Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

Night-time Parenting

on September 30, 2013

My husband doesn’t move at night.  He sleeps right at the edge of the bed, straight as a soldier, only a sheet covering him, even in the midst of winter when our old farmhouse is chilly.

Why is this?

It’s because he’s had so much practice!  When our children were small, the family bed usually consisted of at least a toddler and a baby, a dog and a cat, a mom and a dad, with siblings sandwiched into a twin bed beside the “big” bed (which was queen-size not king-size).

In our family, children moved from the family bed, to the twin bed beside the big bed, and finally to their own bed down the hall in a different bedroom.  Each child graduated to the next stage at their own pace, helped along by the company of siblings. I remember thinking that it would be nice to one day stretch out and have the whole bed to ourselves but that hasn’t been the case; instead we joyfully wait for a grandchild or two to sleepover so we can once again snuggle into warm, relaxed little bodies nestled next to ours.

Nighttime ParentingBedtime was never an issue in our house because we decided to make it a family event.  Piles of books, piles of children, baskets of quiet toys for those who weren’t quite ready for sleep, a pitcher of water, a night light or two, warm mama’s milk for the littlest ones, backrubs and kisses.

I laughed at a family dinner when two of the newest members – a son-in-law and daughter-in-law – both told how their partners sleep without moving.  “It is uncanny”, they said, “how still they are”.  It is a new concept to both to hear about our family bed.  After all, we chose this method of sharing sleep because it seemed easy, loving, natural, peaceful but never considered that we were raising such good sleepers; ones who fall asleep, in one position, and stay that way, sleeping deeply, never stirring, until it’s time to wake!

I am very grateful to my dog-eared copy of The Family Bed by Tine Thevenin and for the wise advice of Dr. William Sears in Night-time Parenting.  And a huge shout-out to Dr. James McKenna, the author of Sleeping With Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Co-Sleeping, who has confirmed what I always knew to be true from my own experience; mothers who share sleep with their children actually get MORE sleep per night, not less.  Because of these pioneers, I did not have nights of sitting in a rocking chair, in a dark house, exhausted and resentful, waiting for my baby to finish nursing so we might all go back to sleep. Nor did I have to get up to settle a restless toddler, or to check on a small child fearful after a scary dream.  Instead, I felt confident in nature’s plan for night-time nurturing and did not second guess my intuitive desire to keep my baby, toddler and children close until they outgrew the need.

Each of us discovers for ourselves what works best for our families.  Thank you to La Leche League for helping me to understand this and for giving me the courage to follow my intuition.  I owe many a sleep-filled night to this wonderful organization!

By Lenore, La Leche League Leader * http://www.lllc.ca/night-time-parenting

 

If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader.  In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking http://www.lllc.ca/find-group  or  Internationally http://www.llli.org/

 

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