The other day my wife informed me we had a problem: Our newborn daughter (Now 10 weeks old) didn’t fit in her bassinet any longer. We went into her bedroom that housed the $600 crib from great grandma, heavy sighed, and proceeded to discuss the logic in putting the baby in her crib, in her own room, and begin the process of letting her sleep without our constant watchful eye. It was a tough conversation to have because as I explained the course of thought—babies too big for bassinet, she’s 2 months old, we don’t have something else for her to sleep in the room with us that would be comfortable—I could see the look on my wife’s face.
Her forehead was scrunched up. Her lips were pierced tightly. Her eyes looked a bit moist, and she just nodded her head up and down in defiant agreement. This was going to be tough. Her only argument was, “It’s easier to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) if she sleeps in the same room for a while longer.”
I agreed with that argument, but it didn’t prevent me from accepting the reasoning behind having our baby sleep in her room, in her crib, which was much bigger than her bassinet. Before the baby was born, my wife and I read quite a few articles online about beginning the process of your baby sleeping in their own room. It’s actually quite scientific. Most of these articles also had an abundance of guilt driven messages that made us think we would be bad parents if we didn’t instantly put our newborn baby in her crib on the other side of the house. I’d go into the details of how to slowly get your baby to sleep in their crib, but that’s not what this bit of writing is about. We even had a hard belly laugh at the film Away We Go with John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph. There’s a scene where Burt and Verona (Krasinski and Rudolph) visit a hippy friend who lectures them both on the benefits of “Family Bed” and the pending dysfunction that occurs when a parent separates themselves from their children. I’m not sure if we laughed because we agreed with idea that “Family Bed” was silly or if despite societies warning we knew that putting our baby in her own room would be like chopping off a foot.
The following day I came home from lunch to pick up a few work related items I’d forgotten that morning. My loving wife rushed to me with a small mattress-like item in hand that had a protective border around it. It was called the “Safe Sleeper” by a company called The First Years (Not a plug for the company, just a matter of fact). She explained to me the benefits of such a device for the baby and how it prevents them from rolling over onto their stomach and suffocating which is one of the causes of SIDS. I asked her how much it cost: $49. I also asked her, “So, this just fits into the crib?”
She looked at me sheepishly, “No, not really.”
I was confused. I asked, “Well, where does it go? I don’t get it. Do you put it on the bedroom floor?”
My wife grinned shyly and said in a sweet, high pitched tone, “No. It goes in our bed with us. She would be sleeping with us in our bed. Come see this!”
Before I could comment I was being rushed to the computer and shown a series of statistics that support “Family Bed” as the #1 preventative measures for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. I was also shown an article that stated the intent to separate a baby from their parents in an effort to create “independence” was a recent trend that was really not working. Somehow this inclination was creating nation of self-centered, overly individualistic, mean spirited people (Maybe a bit of an exaggeration). This article also heavily mocked any child-rearing institution that made parents feel guilty for allowing their children to sleep in the same bed with them. I was stunned. It wasn’t because I vehemently disagreed with the concept of “Family Bed”, or felt the well educated family doctors who did the research and wrote the articles were buffoons for suggesting a child sleep in the same bed with the parents. No, I was stunned because I completely, totally, unequivocally agreed an infinite percent. Suddenly my laughter at hippies in the movie Away We Go became an agreeable chuckle.
I nearly high-fived my wife with a follow-up congratulatory slap on the ass as if she made the game winning shot with seconds left. Job well done, honey; we have a little more time to protect ourselves from immanent separation anxiety. Whoopa-whoopa…What a woman!
Just in case you were keeping score: Husband= 1, Wife= 1, Baby= 1—Society’s pressure to guilt people into following a methodology that is both disagreeable and seemingly creating a nation of robotic, loveless, uncaring drones= 0.