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Friday, May 31, 2013

To co-sleep or not to co- sleep, that is the question (Week 5, Day 7)

It's Friday! I look forward to Fridays as I know we'll have a long weekend with my husband home, which means quality time as a family, and an extra set of hands to get things done for the next two days. Often, we save the new "experiments" with the baby for the weekend- going to a restaurant for the first time, leaving the husband home alone with the baby, etc. This weekend, the experiment will be "Baby sleeps in crib overnight".

Sleeps habits and methodologies are one of the most hotly debated topics I hear about within new moms groups, online and from friends. Every methodology is touted as "the only way to raise a healthy and well balanced child" and almost every one contradicts another. In the first week we had Maddy home, a lactation consultant that came to our home saw a book sitting out on sleeping techniques that had been recommended to me (in fact, I have friends who swear by it and the doctor runs the new mom group I eventually attend weekly), and told me that I should throw the book out as the technique would cause my child to have behavioral issues when she is eighteen. After discussing this, my husband and I decided that there are probably about one thousand other things that we will do that will cause our child to have behavioral issues by the time she is eighteen - pinpointing it to how we try to get her to go to sleep seems like a stretch. I recently read an article from a frustrated mom that best describes how it feels to read and attempt to apply all the sleep methodologies, I think she sums it up the best:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ava-neyer/i-read-all-the-baby-sleep-advice-books_b_3143253.html
So the question of co sleeping (having the baby sleep in a bassinet or playpen in your room, or even in the bed with you and your husband) is A) whether to do it, and B) how long to do it. As with everything else, every person I speak to seems to have taken a different approach: one friend never co slept at all because she was just too light a sleeper, one friend did for a few months until she retuned to work, one friend co-slept for over a year, while another has the baby in her bed with her and her husband to this day. All of their children seem well balanced, well slept, and thus far seem to be headed towards respectable 18 year olds.

So once again it comes down to what is right for MY baby, MY family, and ME. We make the decision to try out the crib based on a couple of factors:

1) My daughter is a grunter. We are lucky that she isn't colicky, and doesn't really scream her lungs out beyond the "witching" hour that occurs every night around 5. But she grunts and moans and flails, and while this doesn't seem to wake my husband up until she really gets going, I tend to lay awake watching her and reaching out to soothe her, waiting for that first wail when I should pick her up and feed her. My rational is I'm less likely to burst out of bed and run to her if I can see on the baby monitor she is just squirming, allowing her to learn to self soothe a little and for mommy to get a couple more winks of sleep.

2) I know the clock is ticking on my maternity leave, and I want to make sure she is firmly established in her crib before I go back. She's a little over a month old, and I'm reaching the halfway point in my maternity leave (my god, it's gone by too fast!). Being the supreme planner with not even a hint of procrastination in me, I think we should get started on the transition now.

So tonight is the night. Stay tuned!