First, let me say that all mama choices are good choices. Parents are doing the best they can to raise their little ones with all the love and care they have in their bodies. This post is, as always, my personal experience raising my baby.
I wish someone had written their honest experience about co-sleeping before I had my little one, because right now? I think a lot of mamas are doing it and not talking about it. Hiding it from midwives and pediatricians and friends and family- why? That’s a long story.
Co-sleeping was said to be a big no no after a study said it can lead to SIDs and other sleep related deaths in babies. Now, this is serious. Heavy blankets, pillows, parents under the influence, parents sleeping on couches, and parents that smoke pose real risks to their babies when sleeping with them, especially under four months.
And? Co-sleeping, when executed correctly, is perfectly safe and amazing for mama and baby. Human babies are contact seekers- what they need most are their parents bodies and their survival depends on it.
I feel robbed of those first four months of sleeping with my baby. I got caught up in sleep training and having baby sleep in his crib or in his own space apart from me when all I really wanted was him next to me.
“Balinese babies are generally held almost every moment — day and night, anthropologists have noted. And in Japan, the most common sleeping arrangement is referred to as kawa no ji or the character for river: 川. The shorter line represents the child, sleeping between the mother and father, represented by the longer lines.”
“When the mom is breastfeeding, she essentially creates a little shell around the baby. ‘The mother naturally arches her body around her baby,’ McKenna says. ‘She pulls up her knees just enough to touch the baby’s feet. Inside this shell, the baby hears the mom’s heartbeat and, in turn, changes her own heart rate. It usually slows down,’ McKenna says. ‘The baby also hears the mom’s breathing, which has a rhythm similar to the sounds the baby heard in the womb.'”
So, what am I saying here? I’m saying I’m no expert. What I am is a mama that is co-sleeping with her baby, and I wish I had done it sooner. I am following my gut, research, and eastern traditions that align with my values.
I want to live a value driven life in all things. If for you that means baby in crib day one? Great. If it means exclusively sleeping with your baby since day one? Wonderful.
Do your research, trust yourself. Medical advice is constantly changing and while so much of it is good and right, some of it isn’t. Instead of saying “don’t bed share or co-sleep” I feel we should be teaching others how to do it more safely.
“We recognize and acknowledge that bed-sharing happens. We don’t promote it, but neither do we judge people about it,” Blair says. “By doing that, you can open up a conversation with the parents about the really dangerous circumstances when you shouldn’t do it.”
“Even babies in cribs, when they’re placed close to their moms, have a similar attraction to their mother: They turn their faces to their mom for the majority of the night.”
“..babies have evolved to experience this closeness, night after night after night.”
Bonnie Rae xx
For your own research, some helpful things:
Miles is almost 6 months old! So many people talk about how quickly it has gone, and while part of me feels like it has, another part has felt every moment of these past 6 months. Every new coo and wiggle and laugh has brought me here.
Now that Miles is at an age where he can tag along with mom and dad, participate more fully and take in so much I have been thinking more about our consumption and our values.
From pregnancy to about 4 months I was in self preservation mode. I gave myself grace and gave into cravings, conveniences and consuming more than usual. I tilted toward self-care and loving myself and my baby well.
Now that we are in a different stage I am ready to shift back toward value based living and away from as much consuming and convenience.
Now, if you are currently in a stage where you feel like you’re slipping up, like your new habits aren’t working for you anymore, give yourself grace.
My favorite Podcaster, Brooke McAlary wrote to me when I was struggling and said the following, “You’re smack-bang in the middle of such a big,emotional time that it makes sense for newer habits to slip away. These old, well-won tracks of previous habits seem really comfortable when we’re under a lot of stress and coping with a lot of change…honestly the thing that we always find helpful in those instances is to simply reduce expectations. There’s only so much of us to go around when there’s another more immediate requirement of our time and energy, it makes sense that we slip up. If there’s one tiny little thing we can do in our day that brings us close to where we want to be (add a serve of veggies to dinner, drink an extra glass of water or sit and enjoy three sips of tea, two minutes of deep breathing, deleting the online shopping app etc) then start there.”
If you are not currently in a healthy place to change your habits, that’s okay. There are plenty of podcasts, blog posts, books, quotes, etc. that I have come back to at a later time when they made more sense for me.
If this is the right time for you to make a habit shift I would love for you to join me for Plastic Free July! I attempted this last year with great success. One day, our little family hopes to be zero waste. For now, we’re settling for less waste and plastic free July is a wonderful place to start!
So, what is Plastic Free July? The Plastic Free July Foundation’s mission is to build a global movement that dramatically reduces plastic use and improves recycling. Click here for steps to get signed up and get started! We’re only in the middle of June so there’s still plenty of time to sign up, join in, and get your zero waste kit ready!
This is a great joint activity for the whole family, or for just you and your little ones! The world is hurting and we have to change if we want it to be here and healthy for our children, grandchildren and the other beings we share our earth with.
My zero waste kit, which I will carry each day, includes: my reusable water bottle, reusable shopping bags, reusable coffee cup, one glass jar, a glass straw, reusable cutlery and a cloth napkin.
Sure, it’s a bit more to carry but it’s an amazing reminder of how much we send to the landfill without thinking about it- my purse and zero waste kit are one in the same.
If you plan to join leave me a comment below! I would love to know what you plan to carry in your plastic free, zero waste kit.
Bonnie Rae xx
And just like that, it’s spring.
Recently, I asked on my Instagram if readers would like to see my current capsule and everyone said yes! So here it is.
In the past I had much more time to dedicate to perfecting my capsules. I also didn’t have a nanny and baby to pay for, and so I’m shifting to a capsule starter kit. A concept originally created by the wonderful Caroline on her blog Un-fancy.
What is it? A capsule starter kit is pulling 10-15 pieces of your wardrobe together while answering the following questions.
1. What is the weather like where I live this Spring?
HOT. It’s hot and humid here in Virginia, plenty of rain and plenty of heat. But you know where there’s no heat? My office building. They blast the air conditioner as soon as the sun makes an appearance so I am dressing for VA weather and for my office.
2. What is my lifestyle like right now? Where do I spend most of my time?
I’m a mama! A mama to an adorable, nursing, drooling 5 month old. I don’t see a ton of crisp white, easily stained,” hand-wash only” items in my future. I see lots of button ups that allow for nursing and pumping and clothing both professional for work AND comfortable for cuddling my little one.
3. What colors am I into right now? What colors do I already have that might work for spring?
Blue, grey, white, olive/sage green. Natural, neutral, light. Denim.
4. How can comfort and function fit into this wardrobe? (or any of your non-negotiables when it comes to clothing)
Even with the best intentions I know I will not wear something if it is not comfortable. No matter how many times I add a dress or skirt to my wardrobe I rarely wear them. I put comfort above all else!
Now, stand in front of your closet and pull 10-15 pieces with these questions in mind.
Here are some of mine: Universal Thread Top, Universal Thread Sneakers, Madewell Pants, Eyelet Top
My favorite outfit formula? Pants, button down, flats/sneakers/sandals. On the weekend I reach for denim shorts and a t-shirt with the same shoe options.
No need to spend money, no need to stress about planning- use what you’ve already got and love.
More tips: Don’t be afraid to repeat items!
Try to be realistic, you may love an item on someone else but not on you- that’s okay.
Hang items back up if they aren’t truly dirty (good for the environment & your water/electric bill)
Bonnie Rae xx