You hear the advice before the baby is born, in the hospital, and once you're at home:
Don't sleep with your baby.
It leads to bad habits.
Never sleep with your baby.
Your baby will probably die.
It has become a divisive topic, with both sides of the argument pleading their case. Some use facts, while others used anecdotal evidence.
It isn't an argument in our house.
It's the only way we get sleep.
In fact, it took only a few hours to realize that if we were going to sleep, Lela would need to be on my or Meghaan's chest, or right next to us.
The first night in the hospital, we were told to wrap Lela in a tight swaddle and put her in the bassinet to sleep.
She screamed and howled and nobody slept.
That's a very unnerving experience for someone who has been a parent for 10 hours. It feels like it won't end and your baby will never forgive you. They'll remember this until they die.
Teenage Lela, walking out the door with a cigarette in hand on her way to meet her future felon boyfriend, looks at us with tears and hatred in her eyes and says "if you would have just let me sleep with you that first night, daddy..."
I picked her up and brought her to the recliner, where I sat for about 10 minutes before I knew I wouldn't be able to keep my eyes open. But Meghaan had just passed this baby through her body, and there was no way I was going to wake her up.
So I did the unthinkable- I purposely slept in the chair with Lela.
It was planned and strategic and, in my opinion, safe. I was wearing a zip-up hoodie, so I opened it up a bit, put Lela on my chest and zipped her body in, keeping her pinned to my chest. Her head stuck out of the top.
Guess what. We all slept.
Since coming home from the hospital, we have struggled with late night crying fits.
Absolute ear-shattering, scream bawling, nuclear meltdown crying fits.
From the baby AND the adults.
At home, we tried to follow the advice and put Lela in a bassinet to sleep.
Immediate scream crying.
When we picked her up, she stopped.
But you had to act quickly. If the fire burned too long, there was no way to put it out.
We decided that we needed to find a safe way to sleep with Lela. So we built her a sleeping fort and now we do what we were told not to do.
But it works for us.
I think it is similar to the discussion about birthing preference.
Medicated or natural.
Hospital or birthing center.
Nurses or midwives.
There's really not a wrong way to do it, as long as the mother and baby are healthy. You do what works for you.
Same with sleeping.
If your baby does well in the crib or bassinet, let them sleep in there. Of course make sure you can hear the baby for their feeding, changing, and comforting cues. But let them sleep in their own bed if they can do it.
The problem is that a lot of us won't be so successful. The baby wants to be with the parents, and vice versa. Skin to skin contact is critical for the newborn, and having the food truck right next to her makes it easier for everyone involved.
I am not an expert, mind you. Just a guy who has slept 2 nights in a row with his baby by his side from start to finish. No late-night calming sessions. Just sleep.
Also, it is much easier for Meghaan to feed Lela if she's right next to her. Which means more sleep. And a happier mommy. Thus a happier family.
What's most important to us is Lela's health. So we aren't going to bed drunk or medicated or otherwise impaired. We aren't putting her in a compromising position.
We are doing the best that we can for us and our baby.
The only argument now is who gets to face Lela as she sleeps.
So far, Meghaan has won. I'll let her face Lela as she sleeps, so long as everyone sleeps. I'll just hog her attention during the day ;)
What do you guys think? Anyone else sleeping with their baby and experiencing success? Anyone sleeping separately and loving the outcome? Comment below and let me know!