Such a funny phrase isn't it... when you become a parent you realise how hard it can actually be for a baby to sleep, not to mention a parent... There seems to be a never ending discussion about new babies and sleeping, it's enough to give you insomnia. To co-sleep or not to co-sleep? Tummy or back? To have the baby in a basket, or crib? To use a breathing monitor or video monitor? WTF?!!! As a first time parent there are SO many conflicting answers.
Truth of the matter is DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT FOR YOU.
I won't deny for one minute it's not a big deal. It is, how your baby sleeps is a serious matter as SIDS is a real issue that as parents we need to be aware of. However, If you are scared the baby will suffocate put him / her in their own bed. If you need your sleep, put the baby in another room, or, if you can afford it, get a night nurse/ doula. If you can't bare to be apart and want skin to skin 24/7 keep that baby in your bed. No one is right and no one is wrong, just do your best to keep your baby as safe as possible. If you do co sleep, make sure they have their own space in the bed away from pillows and if they are in their own bed make sure there is nothing they could suffocate on. It's basic stuff but fundamental. Personally I put my babies on their side, it felt right for me, this way they didn't get 'flat head' and i always thought, if they vomit / spit up, they are less likely to choke. The doctors suggest back at the moment, but when I was a baby it was tummy, so every generation is different in their beliefs.
Sleeping apparatus can be really stressful, there is SO much in the market, we learnt this when we had our first son. Reno HATED the Moses basket we were given, he HATED being in a crib. He just wanted to be close to us, so we co slept. To us, it was more important he was happy and relaxed and slept which meant we too could sleep.
Something we discovered just after Reno was born, was this amazing thing called the French designed CocoonaBaby. We were given this as a gift and I can not stress to you how incredible this thing is!!! We hadn't even heard of it prior, it solved all our issues. Their 100% organic cotton and very soft Fleur de Coton fabric makes for a beautiful and environmentally friendly bed for your new born. The tag line of the product, which I believe is true, is that it simulates the feeling of being in the womb for a new born. It's not flat, it's a cocoon, so the baby is snuggled and swaddled so baby feels safe and as parents we felt comfortable about co sleeping with a new born as he had his own world keeping him safe in our bed. We all slept.... zzzzzzzzz
This is how it works
We didn't have the stress of getting up out of bed when he stirred to see if he was awake, we didn't worry if he was breathing as we could hear his little grunts next to us. We woke up and saw his beaming face next to us, happy and relaxed, we were all much more relaxed. This thing became our life line for sleep! We took it everywhere with us, it travels so well. When Reno was 6 weeks old we flew to Cannes and then drove to Tuscany and it was the best thing ever as it meant we didn't have to ask for a crib anywhere and it was small, light weight and soft so you could shove it into any bag. It also meant that he felt safe and comfortable where ever we went.
Eden our second son went into this cocoon as a new born, now he is heading towards 4 months and starting to roll and clearly too big for this cocoon I have moved him out of it. It feels like a good time and he has an awareness now which new borns don't have until 3 months. Those first 3 months are known as the 4th trimester, when I sincerely believe the babies have no sense of I or ME yet and crying is a primal request to have needs met. All they really want is to be close to Mama. At 3 months they suddenly wake up and become people, it's rather extraordinary!
We decided, for Eden, this time, in order to co sleep next to us, to give us the option of having him in the bed with us or next to us in his own space, we bought a basic crib from Ikea (SNIGLAR CRIB) and just didn't add the 4th side. It was WAY cheaper than getting a 'proper' co sleeper and works really well, we can also then use it as his own crib when he moves into another room at some point. I have been really happy with this.
So, I could ramble on all day about what is amazing, but I am really sharing what I did with you to make the point that we had to find what worked for US. Find what works for you and what makes you happy and comfortable. there is nothing more important that your sleep as a mother. Lack of sleep contributes to less milk production, anxiety, depression, as well as exhaustion. I hope you feel some what liberated from feeling like there is only one right answer.
Actually 'getting' your baby to sleep - that's a whole other blog post... :)
Oh - to end on something hilarious. Just when you think you have cracked it and your baby is sleeping through the night, they will start teething, so you will basically have to start all over again. I am not saying this to be an asshole, I am saying it as it took me a while to let go and realise that EVERYTHING IS A PHASE, nothing is set and nothing is forever and no better lesson to learn this with than a sleeping or not sleeping baby. ENJOY :)