When I mistook my baby for a rat - Evewoman

Lady Speak

When I mistook my baby for a rat

Photo: Courtesy

Where exactly should a newborn baby sleep at night? Some mothers prefer cots from the very first day while others, like me, turn their chests into cots for the first month after realizing it's the most comfortable position for a newborn.

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I must, however, warn you that as comfortable as it may feel, avoid it like the plague if you are a deep sleeper like me. Otherwise, you might be the reason your newborn experiences nightmares at a tender age.

I say this because of the results I got the first time I tried out this. I'd had such a long day that by the time I was heading to bed, it took me less that five minutes to fall asleep with my newborn on my chest. Because of the deep slumber, I forgot I had someone depending on my 'mannequin challenge' (complete immobility) for safe sleep and so I ended up changing my sleeping position.

Since I was sleeping at the edge of the bed, your guess is as good as mine, she dropped on the floor without my knowledge and as if she was expecting that from me, she went on to sleep as though nothing had happened! The screams that followed that night when I woke up to breastfeed my baby (and I couldn't find her) were enough to warrant an eviction notice.

That night's ordeal got me thinking of how safe my baby was while spending the night in my bed with me. Those of us who sleep as though we are playing rugby at the international level are most affected. There was this day I suddenly woke up from slumber in the middle of the night only to feel some warm sensation around my toes.

I remembered how I was the only one living on our floor who had said NO to the fumigation guys and imagined that all the neighboring rodents had found a solace in my house. I remembered my grandmother's tales of rats munching on human body parts.

At the count of three, I released a wild scream and jumped out of bed to find my daughter curled under the covers. How she ended up where my legs were is still a mystery to me. She had mistaken my toe thumb for my boobs and was sucking her way to glory probably wondering where all the milk had gone.

I know some of you are about to ask me why I cannot simply invest in a baby cot and forget all the drama. Well, in Komayole, our rooms are so tiny that you have to decide on what you want to occupy it. You have an option of just one - the cot or your bed.

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So if you can buy a huge cot where you all can slumber away, well and good. If not, teach yourself how to share your bed with your infant and decide once and for all to use your body as a bed rail. That is the situation I am in.

I double up as a portable bed rail that takes any shape. I can curve, I can twist and I can coil myself all in the name of child protection and all this I do in the dark because the moment the lights are switched on, I turn into a lullaby recording too. Welcome to this world new mothers, enjoy!


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