“Does your daughter sleep through the night yet?”

When Jade was just 6 weeks old I got my first night of not needing to get out of bed all night, which if you talk to pretty much any parent, is pretty phenomenal.

Even on average, I was only getting up about once per night. The reason I was able to get so much sleep? The wonders of bed sharing!

When you sleep with your baby all curled up at your side, you can basically feed them in your sleep, so that means the only reason to get up is to change them. And I don’t know about all babies, but Jade doesn’t eliminate in her sleep, so if there’s a wet nappy it’s because she has properly woken up for some reason.

That means once she got used to the day-night cycle she was happy to sleep through, because who needs to wake up when you only need to nuzzle in for a snack?

To be fair, the scenario I’ve painted here is for the breastfeeding mother, which I know isn’t everyone. I completely recommend breastfeeding if you’re able, but I’ll go into that more another day. As for now, regardless of how you feed your baby, bed sharing is a great way to connect with your little one and be there for them.

I often hear stories of parents struggling to trick their baby into sleeping without them (or giving up and letting them cry themselves to sleep), the long nights of getting up for constant feeds, and the artificial solutions like trying to feed them filling substances before bed. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Why struggle so hard to find a solution to a problem that nature already solved?

We were made to sleep with our babies. Think about it. If you were out in the wilderness, like so many animal mothers, would you really want your vulnerable little sleeping baby to be sleeping separate to you while predators were about?

So why have people formed this habit? Parents have been made to be scared. As with all areas of life, there are ways for things to go horribly wrong. Bed sharing has been labelled dangerous by some, and because of that the public eye has turned away from it. That is why it is important to look up rules for safe bed sharing, just as you should for having them sleep in their cot.

If you are safe in the way you bed share, I personally feel it’s much safer than it they’re sleeping separately, because you have a better sense of if they need you. I will admit that, in the first few weeks of bed sharing with Jade, there were some times when I accidentally pulled the sheet over her head when I was trying to cover myself. She didn’t like this, so she would start wriggling and that would alert me to the issue so I would then fix it.

If she had accidentally gotten her head covered while sleeping in a cot (which can happen if you don’t put the baby towards the bottom of the mattress), I doubt her wriggling would have been enough to alert me.

By the way, if you are thinking “but I’m a heavy sleeper! I might not wake up!” know this: you’re instincts as a mother will wake you. I have always been a very heavy sleeper. In fact, I even slept through an earthquake once. However, even from day one when I was exhausted from giving birth, if my little girl started wriggling in her sleep I was instantly conscious.

That said, if you are not the birth mother of your baby I don’t know how it works, so I would recommend looking it up. Regardless, do look up bed sharing safety if you are considering it.

Some of the rules we follow include having a bed rail on our bed (mattress on the floor also works), no drugs or alcohol, making sure to get enough sleep, and arranging sheets, blankets, and pillows so that baby is not in danger of getting her head covered by any of them.

By the way, the solution we ended up with for the sheet covering issue was for me to have a separate small cellular blanket which I use just for my shoulders. This way the sheet stays well below Jade’s head as it only covers up to my waist.

To sum up, we have been bed sharing with our daughter since day one and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I mean really, who doesn’t love cuddling up to their sweet little sleeping baby, going to sleep, and then waking up to that curious little face looking up at you in the morning?

 

When I was a preteen I took my first dive into the world of healthy but unpopular choices. I gave up all processed sugars, sugar substitutes, and caffeine, along with foods that had unusually long lists of unrecognizable ingredients in them.

Why? Well, as is a common motivating factor for dietary changes, I was overweight.

Luckily I had some guidance. My mom, like many members of my family, has struggled with weight her whole life. As a result of this and her love of reading, she has read probably every book out there on nutrition, diets, and everything in between. And luckily for me, she loves talking about it.

There are many diets out there. In fact, in my opinion it’s the new religion because everyone out there has their own opinion of what people should be eating. The choice for me felt obvious though. Eat food that the body was evolved to eat, in a form that your system already knows how to deal with, and your body will take care of the rest.

Sugar for example, eat sugar in the form of fruit and the body is happy and healthy. Eat it in the form of table sugar and you run into all sorts of problems.

‘Oh I’m not eating that much,’ you might say, but a word of warning for sugar and all food additives: READ LABELS. When I first gave up sugar etc. and started reading labels, I was shocked at what they put sugar in. Bread? Canned vegetables? Salt?? All yes. What a joke. If there is anything you take away from this post, it must be this: Learn what you are eating. Reading labels has been a godsend for me, even when I went back on sugar etc. for a while, because it meant I was in control of the quantity of those substances.

Anyways, so what happened when I gave up eating food that had been through a lab and back? I lost 55 pounds in a matter of months. I was very skinny then, and over time 10 pounds of that came back to leave me at the nice healthy weight of 135 pounds at the height of 5′ 7″, but I was fine with that, because that was where my body was most comfortable.

Where to Compromise

I did my diet for 10 years before taking a few years off, and now I’m back on it again with my daughter. Whenever making a change to your diet, I recommend making changes for the long haul, because fast fixes are temporary.

I actually feel lucky that I have genes that cause me to gain weight at any slight slip in routine, because it’s a reminder to me that I’m doing something that will affect me negatively in the long run. For all you never-gain-weight people, remember, there are many worse problems that come from eating poorly than weight gain.

That said, just because I’ve chosen a life of no processed sugar doesn’t mean I haven’t found ways to enjoy a wide range of foods and sweets. I totally recommend learning how to cook/bake if you don’t already, because being able to make things like BBQ sauce, muffins, and even chocolate (well, carob) √©clairs with all natural ingredients makes life amazing.

For those wanting to join me, a few notes to help you get started:

  • Sweeteners I trust: Maple syrup, maple sugar, honey, stevia (pure green powder form preferably!), date syrup, date sugar, fruit juice.
  • Sweeteners to stay away from: sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, brown sugar, dextrose, maltodextrin,¬†aspartame.

Note: This is by no means a complete list. When in doubt, look it up. I recommend checking out both how they make or acquire said sweetener, and the sweetener’s GI (Glycemic Index).