In the theme of my last post, Becoming a Co-sleeper, another benefit of sleeping with our babies, (and attachment-parenting in general), occurred to me the other night:
We were spending a week at our brother and sister-in-law’s place in Vancouver while they were out of town, and by the last few days of our stay I realized that our 5-month-old seemed a lot fussier than usual during the day, and generally ‘out of sorts.’ I suggested to my partner that it could be because, after all, he had been in the same environment and general routine since birth, (except for the odd weekend spent away), so suddenly spending 7 days in a completely different visual/spacial configuration could no-doubt throw off his sense of continuity. My partner replied along the lines of, “Well, he still in your arms all the time. That hasn’t changed. He’s fine.”
I think it is indisputably beneficial to expose children to a variety of experiences; but, at the same time, much evidence points to the importance of young children having a sense of stability and consistency in their environment. For some parents, this means schedules. Ever heard someone say that babies “thrive on routine?” Some use a special blanket/toy or pacifier as a comforting placeholder. I’ve even read some books that suggest an elaborate routine consisting of special “wake times” that require feeding, then playing, then shushing, and leaving the baby in a dim room to sleep and repeat. I think that’s bogus. For us, this has meant quite simply that I myself am ‘The Constant’. Baby is in my arms (or the sling/ergo/other-arms), all day, free to sleep when he wants, and I bring him to bed with me at night. I don’t feel the need for a set schedule or routine for my babies because my nearly constant attachment to them fulfills that purpose, no matter where in the house (on the continent), we happen to be.
Indeed, it did seem that so long as he was in my arms he would sleep as soundly and comfortably as ever, wherever sleep overtook him. The location or mattress may have been a little different, but my breathing, scent, and movements all went unchanged. The in-arms phase is so fleeting; it is a pleasure to embrace while it lasts.
More Scientific Benefits to Co-Sleeping: http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/sleep-problems/scientific-benefits-co-sleeping