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"So, tell me what caused you to hurt your back."
"I've been sleeping on my right side a lot lately."
"Well, why don't you sleep on your left side? Or your back?"
"Because there isn't enough room for me to sleep on my back, and if I sleep on my left side, my baby'll roll off the bed."

I'm envisioning my conversation with my chiropractor.  It probably won't make sense to him, even when I explain that my lower back (and left hip) are aching because I sleep on it, curled up, nearly every night for 4-6 hours.  And that I do this so that I can nurse my baby, who is too heavy to be on the breast pillow, and too strong and active to be held.  And that my baby refuses to leave the comfort of her momma's side, waking every two hours with a teary cry in her crib until she is transferred to the bed from 3:00 am until sunrise.  That logistically, I cannot sleep on my back or my right side and risk her rolling off the bed because she likes to practice tumbling around during and after every feed.

So I used to be anti-bed-sharing, and still am (to a point).  It's not for everyone, and it's not for newborns.  It is for us right now, however, because I need my sleep/sanity and Baby L needs her mommy and her milk, and I'm essentially facilitating an all-you-can-eat free-buffet, nursing-on-demand situation for my high needs babe.  It's totally a pragmatic practice, though, since I hate how Hubbs always ends up displaced as a result of the bed-share (he usually retreats to the guest bedroom when Baby L gets a little too active or space-hoggy).  So, I can't say I love it entirely.  And I do hope that it ends soon, rather than become common practice for the next year and a half (especially as Baby L keeps growing bigger and stronger).

While I'm at it, I might as well also tell you that I plan to breastfeed Baby L until she wakes up one day and decides that she's done.  Initially I had considered weaning her at a year (and previous to that, 6 months), but recently I visited with my maternal grandma, and she changed my mind.

"So, are you breastfeeding Baby L?"
 (wondering if this is a trick question that will lead to a lecture or an impassioned defense)
"Uh, yep, Pau-Pau, I am."
(big smile) "Good, good. (insert approving nod here). You should!  Nurse her until she is at least one year old.  Better if you can do it until she is two."
(colour me surprised)
"Oh, really? Did you breastfeed all of your kids?"
"Every one.  All six kids.  (I'm pretty sure I detected some pride in her voice here). Breastfeeding is good because it passes along your antibodies to keep baby healthy..."

She went on to tell me that my aunts breastfed my cousins.  And I continued to ask her about her time spent as a milking momma.   Now, my Pau-Pau is not a medical professional.  In fact, she didn't even finish junior high.  But her experience mirrors that of countless others who were child-rearing in an era when formula wasn't available, and everyone breastfed.  It was the natural thing to do.  I daresay it still is, so I will keep on keeping on until Baby L tells me that she's done.  Given her independent spirit though, I don't think I'll make the cover of Time magazine or set records for breastfeeding longevity, but I'm "mommy enough" to admit that I might be that slightly-granola mother who still lets her teethy daughter suckle at her breast (and she is beginning to be teethy anyway, since now there are 2 breaking through the gumline).

And I have no qualms about any of this.  I don't happen to care what others might have to say or think about our nursing and sleeping practices.  I've already waged a battle for baby-led weaning, and I'm prepared to stand my ground again; my baby, my way.  Thankfully, that's also how Hubbs operates, so we're on the same page as far as that is concerned.

At the end of the day, it's about a happy and healthy, safe and secure Baby L.  Judging by the big grin that is plastered on her face every time she wakes up and looks at us, I'd guess that we're doing a pretty good job so far.


Three cheers! Good on you!

I''m not weaning. I'm not sleep training. Im doing whatever it takes to keep my baby healthy and happy! I'm so tired of standards and guidelines. It's what's in my heart that I'm honing with now!
~Rain``` said…
I think my should/neck injury is partially due to sleeping on my side while my son slept between me and the wall a good portion of his first year (that and lugging diaper bags and car seats). Oh, what we do for our kids and our own need for sleep.

Keep doing what you feel is best for you, baby L, and your husband.

Aren't sleeping babies one of the most beautiful sights ever?

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