Friday, September 24, 2010

Co-Sleeping and Baby Wearing

I am 23 weeks pregnant now and feeling my little girl squirming around A LOT!  She is making herself known to me more and more and I wonder how it feels to her to be inside of my uterus.  I have spent many many hours in close proximity to my first two children.  I carried my daughter a lot in an ergo carrier-like a kangaroo mom.  She was always so content to be close to my body.  I almost didnt' even need to think about it.  It was one of the most calming places for her to habitate and it allowed me mobility--felt very natural.  Both my children shared our bed a lot...depending on their need at the time.  They don't really anymore except for some snuggle time on weekends, but I still snuggle them at night time in their own beds before bed..not every night, but often..  They look forward to it and ask for it. 

Thinking about my new little girl and her experience--and how close she is to me now, and the transition from within my body to outside of it.  Does she feel confined inside of me at all I wonder as it literally feels like she is trying to get out!  (-;  I think it is a very comforting place for a baby, depsite its cramped space..It is where she needs to be right now..  And afterwards, how much she will need to also be close by -in connection to me (and dad, and brother and sister, etc..) 

Human beings are extremely undeveloped at birth; they can't support the weight of their heads, they cannot be mobile for months...  Other (animal) babies are mobile almost at the beginning.  Wearing my child kangaroo style, does seem so natural.  I hadn't really reflected about this while pregnant before..  but it seems that the very nature of babies, that they indeed do need to be in close physcial connection--  I was such a newbie when my son was born and did not quite understand why he would flail up his legs whenever I place him backside down in his crib..(how unnatural that must have felt to him)..and how difficult it was to put him down and not wake him up..How much easier it is to simply tote a sleeping baby around (at times).  My son, who is now 7, hated being put down. He wanted to be held alllll the time, and at that time I did not have an ergo carrier, so I often sat there, with him in my lap, waiting out his nap.  (I do not have the luxury of that anymore!) I quickly learned with my daughter to "ergo" her, as I chased after my 2 year old toddler.

I wonder what else I will learn this time around..  It is nice to reflect on this as I am yet again pregnant. It solidifies my feelings about this.  (I'm not anti-crib) It does have its usefulness..and there are times when I know I will need some psychological and physical space..as it become more appropriate for the baby..  But, I do think ideally wearing a child is a wonderful way to bond and meet the needs of a baby..  And co-sleeping is great too (up to a point)...as long as it is compatible with the parents feelings about it--  and the parents are still able to meet their own needs. There does come a time when the parents need to honor their own needs to be "separate" too...It cannot completely be a drain, or it may not be a good thing for their family.  If it is causing too much hardship, then perhaps, some separation is better... 

But, that separation should be a gentle transition.  I learned with my daughter that for us (when we were ready to encourage her to stay in her crib)  that I didnt' want to entirely have her "cry it out"..I put a mattress next to her crib and stayed with her until she felt safe..and I often had to be there with her, especially during moments of regression caused by colds, teething, growth spurts..and simply unknown reasons sometimes.. 

Wonder what will work with this new daughter-of mine??  and what will work for us as a family with 3 children..  I definitely no longer have the luxury of making up sleep lost during the night..  5:30am is wake up time for me so I can make breakfast and lunch and get my kids ready for school..  Not much time before I have to pick up my daughter from 1/2 day kindergarten.  I'm sure I will be in a survival mode of sorts for quite awhile..  Sometimes, it depends on what a family can endure--Because sleep is soooo necessary for being able to function. 

But as my daughter squirms inside me, I believe with all my heart that keeping her as close to me, as much as I can, is the right thing in the beginning.  It is the nature of the baby--to need that.  And it goes beyond babyhood too--as I said, my 7 and 5 year olds still need it, not as often, but certainly on a regular basis. It does not make them "dependent"--  Both my children learned to sleep through the night..not as fast as the rigid crying it out method, but  they got there and I think they are pretty well adjusted, independent, and feel safe and confident. 

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