Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sleep and Dr. Sears

We are a bed-sharing family, so we start our babies off sleeping in bed with us, from the moment they arrive. This is my favorite thing in the world and has been the greatest joy of my mothering journey! I think I've mentioned this before. I remember when all 3 of my little babes were just newborns, and I would wake up in the night to nurse, and have this huge smile on my face because there was a baby next to me! A cute, little baby for me to snuggle! Oh the joy!

In our latest situation, our 2 oldest boys both sleep in "the boy's room", where they go to sleep every night together, each with their own twin bed.
However, the big boys are always welcome back into the big, family bed with Micah, Jonah, and I. For the past several months Zadok(6) has been waking up with nightmares and comes crawling into bed with us at 2 in the morning. He ends up cuddling with either me or Micah, then falls peacefully back to sleep. He really needs his parents to comfort him in the night, and we are glad to do so.
Odin(4),on the other hand, has been having a lot of behavior problems throughout the day, like tantrums and meltdowns and such. These things are perfectly normal for his age range, yet I was having a hard time dealing with them, emotionally. His challenges were really stressing me out, and causing me to feel distanced from him. He's naturally a very wiggly, hyper, and non-cuddly kid, so it was hard for me to find ways to connect with him during the day, especially during these tough times. Gratefully, the thought came to me to have him come back and sleep in bed with us.
This turned out to be just what we needed!
For several nights I was able to cuddle him, hold him, and feel his little breath and sweet hair, next to mine. This closeness allowed me to open up my heart and feel more love and patience for him. When we woke up in the mornings I felt more connected to his needs, and ready to face whatever challenges lay ahead. In this situation, he was really able to comfort me, and bring me peace, as his mother. And after just a few nights of sleeping with Mom, he was ready to go back to his own bed.
I really feel that co-sleeping with our children has been a wonderful thing in our lives, as it has brought a feeling of unity to our family and comfort when we really need it. It's not always easy, as there are nights when we get woken up and tossed around, but it all works out in the end! And I love the extra cuddle time we get during the night!

I can attribute so much of the blessings of nighttime parenting to the advice of renowned pediatrician, Dr. William Sears, who has written over 40 different parenting books. He is most famously known for his "Baby book," "Breastfeeding Book," and "Continuum Concept" books, but when I was a newly, sleep deprived mother, I found comfort and answers I needed in his "Nighttime Parenting" book. This book simply made me feel normal for wanting my babies in our bed at night, and gave us simple solutions for meeting the needs of our kids, even after the sun went down. Here's his Safe co-sleeping research that is a wonderful read for all parents-to-be!

Recently Dr. Bill Sears came to the Big Island to talk about his latest medical research, which won him a Nobel prize. It was such an honor to be able to meet him!

He spoke in front of a small audience of about 45 people, and I tried really hard the whole time not to yell out, "I LUV YOU!," at the top of my lungs. I did, however, give him and his wife Martha big hugs and thank both of them for having such a positive impact on our families' well being!

Happy Sleeping!


Zen Mama said...

I always love reading of how you sensitively raise your children, being flexible with your style in order to perfectly meet the current needs of your children. You are such an inspiration.

and then I read that YOU MET DR. SEARS?!?!?!?!?

I think you are my hero.

chelsea mckell said...

You MET him! ohmywow! I would've given him a big hug too. He's really a pioneer in his professional career as a MD with a holistic mindset. What an honor!

Love your blog posts. Just caught up on all of them to here. Don't have time to comment on everything - just know you have lots of loyal readers, including and especially me, who love the insight, updates, and wisdom from your writings!