Thursday, February 12, 2009

Baby Monitors, Baby Wearing & Co Sleeping

 This is answering e-mail. I thought it might help young mothers so I posted it here..

I do have one baby monitor I feel very strongly about...YOU! While I understand there are sometimes good uses for them, I have never liked or used baby monitors. If I am working outside, I put the baby in a stroller close by and in my line of sight in a safe location with a sun/insect barrier. If I am in the house, baby is never more than a few feet away from me, Clint, Brandon or Amanda. As a woman who has literally seen how quickly tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires can develop, I firmly believe in keeping my little ones close by an adult or mature teen. I've personally seen how quickly a 4,000 square foot building can go from a burning ember to a rolling inferno. I can only run so fast. I have also heard of babies choking on objects the baby found upon awakening from a nap. The mother never heard the child because the monitor did not pick up the noise. Baby monitors are not perfect and can give a false sense of security.

I live on a farm. We cut and haul our own wood from trees on our land. We put in fencing and build animal shelters. We garden, clear land, hunt, and dig ditches. If it is too hot/cold for the baby to be outside, we have someone stay inside (a parent or an older, capable child). Keeping the baby close might slow us down or keep someone out of the action, but it is safer for the baby. I will always choose safety over convenience. Death is permanent. My children are worth the sacrifice and extra effort. 

On baby carriers (slings/wraps/baby packs/etc), I have tried many but have never found one I was comfortable with. I have a large chest and that affects positioning and comfort. I have also heard so many stories of injuries to the baby from slings/wraps/etc that I prefer to use my own arms. That slows me down but really "girds loins with strength!" (see Psalm 31) Before Emily was conceived, I was able to pick my 150 lb son up and put him on a counter. (I can't do that now-he's heavier and I am still weak from my difficult pregnancy.) With the work I do around our farm, I am often not able to wear my babies for safety reasons also. So, it doesn't work for me but, I am a big advocate of baby wearing for those who can and do so safely!

Our babies sleep in a cradle in our bedroom until they are a few months old. If Clint is working a midnight shift, I sleep with my babies. Clint sleeps so deeply that I sometimes have to punch him repeatedly to wake him up so we both see a big risk there so we don't co-sleep if he's home. Unless I am extremely tired, I sleep so lightly that I can hear every little noise the baby makes and I get very little quality rest which is why we move them out earlier than some mothers would choose. All of the children except Brandon sleep within a dozen footsteps from our bed so baby is never far away even when in a separate room. Again, it doesn't work for our situation but, I am a big advocate of co-sleeping for those who can and do so safely! If the house gets chilly from a lapse in wood stove loading or baby is having trouble resting, Clint will sleep on the couch so I can sleep with the baby. What a guy! We work together to create the best environment for our children.

Seek God for wisdom. Find what works best and safest for your family and do it without apology to those who think you should do otherwise. Don't be given to fear, but do trust those instincts God instilled in you. Never compromise on safety.