Saturday, June 1, 2013

Co-sleeping Makes Me Sleep

I was raised in what Occidentals would call the "traditional" way. I don't know where all these weird traditions come from, but it is how most my friends and family were raised too.

I was not breastfed, I slept in my own crib since day 1 and in my own room since I turned 6 months. I was transported in a stroller, born via c-section and tied to a schedule.

I turned out OK. I have 2 wonderful parents that not only love me and my siblings like crazy and keep providing and helping us, even as adults. They also love each other more than anything else. I am very fortunate that I still have 2 healthy parents living together and always willing to help.

But my health did not turn out that great. Even though I am in good shape, my thyroid doesn't work, I have arthritis and hypoglycemia. According to my parents, those problems were unavoidable. Still, before turning 1, I got every sickness on the manual, had to be moved out of Mexico City due to respiratory problems and did not gain height or weight in a really long time.

One other problem I always had was lack of sleep. I would spend hours and hours looking at the ceiling, reading, wondering around the house. I woke up at 7 am every Sunday when everybody else was sound asleep and even wrote poems about my insomnia in my teenage years.

All that came to an ending when I got pregnant. I noticed I was falling asleep on the Subway, watching movies, driving (don't do it please)... That was the most obvious pregnancy sign.

But then the baby came out. I had been raised to think that they had to go to the moses basin and then to their own crib. I had everything ready and... his first night on the house was living hell. He woke up some 5 times. I would nurse him, he would go back to sleep and wake up 30 minutes later.

By the third night, I was so exhausted that when he woke up at 5 am and I wanted to wait half an hour to feed him (according to the "schedule"), I brought him to bed, and the three of us passed out for 3 hours!!

All of a sudden we woke up at 8 am, refreshed and happy. I told my parents what had happened and my dad just said "NO". I felt so guilty I tried for several nights to fix that terrible mistake, only to realize that the only way we would get some rest was sleeping the three of us together.

Then a friend of mine sent me Dr Sears' Baby Book. It was an awakening. I saw the "converting" and the "sect" part of it and took things with perspective. But I found a validation in my every night sleeping routine and started doing it without guilt.

Later on I discovered a fantastic ability: the art of sleeping during the day. I had never been able to master such a craft. Naps were never part of my agenda, I had always been deprived of sleep, because if I had not done it at night, it would just never come and recovery was never on the horizon. Better yet, I could put my baby to sleep with me. It was not what my dad told me: "sleep while the baby sleeps or you won't have a chance" but "if you want to sleep, take the baby and make him sleep too".

I'm a much healthier human being since I became a mom. I don't recall when was the last time I got a serious cold but it was more than 2 years ago. My boys have never been sick, they don't know the meaning of it. I don't know if breast feeding and co sleeping has anything to do with it, but I can safely say that it has been a pleasure to have two babies that sleep through the night from the start, nurse while sleeping and keep going. It works for our family and has saved me countless sleep hours.

So if somebody tells me that it will take a lot of effort to get my boys to sleep in their own bed, it will never equal what I have saved. And yes, Little Guy likes sneaking in some nights, but mostly sleeps on his own by now, effortlessly.

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