!

Seriously, though, decide what is absolutely essential to making sure the house doesn’t cave in. Things like meals, laundry (as much as you’d like to skip this–though intensive stain removal can go on the back burner now), dishes (get paper plates & bowls to make this part easier), and sleep (not necessarily in that order). Then stick to it, and only add in things as you have energy (notice I didn’t say time–energy!)

Simplify

I alluded to this in the previous section, but you really should simplify things as much as possible. When clothes get scarce, throw a load in and wash it. Don’t sweat the baby poop stains around the legs of the onsies. They will come out well enough when you have time to put them on the line later. Stock up on frozen dinners, rice-a-roni, sandwich makings, cold cereals, quick hot cereals (this time of year hot food is nice, and oatmeal only takes a few minutes to make), fresh veggies for munching (avoid broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage if you’re nursing–though if your toddler likes them, have some handy for her!), pasta and pasta sauce, and take-out menus of all your favorite places–especially the ones that deliver. The less you have to think about right now, the more time you will be able to spend recuperating and enjoying your precious children.

Nap When You Can

I know they always say, “Sleep when the baby’s sleeping.” With one, that was easy. With two, it seems almost impossible! It took a while, but eventually I was able to get my two to sleep for at least half an hour at the same time. To be honest, I usually tried to get things done then, but I wish I had taken more time to rest–even if I couldn’t sleep. Hindsight is 20/20, and lack of sleep contributed to some very difficult times for me later (especially since my son had severe eczema, and that was emotionally draining for me, and even more so because I was sleep deprived).

There is a lot of conflicting advice about co-sleeping, but I did it with both of mine for the first few months, and that really helped me get more sleep. It can also be helpful at naptime. By 2-3 weeks baby should be able to handle nursing lying down, and it allows you to relax more than sitting would. If you just can’t fall asleep for worrying that you would roll over on the baby, get a co-sleeper thingy. There are different styles available; one kind slides under the mattress and hangs over the side of the bed; the other kind lays on the bed, but has soft sides that come up to keep baby safe. It’s worth looking into. At 3 or 4 months you should be able to transition baby into sleeping by himself (especially if he does that during the day already).

Cut Down or Eliminate Caffeine

I know it seems like caffeine is your friend, but it’s not. If you are nursing, you are passing it to your baby (which means he’s going to be more hyper), and you’re taking away from tomorrow’s energy reserves to get through today.

When I was a child, I had this kid’s book about health that had a picture of a couple of tired horses trying to pull a heavy carriage up a steep hill. They were giving it their all, and yet the driver was whipping them to make them go faster. And it told me that is what caffeine does to us. Maybe that’s why I never touched the stuff. And let me tell you, it’s not because I never felt like I needed it. There were days I wished I had some around! But overall, it’s much better for everyone to avoid it.

Ask for Help

They say children are meant to be raised in a village. If you were Amish, the neighbors would be over mopping your floors, weeding your garden (if it were summer), doing your laundry, and bringing you home-cooked meals–without you having to ask anyone for anything. But we don’t live like that anymore. Nowadays you have to ask for help. And that is hard on our pride sometimes. But the sooner you do it, the better off you will be.

The first place I would look if you don’t have family nearby is your church. A good church is like a second family. Call the head deaconess or the pastor and ask for help. You will probably need to be specific: “I would like someone to come once a week for the next month and a half to mop my floors and do some important cleaning like toilets and vacuuming major walkways; also, a few home-cooked meals would be lovely!” If anyone in your church has kids your toddler’s age, see if they would be willing to come pick her up once or twice a week in the morning for a playdate to let you take a nap while the baby sleeps and not have to worry that the toddler is getting into something.

Watch Your Coping Mechanisms

For me, adding a second child was not as hard as watching that child slowly develop a severe case of eczema. It was draining for me. By the time he was 7 or 8 months, he was a very miserable baby and I was about to have an emotional breakdown. I found myself trying to cope by watching movies and playing games on Facebook. Looking back, I wish I had looked for other ways to cope, because all I did was hide from my problems while they got bigger and more overwhelming.

Now don’t get me wrong. A good movie now and then is not the issue. It’s 3 movies a day while I ignored everything around me. I wish I had taken more of that time to get down on my knees and plead for strength to get through the rest of the day, claiming promises like Isaiah 40:29-31. I wish I had taken the time to read good devotional books and other good literature instead of letting Hollywood fill my mind with useless trash.

So there you have a few ideas. I hope it helps you and anyone else who finds this post.