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.
I have just returned from my third Mamaheaven retreat, with my third baby, and I loved it (the retreat, not the baby) as much as the last two. I feel safe leaving the baby in the capable hands of the creche ladies. The food is unusual and delicious. The company and sense of togetherness of the participants is always heart-warming. But what I love the most is the excellent quality of the activities, the yoga, massage etc. They take me to a place that I don't normally go in my usual day and its great to get out! Lucky us to have you, Mamaheaven. Thank you again.
— Alex Fontanelli, Knowlton Court, Kent