While pregnant it was “Do you have the nursery ready?”, now it’s “Is she sleeping through the night?”. These questions are asked by acquaintances and even strangers.
As a believer in attachment parenting and a happily cosleeping, bedsharing mom, I always stumble with how to respond to these questions. Do I give the asker a lesson on the benefits of sharing a room? Do I explain how the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies sleep in the same room as their parents, that it cuts the risk of SIDS in half?
Do I tell them how frustrated I am that our society is so caught up on supposedly fostering independence at an early age, that despite evidence that it can be done safely and is in fact practiced for at least part of the night in a large amount of American households, the AAP still refuses to talk about how to safely bed share with your infant? This is a disservice because it makes it harder for those who do it without having planned it to learn about how to do it safely. And it makes many feel guilty and feel that they can’t speak openly about their nighttime practices.
Do I answer curtly, with the usually true “No” or the fully honest “Sometimes, though not because I’ve been training her to”? Or perhaps just a small piece of my thinking, “No, and that’s fine with me”.
What I really wish is that instead of asking how my baby sleeps, the common questions would be about what she does while she’s awake. If you want to hear about my baby, how about asking what new things she’s been doing, or whether she likes tummy time or when we will start solids? How about giving me a chance to tell you how she loves to stick her tongue out at people and to blow raspberries, or how she has developed an adorable, genuine laugh? These things are all much more natural and important to me than whether she sleeps through the night.