Co sleeping… the term use for sleeping within an arms length of your baby.
With an unusually large number of requests for cots at our last Mamaheaven our memories drifted back to our own sleep struggles of the past. Now with children who safely put themselves to bed (or stay up well after us!) we remember only the joy of waking up with a rosy smiley face right next to us, the angel breath of our babies and the bliss of it all.
Over the weekend we wondered through the world of co-sleeping issues with our new mothers feeling their wrought confusion between advice and their own instinct.
Listening to the mothers sharing we noticed how much confusion their really is to such an inertly natural thing.
Although it’s easy to understand the foundation for their fears and confusion – with the majority of official advice insisting on baby sleeping alone in a separate cot – it’s hard to watch the distress for both mother and baby. Mamas fear that hard placed routines will fall apart, babies will become needy, sex lives will diminish and life will descend into chaos. They fear that if they give in to the cries of their baby and their own yearnings to be close to them they will be berated by family and society.
Sleeping with your child surely must be the most natural of instincts and in primal situations the safest by far – how would we would save our infant from danger if they were in a separate ‘cave’ by themselves.
So we observed as the mothers empowered each other with stories and hints, how they dared to explore the option of sleeping with their babies, with no one challenging their decision. Just by being open about their different dilemmas amongst a non-judgemental group they were all able to reach their own decisions.
Finally, one mama and baby come down for breakfast, with rosy cheeks and clear eyes, ecstatic that they had finally chosen to co-sleep declaring “it’s the first full nights sleep I have had in four months”.
For more information about co-sleeping – the following article has great links http://www.drmomma.org/2009/06/truth-about-co-sleeping-how-stats.html
The best book we have found about sleep dilemmas is The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley and William Sears.
Such a good weekend, thank you to the entire team. I have to admit I was a little nervous about turning up with my "lively" toddler for a retreat weekend where he was on the upper cusp of the age recommendation, knowing all the other babies would be so much younger and less mobile than him! I thought others may wonder why I was on the retreat having got through the "tiny baby" stage and now being well into toddlerhood - but I honestly think I may have needed it even more now than in the early days!!... Life seems to have got even more exhausting for me at times since returning to work, starting a training course and now being pregnant again with number 2!!... it was really lovely that everyone was so welcoming and supportive and no one made me feel out of place in any way and I definitely got what I needed - rest and relaxation, some lovely relaxing yet also energising yoga sessions, quality time with my son, an opportunity to be listened to, time to talk with and listen to others and hear their inspiring stories/experiences, delicious, nutritious food and time to reflect and enjoy some "space" where I didn't have to do or think about anything else - bliss!! I hope to be back in the near future.
— Elisa, London