If you are pregnant, I am sure you have been doing some investigating about what is happening to your body, the growth of your baby in utero, what the best food are to eat, and how you can have the best pregnancy, and birth.
There is a such thing as information overload, especially in today's world where we all have instant access to answers to our questions. While this isn't always a bad thing, it may not be a good thing either.
I talk to other doulas, and I lend support in some pregnancy groups online. There is an overall theme of disconnect. Everyone is searching for answers outside of themselves. Pregnancy is time of transformation. There are fears and worries, concerns, and lots of advice to sort through.
Co-sleeping, bed sharing or separate room?
Of course sleep is one of the most sought after things after a baby appears on the scene. Parents have many questions and concerns around this.
Questions most new parents ask are:
Yes you will get sleep, and it will not look the same as it did before you had your baby. Baby’s sleep is very different than adult sleep.
Where your baby sleeps becomes a bit more complicated in the sense that there are many options. The main considerations are safety, peace of mind and getting the most sleep possible.
Many parents co-sleep. They choose a bassinet or co-sleeper near their bed, where they can see and hear their baby. This allows for a quicker response time to the baby’s needs, and less fuss and movement in the middle of the night. Be sure that whatever the baby is sleeping in has been inspected and passes all safety guidelines. Be careful with used items that may not meet these standards.
Some parents choose bed-sharing, where their baby sleeps with them in their bed. Now, I know what you could be thinking. “This is dangerous, and I have heard of babies suffocating and getting rolled on.” Those things have happened, sadly. And, there are ways to create a safe sleep environment where the risks of infant death are greatly reduced.
There are safe bed sharing guidelines. Some of those are: baby sleeps on a firm surface, no pillows, sheets and blankets in the way, no water beds, adults are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and mother is exclusively breastfeeding. You will find the comprehensive guidelines here.
It is common and normal to bed share or co-sleep in many other cultures aside from the USA. Although, many USA parents sleep with their babies and do not admit to it for fear of ridicule or shaming. There are several great resources for you to check out in choosing what you want to do. These are great resources for the postpartum doulas that work with new families, too.
James McKenna, University of Notre Dame Behavioral Sleep Laboratory is a great one. And then there is the Infant Sleep Information Source (ISIS).
Lastly, there are some parents who choose to have their baby sleep in another room. Many experts do not recommend this, as babies thrive in close proximity to their mother’s heartbeat and breathing rhythms.
Although we have baby monitors, it isn’t the same as having your baby near you. You can hear your baby but your baby can not hear you.
Remember that safe sleeping guidelines still apply to cribs; no bumpers, stuffed animals, pillows, or fluffy over sized blankets. And there are specific guidelines about mattresses, and width of crib rails. This is especially important with a used crib or mattress.
In my years as a postpartum doula, I have seen every which way for getting the most sleep for everyone. It is a matter of choice, and my role is to support the choice, and provide information when necessary. It is also my job to speak up if I feel there is a safety concern.
As always, do your own research, and search within your heart. Speak to your spouse, or significant other and choose what works best for you and your family.
Evidence based care (practice or medicine) is a term that is used a lot these days when it comes to birth. What exactly does that mean?
You can see by the diagram that it is where the three factors intersect.
The first step, even before you choose your clinical care provider, is to figure out what your values and expectations are for your pregnancy and birth. This will likely involve some soul-searching. It will involve you learning about what’s happening with your body, and how to take care of yourself.
Learn what you can about birth, watch positive birth videos, and speak to others who have had positive birth experiences.
Check out the hospitals, and birth centers in your area. Learn about homebirth. Be open to exploring all options before you rule anything out.
Think about these questions:
How do you view your overall health?
Do you use western medicine frequently? (doctor visits, prescription drugs, over the counter meds)
Do you generally eat healthfully and exercise?
Do you know what best practices (produce the best outcomes) are for pregnancy and birth
Can you tell if the information you receive is factual?
What are your desires for your birth?
Sharing my knowledge and wisdom about all things birth