Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Co-Sleeping Interview Series - Katharine T.

As promised, another mama is ready to weigh-in on the co-sleeping debate. No, not much of a debate is being waged HERE, but it is a controversial topic in the overall mothering community. Although Katharine T. does agree with Jamie V. that co-sleeping is right for her family, she offers unique insight and a slightly different perspective as to her reasons why. I appreciate Katharine T.'s willingness to share a glimpse into her family's life for our benefit of knowledge.

1.     What is co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping is sleeping close to your child, at the very least in the same room as your infant. It can mean bed-sharing, having a child’s bed “side-carred” to your bed, a mattress on the floor next to your bed, or having a crib in room. For our family, we had a co-sleeper bassinet but by the second week, we were bed-sharing for part of the night. 

2.    What led your family to decide that co-sleeping was right for you?
With my determination to breastfeed, co-sleeping made the most sense. I was warned A LOT about the dangers of bed-sharing in the hospital, and perhaps in the first week of sheer exhaustion it would have been more dangerous. As I began nursing on my side and holding my son close and I saw how well he slept there verses the co-sleeper by my side, and how natural it felt to sleep with him in my arms, I began to nap with him, and then to pull him in part-way through the night.  We continue to do so to this day and he is now over a year. At five and ½ months we transitioned him out of the co-sleeper bassinet and into a crib in his own room for naps and then for the first portion of the night, and we continue to slowly increase the length of time he is in his crib, but he generally comes in our bed now between 1AM and 3:30AM.

3.    What are the benefits of co-sleeping?
Peace of mind, knowing your baby’s not too hot or too cold, knowing that he is breathing as he should be.  For me as a working mother, it is a precious, precious time that I feel I can be present for my child for hours at a time when otherwise he wouldn’t be getting my contact, and I believe it gives a TON of emotional support to the child. 

4.    What can be dangerous about co-sleeping?
There is a risk of smothering definitely. For the first six months, we did not allow my son near my husband in bed as my husband was fearful of this. You should analyze the kind of sleeper you are. I CAN sleep very deeply, but I never do if I have my child next to me or even if I have the monitor on.  It’s as though some part of my inner-ear is always turned on. But if you drink heavily, or are on medication that makes you sleepy, or you just always have slept deeply, co-sleeping may not be a good option. Also, the blankets and pillows can be hazardous if you aren’t mindful. 

5.    What do you say to people in the medical community who say co-sleeping is linked to SIDS?
I usually explain that it simply isn’t so and that there has been no substantial proof of this with studies that take out the drug/alcohol abuse factor.

6.    If someone were considering co-sleeping, what would you say to them to encourage them?
 I would tell them how wonderful it feels to do it.

7.    What are your favorite co-sleeping resources?
My crunchy mom board on Facebook!

8.    Thank you so much for doing this! Any last words?
Shameless plug! My husband and I do fairy art: www.fairymagik.com

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