I’ve had a very uneventful weekend, which is just the way I wanted it! Yesterday I got to spend about one and a half hours playing with my 7-month-old niece while her big brother and mama did some gardening.

She’s the most delightful creature! I get so much joy from making her laugh and seeing her do all these new things she’s starting to do. She’s a very happy baby and spends most of her time smiling and giggling, and, let me tell you, it’s some of the best stuff for fixing a dull mood!

I’ve been experiencing a lot of anxiety and depression recently that has been very disruptive to my life, so much so that I took myself off to the doctor to figure out a plan for getting better, which I am now very slowly-but-surely doing. Anyway, my real point is that, during times when I have these struggles, I tend to isolate myself from friends and gravitate more towards family as they are my net, my extra-support system and so on as you all know I came to America some years ago from Germany.

My niece and nephews give me a lot of joy and that’s what I need most right now; their giggles and fun. It’s a true pleasure to have such magical bundles of light in my life and I feel very lucky.

So, yes, uneventful but nice weekend. Last night there was nothing on TV and I didn’t feel like watching any of my own DVDs, however, I remembered my aunt had left a few of hers at our place, so I ended up watching The Sound of Music. It’s quite long and I could never sit through it when I was little so it was actually the first time I’ve ever seen the whole thing from start to finish and, I have to say, I really enjoyed! Julie Andrews is a truly amazing woman with so much talent—she’s a real joy to watch.

 Co-Sleeping Research and Benefits

When Elizabeth was a newborn, we started her off in a bassinet within arms reach from our bed. She just hated that thing and as each day passed, I was more and more exhausted due to nursing every few hours and severe lack of sleep, I mean, isn’t every new mom exhausted? I finally decided to bring her into bed with us one night so I could easily nurse her and actually get some rest. I honestly think it was one of the best things I ever did as a new parent.

When I started co-sleeping, I began getting the restful sleep I was so desperate for. Elizabeth and I would sleep through the night and it was a wonderful feeling to wake up rested in the morning, or at least rested by new-mom standards! I also found that when Elizabeth was sleeping in the bassinet, I’d wake up in the morning with my breasts painfully full of milk. That didn’t happen once we co-slept–I would wake up and be nearly empty!

Elizabeth was able to help herself throughout the night without disturbing me meaning I was able to nurse her without fully waking up! Not everyone believes that co-sleeping is a good idea. In fact, I got a lot of noise from people for doing it. Obviously, things that work for my family might not work for yours, but after reading the research done by Dr. Sears, I am now a firm believer in co-sleeping, even more so than before!

  • The co-sleeping mother and baby’s sleep cycle become nearly synchronized. They both tend to respond to each other’s movements and needs without even fully waking.
  • Breastfeeding is easier. Milk-producing hormones work better when mother is relaxed or asleep. Mothers sense when baby needs to be nursed and by anticipating it, she can nurse periodically throughout the night without mother or baby fully awakening. (I never remembered nursing through the night but I obviously did!)
  • Babies that co-sleep tend to “thrive” physically, emotionally and intellectually. It could be stimulated by the extra touch and/or extra feedings.
  • The mother and baby’s breathing patterns become synchronized and baby’s heartbeat is more regular, resulting in less “dips” in respiration and blood oxygen levels throughout the night. Dr. Sears feels mothers own heartbeat acts as a “pacemaker” for baby.
  • Co-sleeping results in a lower chance of SIDS. SIDS seems to be due to a disorder of breathing control and sleep arousal. Breastfeeding through the night, sharing sleep cycles and the mutual awareness of mother and baby assist in breathing control and train sleep arousal. Babies also tend to sleep on their back when co-sleeping, which in itself reduces SIDS.
One interesting quote from Dr. Sears is, “In fact, mother sleeps like a baby until the baby is mature enough to sleep like an adult.” A mother basically trains baby in the first few months how to breathe and sleep properly until the baby can do it on his/her own. Believe it or not, the lowest rate of SIDS occur in cultures that traditionally co-sleep.