Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bassinets and a Cold

I wish I were a minimalist sort of person when it comes to 'stuff' that one likely doesn't need... but no matter how much I try, I don't seem to be able to rein in the desire for items that seem really, really necessary - but which I know on one level are absolutely not necessary at all. And so having a baby gives rise to this opportunity to have more extremely important stuff... but stuff that you could likely get away with not having.

So I'm trying to determine what we'll really need, versus what I would just like... To be honest, since we're planning to co-sleep, buying a crib was a difficult decision, and so we decided to invest in a crib that turns into a toddler and then a full size bed. And I don't know if co-sleeping will work out...

But the question is whether we will need a bassinet? Jen pointed out that the little one naps very nicely when in a sling, and then there is always a comfy laundry basket with a blanket, etc. And my mum has just ordered a lovely babysit which, from the reviews, the baby can nap in... but, an actual bassinet?

Most of my worries about NOT having one relate to my concerns about co-sleeping and wanting the poppet to have somewhere secure to sleep in a basket/bassinet which is in the room with us (obviously). And then there are the naps.. because I am not in the least bit confident that I won't need a bit of time without wearing the babe. Oh, and this is where lots of guilt becomes entangled in this relatively straightforward decision... Oh my.

If we decide to get something, then there are lots of other decisions about what we should get... a bassinet, a moses basket, a pack n' play, or something else entirely.

Thoughts, anyone?

In other news I am feeling quite, quite sorry for myself as I'm lying here on my sofa, surrounded by cough sweets, water, tissues, and juices trying to get some relief from this cold which feels worse everyday. What was a sore throat last Thursday evening is now a rather horrid cold. Sleeping is very tricky because as soon as I lie down I start to have a coughing fit, and so last night I slept (sort of) propped up with some pillows. This is not a comfortable way to sleep. I even broke down and took tylenol as my head is pounding and my sore throat is not liking the constant hacking cough. And has anyone experienced the lovely sensation of acid reflux burning an already very sore throat... Oh, delightful!!

I know that pregnancy is meant to lower your immunity, but I'm a bit taken aback as this has completely wiped me out.

Fortunately those lovely fruit shakes I've been making help with both the nausea and throat stuff.


  1. Oh, Alex, you poor dear! I think you're right that your immune system was already suppressed, and then your resistance was down, so the bug got you. I'm so sorry you're so miserable! Thank goodness for the smoothies!

    It sounds like you'd feel much better if you had a bassinet. So you should get one! I think it's probably better to have something and not use it than to need it and not have it. And it's true--you need to feel NO GUILT about wanting to be able to put the babe down on occasion. ;-) You will need that to maintain your sanity.

    It sounds like that crib was a really good invesetment, since it converts into so many different things.

    I hope you start to feel better soon!


  2. Oh, thanks, Jen. I have all these 'ideals' around what I want to do, about the sort of mothering and parenting style we feel very strongly about, and yet I really know that I have all kinds of personal limitations.. and I'm sure I'll uncover plenty more limits when the poppet arrives. But, goodness, there are plenty of opportunities for guilt to creep in...

    Aha, I am not good at being ill! I somehow think that I feel much, much worse than everyone else who has the same thing :)

    Lovely to see yuo yesterday!
    love, A

  3. Alex, don't buy a bassinet! Babies use them for such a short period of time that it is not even worth it, I know Sara's head never even hit the bassinet. We co-slept with her for the first year, and that was fine, we did have a crib for her when she needed to transition to her own bed. I would get a Moses bed if anything, they don't cost much and work just as well as a bassinet. Keep forcing those fluids girl! Ellen :-)

  4. Alex, you have hit the nail on the head. We have our parenting ideals and they are often in conflict with our personal limitations. And the guilt! But remember your motto of "the good enough mother." Anyone who says you have to act according to your ideals all the time has never been a parent! You do the very best you can, you follow your gut, and then you try to accept it and move on when you need to revise those expectations. And the fact is that you simply cannot know yet how you'll feel or what you'll want to do; you go with the flow according to Poppet's needs and your own.

    Ellen is right, though--you don't *need* a bassinet. But if you're so stressed about it, it might just be better to get one and move on--even if you don't ever use it once! ;-)

    Truly, though, for a newborn you don't need one and you've always got the crib, anyway, which you can keep in your bedroom if you want to (unless there isn't room?).

    Hard to make such decisions when you're ill and tired, too.


  5. Ok, I have NO idea what the difference is between a bassinet and a moses basket but I think it's probably a good idea to have somewhere to put the baby whilst you eat/cook/pee!

    G spent a LOT of his time napping on the sofa when I needed to free my arms but I didn't have pets/a toddler to protect him from so we have bought a moses basket this time for #2.

    We also couldn't manage co-sleeping - I just couldn't trust myself or C not to roll on him and even G slept a lot better right next to us but in his own space. We used the carry-cot from his buggy for day and night sleeps (with an upgraded cool-max airflow blah blah etc mattress) but have now sold that travel system so we've invested in a separate MB for this baby (not expensive, got a very nice and simple one from John Lewis for £29).

    You don't need to make a decision yet, if the day comes when you realise that the cot/sling/co-sleeping aren't quite working out for all 24 hours of the day then you can soon send Rich out on an emergency mission for one!

    Really hope you feel better soon, hopefully you're getting the illness out the way now - I can promise you that NOTHING is less fun than coming down with a hacking cough the day after you give birth... How those stitches held I will never know!

    Get well soon xx

  6. I hope you feel better soon, Alex!

    We thought about a pack n play but I don't know how much room we'll have. There's nothing wrong with setting down your baby in the crib for naps, either. We don't have a bassinet yet and honestly might not get one. I plan to hit garage sales to find some good deals at least then that'll help the budget.

    Colds and feeling miserable while being pregnant is no fun. I really hope you heal up quickly.

  7. Alas, it is called "mother guilt" - i'm going to dig something up I once wrote about it for you :)

    i had lots of ideals before i became a mother and it was only when #3 was born that i started forgiving myself for not being able to meet my mothering ideals (eg, breastfeeding for 12 months, co-sleeping, sling wearing etc.) I think the best way to avoid the guilt is to be flexible and accepting of all ways of parenting (and don't compare yourself to anyone else!) we all do the best we can and there is no ONE right way because all mothers and babies are different (i've done it four times now, and each time is completely unique just as each person is unique!)

    As for a bassinet/moses basket... I have to admit that while they are *only* useful for the first 3-4 months i did find them tremendously useful for that time. in fact, leila (at 4.5 months) is still in hers because she sleeps better there than in her crib! I was never able to co-sleep all night with my babies - i just couldn't sleep deeply with a little baby next to me... (too scared of smothering) so i would put him/her in a bassinet right next to my bed and that was the perfect compromise. it doesn't matter what you use - bassinet, moses basket, pram... it just needs to be cosy (i didn't find the pack and play cosy enough - although it is very useful for travelling when the baby is older!)

    also over here you can hire a lot of baby items - esp. items that you don't use for very long so you might find that a good compromise (assuming you can do the same in the US!) finally, you can also sell things easily if you don't use them ... there is a huge market for second hand baby goods :)


  8. this is worth reading!

  9. yes, it's definitely all about the "good enough". I LOVE winnicott, he was such a wise and gentle man. When I read his work it makes so much sense to me and is realistic. You have ideals and that is great, that makes you a thoughtful accommodating mother already. You would be insane if you didn't need time apart from the babe, and I think it is imperative actually to have some you time, absolutely crucial so that you can be emotionally present with the baby. There will be times when you don't feel present, or you're just too fucking exhausted, and that's okay, that's where good enough comes in.

    I don't know what a bassinet is! I know katherine and rich would let willa nap in her detachable car seat, or she slept on rich's chest, in the burrito (swaddle) thing on their bed and in her cot (though they co-slept too).

    That cold sounds like it was sent from hell. Poor thing. I hope rich is looking after you well?!

  10. Wow, everyone, THANK YOU!

    Before I reply to your wonderful comments.. can I just say that I am still feeling utterly miserable with this cold. I went to the Drs yesterday as Deb suggested that I should (though she doesn't see patients on a Thurs so I saw another very nice Dr). I picked up an inhaler, which hasn't seemed to help yet. It's worse at night - especially the coughing - so I spent most of the night awake, getting no relief whatsoever. Moan moan moan...

    Thanks, Ellen! Our plan is definitely to co-sleep... so it's so hard to know what to do. I think the moses basket might be best for us, too, because it's so moveable and we have a sprawling house so I like the idea of being able to take the basket from room to room...

    Aha, thanks for reminding me about the 'good enough mother' concept. It is for sure my guiding principle :) Consciously I am very much going into this feeling very flexible and adaptable, and then it comes to a decision about something relatively straightforward and I begin to wonder what kind of mother would already be worried about spending time with her little chico :)

    I had thought about just using the crib, but it would be a nightmare to move into our room (the small doorways, etc) and when he naps I'd like him to be downstairs with me... so perhaps a moses basket - rather than a bassinet - might be for us. Oh, so many decisions.

    Thanks, Alice! Rich and I were thinking last night that your due date is. wow, a few days away!!!!! How are you feeling? I suspect you're really ready for this baby to arrive. I am still predicting a girl!

    re: difference between bassinet and mb: a bassinet is almost like a small crib, so they're more sturdy, I think, and not as moveable as a MB. I think the MB might be for us, given this feedback. God, can you imagine if we left the poppet on the sofa with Kiltie and Sammy!

    Thanks, K. Let me know what you decide to do with the bassinet. The moses baskets aren't very expensive, either. One other thing which is moving me toward a moses basket is that the cribis upstairs and it gets very hot up there. It may be that we end up sleeping downstairs in the bedroom on that floor, and so it would be helpful to have something down there...

    Oh, Kate, THANKS so much for writing this out and also for linking me to the article. I really do feel quite reassured by the good enough mother idea, and while I absolutely do have things I want to do because they make so much sense to me, I'm really aware of the type of person I am. AS I said to Jen in email, it may be that I surprise myself by what I CAN do, but I'm really preparing myself to have some new limits revealed. It really does help to hear about your own experiences... and I cannot imagine how different it is parenting one child as opposed to FOUR!! Your kids are so fortunate to have you, Kate.

    You're so wise, Lou. As I think about my desire to be able to go cycling or rowing (what kind of mother wants to leave her baby to go rowing on the lake?) I'm trying to keep in mind what those activities do for me. Rich will attest that they make me into a much nicer person :) Don't you just love Winnicott?

    Love, loveA

  11. Okay, well, I know you're getting differing opinions here, but buying a bassinett for Lil C was the best thing we bought...we used it for several months STRAIGHT. When he was napping during the was small and snug and fit him perfectly, I didn't have to worry about him being on a big bed...and even the crib seemed too big for the little guy. We kept the bassinett by the side of the bed and it worked out wonderfully. Just my 2 cents.

    Feel better honey. So sorry you're ill. :(


  12. Alex--just remember that in taking time to address your own needs (to row, or to sleep unencumbered, or whatever), you *are* being a great mother. "Great mother" does not mean doormat. It means sacrificing and bending and compromising and putting the child's needs first when that is necessary. But you will be modeling self-regard and self-care for the child, too, and you'll want him to know that you value your own well being and that you can be a better mum to him if you are healthy and happy and well.

    So there. ;-)

    The Moses basket sounds lovely--wish I'd known about those! (Though in our case, it likely would not have mattered!)


  13. This is so random, but Karla had a bassinet when she was a baby, and I remember it as being this really sweet and comforting little nest. Even now, I have such a positive association with bassinets and the comfort they bring.

    ...This has no relation to your decision to get one, but I just thought I would let you know (as a post-bassinet child) my perceptions.

    Whatever you decide, I have no doubt that Rafi will feel loved and cherished and cared for in such a wonderful and real way.

    I love you.

  14. hey alex
    just thought i would pop in & leave a note to let you know i'm reading and that i am loving hearing about the pregnancy and all that comes with it. who knew bassinets vs MB would be such a hot topic ;) hehe i love it!

    sorry to read that you are still feeling knocked out by that horrible cold :(
    try and take the time to rest before lil poppet comes along.