söndag 2 augusti 2009

Baby sleep in sweden. How much and where?

Me and my man have been bedsharing with our baby since she was born. Neither smoke, my man is a teetotaller and has never had a sip of alcohol in his life and I'm abstaining. We're practising safe bedsharing.

About 1971 the term sudden infant death syndrome was coined. During the eighties the numbers of deaths from SIDS rose alarmingly when it was recommended that babies slept on their stomache. During the ninthies the recommendation changed, you should place your baby on it's back and ever since the death toll from SIDS have been lower. 1990, 93 babies died from SIDS (0,143% of born alive infants) in 2007 it was 8 (0,015 of born alive infants). Changed recommendations about smoking probably also had an effect on this change.(1)

When my mother had her first four kids it was recommended that the baby slept on its stomache. When she had her last two the recommenation had changed. She and my dad bedshared with my older brother in the 70:ies when he was an infant. Neither smoked.

For the first nights after she came home from the hospital with me she placed me in a basket on the floor, but I didn't sleep very well. She then moved me into a nursery one door closer to the kitchen, and I think into a crib. I slept and slept and slept. She said I slept for almost 8 months, getting cranky if if they tried keeping me awake for more than a feeding. When I got to 8 month I became more awake and sociable. I have pictures of myself bedsharing with my parents in the eighties and I remember coming to the family bed after waking up as a toddler and being welcomed.

When I got older there was always a matress under the bed for usage after nightmares. I think I used it more than any of my siblings. I also coslept with my younger brother at times when I was extra troubled.

My mother tells me she doesn't remember sleep, sleeping and sleeping arrangements as something you discussed. It was up to every parent. But I know she read the book Barnaboken (The Childbook) by Anna Wahlgren. Anna Wahlgren is a mother of nine and also has connections to the Scientologist.(2) Wahlgren is still active and her views on baby sleep and her methods are widely discussed. She wrote a book about it (3). I don't know what my mother thinks about Wahlgren today. I can't condone her methods myself.

I've spoken with friends and some bedshare, some have the crib next to the bed with the side taken of or the crib in the master bedroom. Some use nurseries next to the master bedroom. Almost every one own a crib, not everyone uses it. It's very common to put the baby in a crib during the evening and then taking it to the family bed after it wakes up for it's first or second feeding during the night.

I own a crib and have placed it in the livingroom with a new ergonomical matress from IKEA. It's very seldom used. My daughter has taken to falling asleep in the family bed for her naps, with me or her dad at her side untill she's fast asleep. She's almost five months old and will soon be a bit to acrobatic..so we will have to take the legs of the bed.
I get the impression that bed sharing is becoming more common but also that some are afraid to do it bcause of SIDS.
It's also become more common for people to get Respiratory Movement Monitors like the babysense. (4.) They usually reason that it is better to be safe than sorry. But most RMM:s can only be used when the child sleeps in it's own bed, so I would guess those babies sleep on their own.

When your percieve that your child has trouble sleeping many are recommended the "five minute method" that in many ways reminds of Richard Ferbers "The progressive waiting approach" but where you check in on the child every 5 minutes for as long as it takes but don't give the child bodily contact or any comforting behaviour. It was design by Berndt Eckerberg (4) and his wife Britta during the 70:ies and 80:ies. Also this method is controversial today and many parents describes how their children cried until vomiting and got hysterical when seeing the crib. This is the cause of a "pareting war" in sweden between those calling it borderline abuse (me, for instance) and those parents who feels it has saved their sanity.

I've made a pledge myself to NEVER condone the use of this method or recommend it in my line of work. I would rather be OUT of work!

I feel that healthy babies will sleep as much as they need to and that they can fall asleep in a crib, in a family bed or on the TV-couch, whatever works for them.
I prefer nursing my baby to sleep, either lying on my side in bed or in my lap on the couch. This is not controversial but sure, some wonder about my "me-time". Me-time seem very important to people.
I belive it's important to have realistic expectations of your baby or toddlers sleeping patterns. A breastfeeding baby needs to nurse at night for months, you yourself need to nurse at night to keep your milk going. My hormones help me and I'm not tired during the day as long as I get enough sleep.
But when someone says "My baby sleept through the night!" they are usually congratulated.
I'm okay with that, but it shouldn't be something to attain at every price. Most babies don't sleep through the night. And that's normal.

3 kommentarer:

  1. L sleeps with us some and in her crib some. Usually I put her down in her crib for naps during the day, unless for some reason I can nap with her and we nurse while we nap. Sometimes she fusses just a tad, but it is not crying. If she cries I get her immediately. I cannot stand to have her uspet. She's a baby, she wants to be held. Fine by me.

    When I first brought her home I tried and tried to get her to sleep in her bassinet, but it was to no avail! The child wanted to be with me.

    Now, every night after her bath, I put her down in her crib and sometimes by the third waking I just nurse her in my bed and we sleep together. I am abstaining from alchohol and am not a smoker. The one time that I have had to be on medication for a cold, I kept her in her own bed because I did not want to sleep to heavily.

    I guess you could call me a part-time co-sleeper. Of course, I don't tell everyone this because I would be chastised.

  2. Sarah, why would you be chastised in the society where you live?

  3. I just read this. (I am from the USA). It always shocks me when people are congratulated for their baby sleeping through the night. When I tell people mine don't, and nurse often, I normally get a confused face. I just smile and tell them I am happy with that arrangement. I understand what you mean.