Where have you slept with your little one or where do you plan to sleep with your baby? This feels like "old news" to me today, but little more than a year ago, I would have been afraid to talk about this topic of "bed-sharing". The more research I do, the more moms I listen to, the more it makes complete sense!
Today's blog post is in regards to this article from Fall 2014: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2054393/Bad-news-dads-Babies-share-mothers-bed-age-good-hearts.html
Where did babies sleep for thousands of years before cribs/cots?
In recent years, parents have been told that sleeping with their baby should NEVER happen--that it could cause SIDS.
Did you know that most parents sleep with their baby at one time or another anyway?
Did you know that infants aren't supposed to sleep in a room alone? Did you know that the risk factors for SIDS are things like smoking in the home, poofy pillows & blankets, formula-feeding, or drugs/alcohol that make parents too drowsy?
Did you know that breastfeeding mothers instinctually protect their infant while sleeping subconsciously?
Perhaps it is time to change the conversation in the infant sleep debates.
Reading the research from Dr. James McKenna's Mother-baby sleep laboratory at Notre Dame (and articles like this one) have completely re-shaped my idea of how/where I want my baby to sleep. My sleep plans for my next baby have evolved quite a bit. I am no longer afraid to trust my intuition. (Nothing trumps Mommy-intuition!)
I don't care for the article title as it implies impeding intimacy ?? (my husband seems to enjoy sharing our bed with our preschooler when she occasionally sneaks in in the morning), but I know every relationship is different. You have to do what works for YOUR family's unique situation. (Hint: that's not what this article is about, anyway.)
Bedsharing is not for everyone, and there are certainly some safety rules that need to be obeyed, but it can make a great, healthy, bonding experience for everyone involved!
To find more information on safe co-sleeping, see the Mother-baby behavioral sleep lab.
Be sure to share your comments and stories in the comments section!
Prepared childbirth can mean taking in an overwhelming amount of information. If you're hoping to get a good idea of how to prepare for entering parenthood (without reading 30 books), then a childbirth class is a smart idea.
There are typically two ways to take a birth class 1) through your hospital or 2) through an independent childbirth educator (this is also usually the type offered through midwifery centers).
Here are three reasons to go the extra mile to seek out a class taught by an independent childbirth educator...
Reason #3 Scope and Depth
Independent childbirth classes typically cover a multitude of helpful topics in more detail than one would ever hear about in a hospital-based class. This makes it easier for parents to form their own opinions and philosophies about birth, parenting styles, and healthcare as well as gain invaluable confidence.
Reason #2 Unbiased
By taking a hospital-based class, you will be able to get an idea of where things are in the hospital, what your hospital's policies or expectations might be, and have the opportunity to ask questions about the hospital. It is a good idea to keep in mind that instructors in the hospital are bound by their superiors on what they're "allowed" to tell you. A hospital employee may be putting her job on the line if she steps outside the bounds of the approved curriculum. An independent childbirth educator, on the other hand, can feel free to update the curriculum to latest research and has no vested interest to bend that curriculum to the hospital's whims. Most independent childbirth educators do not earn a full-time wage by teaching classes; they teach because they care deeply about women's birth experiences.
(I should certainly say that a great many hospital-based educators care just as much!)
Reason #1 Ongoing Support
Your comfort level with the independent educator in an intimate meeting setting is likely to be much higher than the comfort level with a hospital instructor in a hospital class setting. What will that mean for you when you have questions during the weeks or days leading up to the birth? After the baby arrives? With an independent childbirth educator, you can rest assured that you'll have her personal contact information and she will welcome your inquiries (wonderful for the questions that you don't quite feel you need to call the doctor about). Many independent childbirth educators do a follow-up phone call or home visit with parents during that uncertain time following the birth of the baby. Some childbirth educators have undergone additional training or certifications (labor doula, lactation counselor, postpartum doula, etc.) and offer package deals for these services.
To find an independent birth class in your area, I recommend searching professional listings with one of the many wonderful childbirth educator certifying organizations such as CAPPA, Lamaze, or ICEA.
There seems to be some confusion surrounding what a childbirth educator does, so this post is especially for those who have never taken a well-rounded birth class or are curious about what I do. Often times, when I tell people that I am a "childbirth educator", they have an idea in their mind of what that means. Some of these assumptions are...less than accurate. The short answer is that I have training that allows me to help pregnant couples navigate the information.
What I do not do:
I do not "deliver babies." Mothers deliver babies. An OB, Midwife, or other medical professional attends her birth.
I do not assist mothers during labor. A trained professional called a "doula" assists mothers and their partners in labor with emotional and physical support. I have acted as a doula in the past, but I want to be very clear that I am neither trained nor certified as a doula.
I am not a nurse. I will not check your vitals or converse with your doctor about the care you're receiving.
I do not teach complicated breathing techniques. This is even becoming a thing of the past for Lamaze instructors. While we do still teach breathing techniques, it is somewhat simplified as many mothers find the simplified techniques more instinctual and easier to recall to mind during labor.
I do not tell women how to give birth. Every woman and every birth is unique, so I can only provide her with tools, information, and options. The mother should be the final decisions-maker.
What I do:
The central purpose of a childbirth educator is to provide helpful information and resources to equip couples during the childbearing year (the childbearing year being from conception through the newborn phase).
I do give guidance and reassurance about different options and ways to cope with pregnancy, labor, and baby care. Often this information can ease and enhance this transition to parenthood.
I do teach about the pros and cons of various medications during labor, the pros and cons of using doula services, or the pros and cons of different parenting styles. Anything that breeches into giving medical care or advice is beyond my "scope of practice." Mothers and their partners must make their own decisions with the help of their midwife or doctor.
And people pay you for that?
The role of the childbirth educator is a necessary one. This is why hospitals often employ someone to provide educational classes to couples preparing to give birth in the hospital. It is much easier on the hospital staff (and the couple!) if the couples have an idea of what to expect when they walk into a labor & delivery unit. While hospital-based classes can be helpful, the instructor is bound by the hospital administration to focus on certain topics and avoid others. Some hospitals do not employ certified childbirth educators but rather a labor & delivery nurse who may or may not be well-equipped to teach a class. Hospitals classes are typically very brief, though a few hospitals do offer a class that will go more in-depth. I have chosen to be an independent childbirth educator to provide unbiased, complete, accurate, in-depth, and evidence-based information to couples who wish to learn above and beyond what they would learn in a hospital class. For many couples, it is well worth it to pay an independent educator in order to achieve an experience that more closely resembles what they desire or simply to be more fully-prepared. Many mothers find they wish they'd prepared more and choose to take a class while pregnant with their second or third child.
I am certified through CAPPA, but my classes may be somewhat similar to those taught by Lamaze, ICEA, or Bradley instructors. As a CAPPA educator, I do not teach a specific method, but rather offer a sampling of a variety of methods that couples could choose to learn more about on their own. Many hospital-based instructors are also certified through CAPPA, Lamaze, etc.
Another offering that is unique to independent childbirth educators' services: unlimited phone/email/text support. Moms and dads feel more comfortable approaching their independent childbirth educator with questions through pregnancy and beyond than they do approaching their doctor or even the hospital educator. I am also more accessible. If you contact me, you will speak directly to me right away.
Do you know of any myths or misconceptions about childbirth classes? Do you have questions? Feel free to comment or send me a personal message.
Marcia prepares new parents through pregnancy, into babyhood. She also supports parenthood journeys in other ways; She is an artist, seamstress, Lemongrass Spa consultant, and CAPPA certified childbirth educator. Marcia lives in Colorado with her husband, three children, and their dog, Calamity Jane.