Wednesday, January 28, 2009

a rant and some tv theme songs

Something has been bothering me for quite some time and so I am going to rant just a lil...

If you had asked me about co sleeping before Eliza was born I probably would have responded by saying 1) I will never do it and 2) it is dangerous. My husband would have backed me up 100%. I also would have explained that my daughter would sleep through the night in a crib and CIO if she had other plans. Like I said this is BEFORE my sweet Eliza was born, when the only information I used as a basis for decisions was my mom's account of my own infancy. My mom and dad believed in letting me cry, so they did, and here I am today only partially screwed up. hee hee I don't fault my parents for their decision. They are amazing parents and I believe you can screw up your kid however you choose. That is one of the many joys of becoming a parent.

However, time, research and experience have definitely changed my entire outlook on nighttime parenting and parenting in general. I no longer believe children should sleep alone. I refuse to see Eliza's waking up at night as an inconvenience even at 16 months old. I know better than to expect a baby or small child to sleep through the night. Some kids do sleep and that is super, but most don't and that is ok too. Parenting is a 24/7 job and I have accepted that getting up at night is in my job description. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying I enjoy it tremendously. However, when I accepted the simple truth that Eliza sometimes needs me in the middle of the night I finally rested a little easier. When I learned to stop listening to other people and started listening to my heart, my instincts, parenting became much easier.

I believe in co sleeping. I believe in it big time. Whether it means a bassinet in your bedroom, a co sleeper, or bed sharing (our choice!)- I believe that babies and parents should be close together for optimal development. I think it a viable choice for all families who are interested. I think it is a shame that it has a bad reputation and that many people are misinformed about the safety of sleeping with baby.

I do NOT think cribs are the safest place for babies. I think a baby (especially a newborn) in a crib in a different room is dangerous. You can agree to disagree and that is fine. I never felt safe with E in a different room. I always felt the most at ease when I could feel her breathing body next to mine. This is what felt right to me.

I am NOT attacking your sleep arrangement or your parenting choices. I am defending my own- because I am often chastised for co sleeping. I am given opinions when I don't ask for them by people who think they know what is best for my family. I listen to others being praised for letting their children cry and I listen to people put me down for sleeping with my baby. I have also experienced eye rolling, knowing looks and whispering behind my back. People warn Eliza will never want to leave the bed. HA! and why do you even is my bed -not yours. When she wants to sleep in your bed then it is your issue.

It is wrong to put down the parenting choices of other people. I would never put down your choices...because I believe you are entitled to do as you please. If you disagree with what someone is doing- do them a favor and zip your lips. If someone asks for your advice or opinion then by all means let those loose lips fly!

I think one of the hardest parts of being a new parent is fielding the enormous amount of advice people throw your way. Do this. Don't do that. I did it this way. We used to do it this way. Your gonna do what? The truth is, that if everyone would pipe down long enough to give the new mom and dad a chance to think-they would know the answer that is right for them.

Follow your gut.

and remember different strokes for different folks

man i loved that show

and now because i love all tv theme songs

and i bet those crunchy Keatons coslept :)


Lori said...

co-sleeping is not my thing, but it does work for a lot of families. I think that each person has to do what is right for their whole family and should never judge another because their beliefs and decisions are different... different is just that different.. not wrong.

I am glad you figure out what works best for your family.

Zet-Girouard said...

We co-slept with both of our children, our daughter slept in our bed until she was about 18 months, at that point she slept in her toddler bed in our room, when she turned 2, she decided to move her bed into her room, with complete ease and no issues. She sleeps in her own bed in her own room, most nights.
Our son is now 14.5 months and has started the transition to sleep in his own bed, in our room.
My partner slept with his parents until he was about 5 years old (he's South American) and he is completely well adjusted.
I slept in my parents room, in a crib, until I was 2 years.
I just choose to smile and nod when people try to give me their "advice".

Congrats on decision to co-sleep and to stand by your convictions.

Marcy said...

I am a huge advocate for whatever helps mom & baby be the most rested and happy. Like Lori, co-sleeping was not for me-- didn't feel comfortable, didn't feel our bed was big enough, couldn't sleep effectively b/c I kept waking up from every little movement and breath. But if there's one thing I've learned as a parent, it's that all babies and families work differently, and I refuse to be arrogant enough to assume that what worked for me is what should work for everyone else.

I have a hard time withholding advice when I see someone struggling with an aspect of parenting, as I inherently want to help, but I also try to bite my tongue until asked b/c I know what a sore spot this can be, and how confusing all the diff advice can be.

Kudos to you for trusting your gut and being flexible enough to change your course when life collided with your expectations. And thanks for writing this, and helping empower other parents who're struggling with these decisions.

Pam said...

you are right- being the mom or dad gives you the right to do what works best for your family. No one else is in your situation and knows what goes on in your house- so only you can make the best choices for your family. I'm not good with co-sleeping- I did some of it when the kids were newborns- but after they started moving more, I couldn't handle being kicked, etc in the night. But, that was what worked for me- doesn't mean it has to work for you or anyone else. I'm so sorry others have made you feel badly for your choices. You're the mom - you know what is best.

Rose said...

You already know I think you rock as a mom! We love bed sharing with Alessia. We get some of the same reactions from our friends/fam too. I would say that during the week she probably sleeps 50% of the time in our bed, and the other 50% in her bed - I try to make sure she's back in her room before my alarm goes off at 5 and wakes her up. But on the weekends, I love to lounge in bed with her. There's nothing better than listening to her breath as she sleeps or feel her warm little body against mine. Even though she kicks sometimes, I wouldn't trade this for the world!

Pierrette said...

I swear I could have written what you said... my thoughts exactly.

Christy said...

I co-slept with Porgie for the first 7 months because I couldn't get her to sleep anywhere else. When she was 8 months old we moved her to the crib with no problems and no tears. She loved her crib. However, I did have to let her cry to get her to sleep through the night. At a year old, she was still waking 3 times per night for a bottle and I was pregnant with Izzy. I couldn't imagine waking up with TWO babies all night long, so we did the CIO thing. It was a tough week, but it worked and now she sleeps great.

Ryan Ashley Scott@Optimistic Cynicism said...

Yay YOU for speaking your mind. It's every family's decision to figure out what works for them. Monsoon cosleeps off and on, depending on his needs, and I always hear, "ooooh, you don't want to do that!" Well, maybe I do. Or there's the "Do you want him sleeping in your bed when he's 16?." As If! He's only going to want to be this close to us for a short period of time. I'll take what I can get. Thanks for the brilliant words of wisdom, which every new parent should hear.

Lesha said...

I've said so many times that the nights my son sleeps the entire night through are the saddest nights for me. I don't mind if he wakes up and comes to join me. Even when he kicks me in my back. Repeatedly. And I sort of resent when my parents (who I happen to be living with at the moment) imply he slept well if he stayed all night in his crib. He sleeps just fine in my bed too. He's 20 months by the way. We've been co-sleeping since he was born.

*side note, there are these wonderful things that are like little baby nests you can put in your bed with semi-rigid sides so they baby is "contained". We used one of those for the first few months.

Becoming said...

I was talking with mom and I mentioned that I think I spent most of my nights sleeping on the bed with a pile of coats. Usually at someones house for a party they were at.

Beth said...

Right on sista! I'm 7 weeks prego and already prepping for the family members who mean well but need to mind their beeswax.

Sheri said...

Woo Hoo! Go Girl! I totally agree with you. People should realize that we all have different methods. Criticizing one's belief is rude. I co-slept with Grace and I am now co-sleeping/babywearing with Noah. I too have been the object of other people's distaste towards it. I am not sure what happened to our parents generation but something went wrong. My mom didn't even try to breastfeed me.

I think that because some children have died in their parents bed that it gave fuel to the fire. But, how many babies have died in their beds?!!! When Noah was little, I tried to get him to sleep in his bed at night. He did but I wasn't getting any rest that way. I was up and down all night checking on him and he was in my room. Several times, I found him sleeping face down. From then on out I have had him with me once I go to bed. I do put him in his bed at first sometimes until I am ready to go to bed. But, he never sleeps for long in there by himself. He will however takes naps in his bed. LOL WHew! I just rambled on, sorry!

Oh, I too was a CIO baby and I have serious emotional issues because of it. LOL LOL

Missy said...

I had never planned on letting our babies sleep in our bed either - but one night, after a week or so newborn-sleepless nights, I dozed off while nursing Emmy, lying in our bed - and she slept for hours like that, snuggled against me. After that, she stayed in our bed for months, because I would do whatever I had to do to get some sleep!

Anonymous said...

For some reason, people think, if you are a new mom, you need advice given to you. Without being asked! That is one frustration for me. My thoughts,,,This is MY child. I will do what I want when I want and how I want.
I'm on the fence with co-sleeping. And the biggest reason is cause I'm a light sleeper while Hubby heavy sleeper. So the times that N was in bed with us, I worried constantly that Hubby would roll over on him. And you know why? Cause someone put that in my head.
There are times I wish N would have slept with us longer. At first, when he would get up at 6 am, he would have his bottle and lay in bed with us til about 9. I loved having all of us in bed. It was so peaceful. But that quickly ended. He became antsy and then sleepin patterns changed.
I am sure there will be times, in the years to come, that he will come to the side of our bed crying with a bad dream. I will be more than happy to put him in bed with us. (and our dogs!)
Stand by your decision and keep your head held high about it!