The Thing I Said I Would Never Do: Co-sleeping

I’ve mentioned before on here how I was trying to avoid co-sleeping—sharing a bed with the baby. I know that humans have done it for centuries and that many cultures around the world still do. My parents and my in-laws did it too. I even read about how to do it safely. But it really did not sound like it was for me. I am very particular about my sleep because I struggled with insomnia in the past. Plus, it just seemed so weird. I wanted to share my bed with my husband, not our child. I brought it up to Michael and he said he will do whatever makes me happy. So agreed Jack would sleep in his own bed every night.

Clockwise: On the monitor in his crib, on the monitor in
the bassinet, in his pack n play, and in his swing.

We bought Jack a lovely crib and fixed up the bassinet Michael used as baby. We also bought a Pack n Play for when we visit family and friends. And we got a swing second-hand from a friend. Jack had plenty of places to sleep, no need to even give co-sleeping a second thought. When Jack was born, he was pretty willing to sleep anywhere.

At the hospital, he was so tired it was like talking to a zombie.

We started putting him in his crib at first, but getting up 10 times a night got old fast. What we didn’t consider is that babies wake-up every 2-3 hours to nurse at night. And sometimes, even every 45 minutes. And we didn’t realize how exhausted we would be from the whole birth experience. Do you know how much it sucks to get up every hour when you are still sore from pushing a baby out? Do you know your husband will be a zombie from not being able to sleep much at the hospital? That went on for about a week before we decided to try something else.

Then we tired putting him in the crib for the first part of the night when he slept the longest, then after I nursed him sitting up in put bed and I put him in the bassinet next to me. So when he woke up again, all I had to do was reach over and pick him. It was so much easier, but we still weren’t getting enough good sleep some nights.

One day three weeks postpartum, I woke up very very sore. It hurt to sit up to nurse him. My mom mentioned to me that she loved nursing laying down because she could rest. So I laid him next to me on the couch and nursed him. He fell right asleep and stayed asleep next to me while I watched TV for 3 hours. It was great!

“I look like I’m sound asleep, but put me down and I will SCREAM!”

The next Monday Michael had to go back to work, meaning it was Jack and I alone for the first time. I was still tired and sore, so of course Jack decided he only wanted to sleep in my arms. I thought maybe I could just lay down with him in the twin bed in the nursery for a bit? So we tried and both went asleep easily. Two hours later we woke up very happy.

Right before he woke up from our first long nap together, so cute.

I talked to my mom about it and said explained again that it really was the only way she got any sleep in the beginning. But I was so worried about SIDS or him suffocating. She said that yes, tragic accidents do happen but she did it with me—and I am still alive. The next day I decided to try again with his afternoon nap, but this time in our queen-sized bed.The next thing I knew Michael was walking in the door and we had been asleep for 4 hours! Jack had even latch himself on my breast in his sleep. I remember pulling him in closer instinctively, then going back to sleep.

So I thought about it some more and realized maybe I had demonized co-sleeping for no reason. The concerns I had before mostly vanished. Once I got over the initial worry,  I actually slept great. And I didn’t need to get up every hour because Jack was right there. He would either fuss and I pulled him to my breast, or he would just latch himself on. Then he went right back to sleep. And he could stay latched as long as he needed and I could go back to sleep. And I naturally adjusted to having him in the bed and didn’t mind sleeping on my side.

I talked to Michael about it and he said he was willing to try whatever we needed to get some more sleep. But he was concerned about somethings. So we did more research and we came to an agreement. We would not co-sleep the first part of the night because we did want Jack to learn how to sleep on his own. And we agreed we would not co-sleep every night. And we would follow the rules every time he did sleep with us.

We didn’t  try sleeping together as a family until a week later. Jack got his 2 months shots and just conked out after. Michael and I were tired too, so we decided to try a family nap. We took all the heavy blankets off the bed. Michael and I only had a light sheet tucked-in around our waists. I laid down with Jack, then Michael got in. Soon we were all fast asleep. Three hour later we all woke up very happy.

They were so cute, I just had to take a picture.

Co-sleeping on occasion is a great choice for our family. Now we only put Jack in bed with us if he’s fussy and it’s still too early to get up for the day, like around 5 or 6 AM. And he and I take naps together a few times a week too. Not only is it so much easier, but it’s so beautiful. When I open my eyes to see my boys laying in the same position with the same happy looks on their faces, my heart melts. And Michael loves coming home to see us snuggled up together. Looking back at my own childhood, I think about those Sunday morning where my brother and I jumped into bed with my parents for snuggles and I can’t believe I ever denied co-sleeping.

All that being said, before you dive into co-sleeping, please do some research and make sure it is right for your family. Sharing your bed with your baby isn’t for everyone, so please discuss it thoroughly with your partner and take all factors into consideration first. The information I got from my local La Leche League was the most helpful. Please scour the internet, there is tons of info.

Resources on co-sleeping:
Sleep-Sharing: The Family Bed, Baby Center
Pros & Cons of Co-Sleeping, What To Expect
Sharing Sleep With Babies: The Benefits of Nighttime Slumbers, La Leche League
SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths, American Academy of Pediatrics
Co-Sleeping and Bed-Sharing, Kellymom
Safe Co-Sleeping Habits, Ask Dr. Sears

How to throw a "Man Shower"

This past Saturday was my baby shower. Check out the details here. I asked Michael if he wanted to attend my shower or do a co-shower of some sorts. He didn’t seem that big on either idea,  you know the whole “baby showers are for girls” things. But I wanted to do something special for him. He’s has taken such good care of me my  pregnancy so far that he deserved some fun. So I asked if he just wanted low-key party with his boys at our house. He loved that idea—mainly because it meant he could drink beer and eat all the BBQ meats I never make him.

So nothing about this post is particularly vegan. But if you have a vegan man in your life, no reason why you can’t take the general idea and substitute in vegan foods. Like my seitan ribs, some tofurky brats, my German potato salad, and some fresh grilled veggies…man,  that sounds good—can it be summer now? 
His party was at the same time as my shower.We kept the invitations simple—if a women invited to my shower had a guy Michael wanted to invite, we stuck this insert in her formal invitation. Otherwise, he just emailed them a date and time to show up. Men don’t usually need or care about fancy invites, so we didn’t waste money on them. 
Just realized our orange serape matches the theme…
I didn’t put up too many decorations because, once again, men don’t usually notice stuff like that. Just a few  black and orange table clothes, a banner, and a few Giants signs we had already. I didn’t spend too much time on decorating (unlike for my baby shower). Just make it look nice and walk away. No fuss. 
Appetizers when you first walked in the door.
Simple decorations to set the theme. 
I set-up the “appetizers” table before I left for my shower. Veggie platter, nachos, chips, potato salad, chocolate-covered pretzel rods, and baseball cupcakes (rods and cupcakes made by my very talented best friend). 
This was SO cute, even the boys didn’t
want to take a cupcake and ruin it.
I left the meat for Michael to cook. We borrowed our brother-in-law’s smoker to do some ribs. He barbecued some turkey dogs (a lot of his friends are Indian and don’t eat beef), hot links, and buffalo wings. Don’t have pictures of all that because I wasn’t there….and to be honest I don’t like taking picture of meat seeing as I am vegan….
MLB plates were on sale at Party City, couldn’t resist. 
Drinks consisted of tropical punch (one can of passion orange guava juice and a liter of sprite, watered down to taste with ice), and of course beer. 
Giants themed pretzel rods made my my BFF.
The boys just ate, drank, played dominoes, listened to music, and watched sports on TV. Nothing fancy but they all had a good time. After my baby shower was over, some of the women came over to join them. Yeah, that’s right—my baby shower had an after party! Some of the boys ordered the Canelo vs. Angulo fight on pay-per-view, which kept the party going till around 11 PM. Even though I was tired, it was nice to see friends and family enjoying themselves so I didn’t mind. 
So, if your man cringes at the idea of going to your baby shower, I highly suggest throwing him a man shower instead. Yes, you are the one doing all the hard working making the baby, but dads need some love and appreciation too.
Here is my advice on how to throw a successful man shower:
  • Keep it simple. Men don’t usually like complicated or elaborate themes or events without any women around. 
  • Simple decorations set the mood, without your man’s friends thinking his wife is totally controlling him. 
  • Serve good, basic foods with lots of flavor. This is not the time try something from your molecular gastronomy cookbook. Serve some of your husband’s favorites along with some party staples like chips and dip.
  • Don’t make the drinks too complicated either. Some good beers or good spirits should please everyone. 
  • Don’t forget the non-alcoholic drinks like punch, soda, or water as well. Not everyone drinks and you don’t want your guests getting too drunk. 
  • Give them optional games and activities. Men don’t usually want to play shower games like “Whose Features Does Mommy Want For Baby”, but once the food is gone they need something to keep from getting bored. Check to see if there is a game or event on TV they can watch. Set out cards, dominoes, or poker chips they can bust out when they feel competitive after a few drinks.But don’t set a schedule or force them into things. 
  • Let boys be boys. If you come home and see your husband did nothing the way you would have wanted, let it go. It’s his party. As long as he and his friends are having good time, that’s all that matters. 
    • Except when he forgets to make sure your cats are locked in the bedroom beforehand so they don’t get scared and run off during the party. You can give him the evil eye as your search for them high and low, in the dark, 9 months pregnant, and in a pretty dress!