When I was pregnant (and incredibly hormonal), there was a story on the news about this crib recall and how babies died because of it. The next story on the news was about the horror of “Made In China” products, that were also killing babies. I was at the stage of pregnancy where prescription drug commercials made me weepy, so of course the idea that my fetus would grow up to be killed by a poison-coated death trap haphazardly constructed by overworked and sleep-deprived Chinese factory laborers freaked me out a little.
Instead of reacting like a sane human being, I went hormone crazy. I went online and started researching “Made in America” crib options. Instead of just ordering an American-made crib like a sane human being, I demanded that my husband drive me to Pennsylvania… where I bought a super expensive crib hand made by Amish people. Looking back, I can hardly remember my crazy hormone logic but my husband tells me that I wanted our daughter’s crib “to be made by bearded folk with the fear of G-d in them” and since the local Chabad doesn’t specialize in tech-free woodworking we had to go Lancaster County.
It’s truly a gorgeous crib. The woodworking, the detail, the lack of technology that could fail and kill everyone… It was comforting. I might have blown our baby prep budget, but I got some peace of mind.
When my daughter was finally born I felt good knowing that I would be laying her down to sleep in a solid, communism-free crib.
When we got home from the hospital, and for a good while after, Adi was either on me, next to me, or otherwise not more than arms length away. Adi was the kind of baby that always needed to eat. My husband and I bought a co-sleeper, the kind that goes right on top of the bed. Adi slept between us so that Mike could bottle feed her while I was busy pumping milk like a factory farm cow before a PETA protest. When Adi got older and too big for the co-sleeper, she slept in between us on the bed itself.
Co-sleeping was easier for us. Instead of having to get out of bed and walk over to the crib to take the baby out for a feeding, I could just roll over and BAM! — fed baby. I was able to meet Adi’s needs before she even started crying. This means that instead of using energy on trying to comfort her, I could just go back to sleep.
I didn’t “decide” to co-sleep. It just sort of happened. Lots of other parents co-sleep as well. They’re just afraid to talk about it. Co-sleeping is taboo in America. Everyone always tells the story of the mom who rolled over on her baby and killed it. Doctors (with the help of crib manufacturers I imagine) even say that the best way to prevent SIDS is to have the baby sleep in a crib in the same room as the parents. Co-sleeping is the norm in many other countries. Developed countries- with better math and science scores than us. Like Japan. And Slovakia. Still, like having an occasional glass of wine during your third trimester, Americans go nuts and look at you funny when you mention co-sleeping.
No. I have never rolled over on to Adi. There are some “safety rules” with co-sleeping. Never have your baby sleep in the same bed as you if you are drunk or otherwise impaired from taking medication. If you have certain sleep or seizure disorders you shouldn’t co-sleep. Instead of talking to the judgmental mom at the playground or the busybody old lady in your building, talk to your pediatrician or go online and check out all of the other (attachment parenting or otherwise) co-sleeping families.
Here’s a tip from me: get a king sized bed if you can. Babies have a knack for turning sideways during the night and kicking the heck out of everyone.
As for transitioning Adi to her own room and bed, we’re in the process of doing that now. She has a cute little toddler bed that we got at Ikea.
As for that gorgeous Amish-made crib, for the past two years I have been using the world’s most expensive (albeit communism free) clothes hamper.
Rachel Figueroa-Levin is a soapmaker, cofounder and educator at Urban Babywearing, a hyperlocal Inwood blogger and organizer, a political/life/religion/parenting satirist, and all around trouble maker. She is also the creator New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Spanish-speaking alter ego @elbloombito. You can reach her via twitter @Jewyorican.