“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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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

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.

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Postpartum in KSA – At the Hospital

*WARNING – THIS POST IS ABOUT MY EXPERIENCES AFTER LABOR & DELIVERY.

There I was on the hospital bed feeling all sorts of relief. My full and stretched belly was now strangely empty. The tiny kicks were no longer there. The pressure and pain I had been feeling for weeks was gone. But nearby was a tiny little baby.

There were all sorts of feels as I held her in my arms and she looked up at me with her precious eyes. I held her close and attempted to feed her for the first time. She latched and sucked, but for what only seemed like a few seconds. That made me nervous, but hopeful. I knew that breastfeeding was probably going to be difficult, but I felt determined.

Soon after the nurse came and told me that they would take the baby to the nursery. I said no, but she insisted. I tried again to say no, but in that situation I really think as a first time mom it is necessary to have someone to advocate for you. The nurse took her to clean her up and dress her in the nursery.

As I waited for a room to become available for me, I felt the sudden need to use the restroom. I called the nurse, who told me that she didn’t want me to get up as I might pass out. She handed me a bedpan and closed the curtain around my bed. 10 minutes later I called her back and told her I couldn’t manage this way and wanted to go to the restroom. She nervously dealt with my IV and walked with me across the room. I didn’t imagine how uncomfortable it would feel to get up and walk, but that wasn’t even half of it. Once in the bathroom, I did what I needed to do. Wiping was the most terrifying thing of the whole labor and delivery ordeal. How could I possible be this swollen? Is this normal? Am I going to be like this forever? The nurse helped me clean up with some cool water from the bidet sprayer. She then helped me into a pair of disposable underwear while inserting the biggest, thickest, longest pad I’ve ever seen. That was another terrifying thought. Blood, blood and more blood must be in my near future. I had seen the outcome of that on the pad that they had placed under me on the hospital bed, but I guess I assumed that was more from the delivery and not the aftermath.

Eventually, they came to take me to my new room. I would stay there for two days until I was ready to go home. They wheeled me down the hall, through a door and into a room. I moved from one bed to another and looked around…

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