Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rock-a-bye-Beddy, and Leave Me Alone

So I'm going there again. You may soon begin to sense a pattern...
I was at the gym the other day for my brief "sneak-away-from-Snapdragon-to-swim" time, when I ran into a friend of mine whom I haven't seen since my babyshower. I'm thinking "Yay! I can show you baby pictures!" So I gleefully walk over to her and the conversation starts out just peachy. "So how old is he now?" 7 weeks. "Was it an easy delivery?" Aside from epidural!fail, yes. "Are you nursing him?" Yes! (yay me) "How many hours does he sleep at night?" ... I don't know?
It's the classic trap, and I fall into it every time. If you're bottle feeding your child and putting them back to their crib, only to have them wake and squak and squail until they're again rocked to sleep, you probably know how many hours that kid is sleeping at night, because you are sleeping considerably less. But if you're nursing your child and cosleeping with them, you might not even be getting out of bed. You certainly don't have to turn the lights on, and so you might not even bother to check the clock, because however long the baby feeds, well, that's how long it takes to put him back to sleep, but without the transfer period, you never really have to rouse to the point that your restfulness is truly disturbed. Heck, I even keep Snapdragon's cloth diapers within arms reach at night so I don't have to get out of bed unless I need to run and pee. Well, run to the bathroom and pee. I don't recommend running and peeing simultaneously, but I digress.
So I don't really know how many hours he sleeps at night, and sometimes I don't know how many times he wakes, because it doesn't really matter to me and I don't dwell on it. He's got his co-sleeper in my bed,and sometimes he sleeps right next to me. (It helps that I am a very light sleeper, so this doesn't freak me out.)
But I didn't know how long he sleeps, and she asks the question. "Does he sleep in the bed with you?"
Yes. Yes he does.
And Suddenly I'm feeling defensive. Moreover, she's telling me how her children slept in the bed with her, but in the same breath talking about how unsafe it is.
What?
She's extolling the virtues of how she managed to sleep with her babies on her chest and telling me I need to put mine in his crib? Somehow it was okay for her and not for me? Yes, her kids are my age, but really, what's changed? In terms of actual risk? Nothing, with the possible exception that I know that I need to not be covering up with heavy blankets, and a plethora of other safety considerations of which I am aware.
But then the words start coming out of my mouth, my apologist platitudes and excuses. "Well, Spouse doesn't sleep in the bed because he's a heavy sleeper, and some nights Snapdragon does spend a lot of time in his crib, it just depends on where he starts, and he usually sleeps in his hard sided cosleeper" Now, all of this is true, but why do I feel the need to explain myself? And to a woman who co-slept with her four children!
So if you're reading this and you don't co-sleep, PLEASE take a moment to support those around you who make that choice, and if you do co-sleep, please don't make the mistake of alienating others making the same choice by trying to put the fear of bed into them.
And if you are currently co-sleeping and facing all the negativity of others, please know that when you find yourself getting defensive, that you're not alone, and we'll all be here to support you when you get home.
Speakin of co-sleeping, Snapdragon is currently dozing on my lap.

2 reflections:

Desiree Fawn said...

I feel the same way when people ask, "does she sleep through the night." I just say... umm.. well... yes? I never wake up fully in the night, but I know it happens :)
And I love it and won't stop!

Denise said...

I've co-slept with all 6 of my kids....it's the best!! After the first we stopped even worrying about owning a crib.

Just be careful about admitting to the ped that you are co-sleeping, most Dr's I've met think it is practically child abuse.