“Breastsleeping”

Here are three posts — and some comments that I received — over on my Facebook account about bed-sharing.


Before I became a mother I always said that I wouldn’t allow my children to sleep in my bed. — PART 1 — You read all of these terrifying things about co-sleeping, and yet there is something so instinctual about it. I remember just after she was born, when my mother and grandmother were here with me, if I fell asleep in bed and the baby was in the other room I would suddenly clutch the blankets in my arms and subconsciously search for the baby as I was transitioning from asleep to awake.

Before I became a mother I always said that I wouldn’t allow my children to sleep in my bed. — PART 2 — The biggest reason I felt the way I did about co-sleeping is because I am generally a very heavy sleeper (I’ve always been the person who can sleep anywhere/anytime/anyplace). I really didn’t think I would trust myself sleeping next to my baby. However, as soon as she was born I realized that I don’t sleep the way I did before. If I went to take a nap in the other room while someone watched the baby I would wake up as soon as she let out any kind of cry. Now, when she stirs, I wake up before she even makes a sound. I open my eyes and if she’s awake I feed her or change her. If she’s sleepy, I watch her a minute until she goes back to sleep and I close my eyes again.

Before I became a mother I always said that I wouldn’t allow my children to sleep in my bed. — PART 3 — “Breastsleeping” – It felt like I wasn’t getting more than 2 hours consecutive sleep, until I started nursing while lying down. As soon as I started doing that it was like magic. I didn’t have to actually wake up, sit up or wait for baby to finish/go back to sleep. And I didn’t have to risk falling asleep while holding her in my arms. “Breastsleeping” allowed me to multitask by feeding and relaxing at the same time. I know that this is the main reason why most of the time I feel adequately rested or at least pretty far from exhausted. 

•I remember reading in one of my psych books how at the turn of the last century is when kids started sleeping in separate beds from their parents and then eventually separate rooms but prior to that it was totally unheard of. Or how a baby goes from having constant contact with the mother (being in the womb) to being isolated in their own bedroom can be traumatizing to them. Or the simple fact that as adults we like the security and comfort of sleeping next to our spouses but expect our children to not have those same desires and sleep alone. So, S******’s crib is in our room, inches away from our bed and M******* knows that whenever she wants to crawl in our bed, I always make room for her! ❤️

•D** slept with us for 6 months. I think you are right, it is instinctual. I firmly believe I was not sleep deprived for those 6 months because I was never worried about D** during those nights. If he needed to nurse, he would usually latch on himself. I think it formed a very healthy, happy bond between us.

•Almost a year and a half and my bug still sleeps with me- I’m a huge supporter of SAFE co-sleeping. I feel we push our children to be independent FAR too early in their lives. 

•My babies all coslept! And nursed as they pleased! W****** is 8 months old still co sleeping and nursing!

I received many supportive comments from family and friends. I did, however, receive one comment, which I was expecting:

•AAP has warned against this. It is ok to have the child in your room up to 6 months to a year….in their own bed. So many deaths have occurred because of this practice…if your child dies because of it…you will be charged with murder.

I replied:

I’ll just leave this here ☺️ 

http://news.nd.edu/news/researchers-propose-breastsleeping-as-a-new-word-and-concept/

~ ‘McKenna argues that co-sleeping while breast-feeding is a safe environment for your baby. This is because “the breastsleeping mother/baby pair both sleep in lighter stages, which makes them more sensitive to the behaviour of the other.”’

Here is another link that I’d like to just throw out there:

https://neuroanthropology.net/2008/12/21/cosleeping-and-biological-imperatives-why-human-babies-do-not-and-should-not-sleep-alone/

~’For breastfeeding mothers, bedsharing makes breastfeeding much easier to manage and practically doubles the amount of breastfeeding sessions while permitting both mothers and infants to spend more time asleep.’

~’the highest rates of bedsharing worldwide occur alongside the lowest rates of infant mortality, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) rates’

A final point that I would like to make is that breastsleeping/bed-sharing can be done safely or unsafely. It’s so important to understand and follow guidelines for safe cosleeping. If you are under the influence, overtired or on a surface other than your bed, just don’t do it! It goes along with the old expression “better be safe than sorry”. So, do what you feel is instinctually right for you and your baby, but educate yourself and do things safely. 

الحمدلله

S

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Home?


I’m American. I grew up in the Adirondacks of northern NY state. I went to university in VT about an hour away from my hometown. The first time that I really moved away from home was August 2012. My husband was accepted to study his masters at a university in IA and since I had finished my masters, I went with him. From August 2012 until December 2013 I lived 17 hours away from my dad and 10 hours away from my mom (by car). Then at the very end of December 2013 I decided to take a job and move to Saudi Arabia…

Now I find myself calling two places “home”. The little town I grew up in is “home” because it’s what I know and most of my family live there. Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia is “home” because it is where I live and work. It’s where my apartment and my things are. It’s where my husband and I stay together. It’s the place where we started our own family. 

When I’m in Saudi and I say “home”, I mean NY. When I’m in NY and I say “home”, I mean Riyadh. That one word has different meanings for me. It hold different emotions based on which place I’m talking about. 

My home in the US is full of old memories — summers spent playing ball, harsh winters spent in front of the wood fire. There are places so vivid in my mind – this path leading up to a small waterfall near the top of the river that runs through town, noises I can hear if I close my eyes — rain on the roof of my bedroom, things I can imagine feeling — my feet stepping on the grass of our lawn, smells that I can sense when they are nowhere near — crisp autumn leaves, and tastes that still seem so fresh — cool water straight from the tap. The nostalgia  I get when I’m away is so real.

On the other hand, there is a quote that describes my feelings for Riyadh perfectly – “You know that you’re in love when home becomes a person, not a place.” My husband makes Riyadh “home” for me. Riyadh is nothing like where I grew up. Its the opposite of what I know. It’s a crowded city. It’s a desert with hot, dusty summers and mild winters. But somehow I feel at home there. I feel my place there and I miss it when I go away. It’s a place where I feel safe. It’s the “home” where I start to make new memories.

The beautiful thing about this is that I’m almost always “home”. 

الحمدلله

S

A Very Belated Happy Eid

Well…I tried! I definitely didn’t get the chance to share all of the recipes that I was planning to post, but I’ll give myself credit for the two that made it up and that just means that I’ll try again next Ramadan, ان ساء الله. 

I hope that all of you had a blessed Ramadan and a wonderful Eid. This is very late, but better now than never! 

We spent our Eid in Ha’il with Y’s family. It was baby’s first Eid, so I really enjoyed getting her dressed up for our gatherings. The first day of Eid I put her in a grey pleated dress with teal embroidery, a teal bow headband and a pair of sandals from Okaidi. On the second day she wore a white eyelet dress from Carter’s [which I purchased online during a sale for less than $12], a bow headband we borrowed from her cousin and a pair of white shoes from Centrepoint. I forgot to take a picture of her outfit from the third day, but she had on this cute white and gold patterned tank bodysuit and white cotton pants from Carter’s. Also, one of Y’s uncles paid for the girls to stay at the rented Istrahah an extra day, so we had another evening of dressing up. Baby wore a little set with a black tank bodysuit (that said little cutie in gold) and white pants with a black and gold print from Carter’s [this set was a gift from my mom].

I had such a fun time putting her in such cute outfits, as to be quite honest 90% of time time she’s either in a play suit for bed or a onesie and maybe some cotton pants, maybe. 

Once again, please accept my warmest belated Eid wishes to you and your families. 

الحمدلله

S

Ramadan Recipes: Tomato Macaroni Beef Soup


Tomato Macaroni Beef Soup

Ingredients:
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 cup of ground beef
-1 small onion [chopped]
-1 tomato chopped
-1 cup macaroni
-4 tbsp oats
-4 tbsp tomato paste
-2 tbsp Arabic mixed spice
-salt & pepper (to taste)
-1 tbsp chopped parsley/dried parsley
-8 cups of water

Method:
*{I use a multicooker to make my soups, but you can use a slow cooker or a  regular pot.}
1. Brown onion, tomato and beef with the olive oil (if you’re using a multicooker/slow cooker do this in a frying pan and then add it to your cooker — if you’re using a regular pot do this in the pot)
2. Add the rest of ingredients to your pot and cook (if stovetop put it on a low heat and check it now and again to make sure that you don’t need to add any water)
3. Leave it in your cooker/pot for about an hour. (Check and see if you want to add any more salt/pepper — If you are cooking stovetop you might want to add the macaroni after the first 30 mins if you don’t like them to be too soft)
4. Add the parsley and serve with lemon.

Enjoy!

الحمدلله
♥

S

Experiences with Breastfeeding: Part 2

It is such a relief once breastfeeding becomes “easy”. I guess a better word would be relaxed. Baby has become more efficient and I have become more comfortable. These days there isn’t much pain and leaking is minimal. Things are good.

At 4 months I had to go back to work, which meant that baby would go to daycare and I would pump in my office. The first two days were difficult for her, but since then she has been totally fine. I had trouble pumping enough for her in the beginning, but with a little patience and more frequent pumping sessions I was able to send her with enough milk without having to do any extra pumping outside of work. Thankfully, my experiences with pumping at work have been wonderful. I have my own office and I’m able to just close and lock my door when I need to. Also, there are other women here who have been in the same situation and so everyone is very understanding and supportive.

However, during that month we found out that baby seems to have a cows milk protein allergy. It was causing her to have a lot of mucus and sometimes blood in her diaper. The doctor asked me to put her on a special formula for a week, but to continue pumping. I guess the doctor felt that the formula would give us a faster answer, but it broke my heart to hear those words. Anyways, I listened to his advice and after two days passed and neither of us had slept very much, I gave up and I put her back to my chest. (A week before that I had stopped having any dairy myself. The doctor had told me to cut back, but I decided it would be easier for me to just avoid it as much as I could.) It took us three to four weeks, but we saw improvement. I have continued to avoid dairy and breastfeed and I’m happy with my decision to do that. I’m also grateful that the pediatrician was supportive of my decision as well. Continue reading

Ramadan Recipes: White Chicken & Oats Soup

 

White Chicken & Oats Soup


Ingredients:
-1 tbsp olive oil
-2 chicken breasts [cubed]
-1 small onion [chopped]
-1/3 cup lentils [rinsed]
-6 tbsp oats
-1 tbsp cumin
-salt & pepper (to taste)
-1 tbsp chopped parsley/dried parsley
-8 cups of water

Method:
*{I use a multicooker to make my soups, but you can use a slow cooker or a  regular pot.}
1. Brown onion and chicken with the olive oil (if you’re using a multicooker/slow cooker do this in a frying pan and then add it to your cooker — if you’re using a regular pot do this in the pot)
2. Add the rest of ingredients to your pot and cook (if stovetop put it on a low heat and check it now and again to make sure that you don’t need to add any water)
3. Leave it in your cooker/pot for about an hour. (Check and see if you want to add any more salt/pepper)
4. Add the parsley and serve with lemon.

Enjoy!

الحمدلله

S

A Short Rant 

I love chat, text, email, forums and I love this blog. I think it is pretty amazing how we can share things with people near and far. However, the Internet can also be a cruel place.

I place part of the blame on the anonymity that the Internet allows. People think that they can say whatever they like behind the mask of a username and profile picture. Since I started writing about my experiences in Saudi I have received numerous comments that made me think, what’s wrong with people? After I received my first *negative* comment I switched my settings to allow for moderated comments. That was a long while ago. Now anything that is submitted is reviewed and either accepted and made public or deleted. Just to clarify, when I say negative I don’t mean a comment with an opposing view. I am referring to comments that are meant to be hurtful. Also, let me mention that all but one of those comments that I have received were posted using a fake email. I am so tempted to actually share some of the awful words, استغفر الله, but I will refrain and just say may Allah guide us.

Before you comment on someone’s blog, social media account, YouTube video or whatever else, remind yourself that the person you’re writing to is a HUMAN BEING and they have feelings just like you. If your comment is not constructive, and could possibly be viewed as hurtful, don’t send it! Keep it to yourself and go on with life. There is no benefit in spreading hate and hurting others.

The other issue is the fact that I feel written word is not complete communication in that there is difficulty with tone and emotion. What we mean when we write something is often misinterpreted. In my own experience this happens very infrequently when speaking with someone face to face. As a shy person, and someone who likes to write, this can be super frustrating. It has happened to me more than once and I really hope that it becomes a less frequent occurrence in my life.

Ive been writing here on this blog since 2013 and I feel really grateful that I have been able to share my experiences (even though my posts became less and less frequent over time). While sometimes I feel like it is not worth it to share parts of my life this publicly, I remember that with every hateful comment I receive a lot more lovely ones. 

So, for now, I will keep sharing some beautiful and POSITIVE aspects of my life, as a Muslim, a wife, an educator and a new mom. 

الحمدلله

S

Experiences with Breastfeeding – Part 1

I never really had a second thought about breastfeeding during my pregnancy. However, I was not 100% sure that I would be physically able. I just kept reading and as much as I read, the most support I felt. I didn’t really know how difficult it would be, but I felt prepared to face any challenges that might come my way.

I remember thinking about it a soon as my baby was put in my arms. I remember the first time that I put her to my chest and she latched, even though very briefly. I felt relieved.

Not long after I started having worries: is she getting enough milk? am I doing this right? is she latched correctly? am I holding her the best way?

The lactation consultant at the hospital was not much help, if I’m being honest. The only tip I really took away from speaking with her was that I could try to wake my baby by tickling her feet. One of my nurses on the other hand saw my concern and brought me a pump to use. She said at the least using it will help stimulate milk production and if any milk is expressed I could try feeding it to the baby if I was worried about how much she was getting while nursing. I think she was right, in that it did help me product milk and it also put my mind at ease, but I think that the shields of the hospital pump made my nipples sore and possibly even bruised.

I continued to try to nurse baby while at the hospital. I used lanolin constantly as my nipples were very tender. My right even had a purple bruise. I’m not sure if it was from baby or the pump. I left the hospital unsure, but hopeful.

Continue reading