Podcasts Jamilia Beasley, founder of Terra De Mama, on listening to her instincts, and her journey to meeting her baby and her needs. Listen/ Watch links: Enjoying the show and you'd like even more? Become a Patron! SUMMARY- Jamilia Beasley, the founder of Terra De Mama, shares how she started listening to her instincts after trying to stick to the usual advice. Jamilia shares her experience with bed-sharing and babywearing and how these tools helped her meet both her son's needs and her own. You can find Jamilia on her website, Instagram and Facebook. Enjoy the podcast? Donate now to help us produce Season 3 Full Episode Transcript: Carly: The Beyond Sleep Training Podcast- a podcast dedicated to sharing real tales of how people have managed sleep in their family outside of sleep training culture because sleep looks different with a baby in the house and because every family is different there is no one-size-fits-all approach to take. I’d like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which this podcast is being recorded, the Kalkadoon people, I pay my respects to the elders of this nation and the many other nations our guests reside in from the past, present and emerging. We honour Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, water and seas as well as their rich contributions to society including the birthing and nurturing of children. Carly:Welcome back to the Beyond Sleep Training podcast. I’m your host, Carly Grubb, and with me today is Jamilia Beasley, otherwise known as Terra De Mama who I am a big fan of following on Instagram. Welcome, Jamilia. Jamilia:Hi. Well, thank you for having me. Carly:Now Jamilia is a postpartum doula and also an infant sleep educator, and she is the mum of one little boy. Is that correct, Jamilia? Jamilia:Yeah, that is correct. Yes. One 19-month-old, little boy. Carly:Beautiful. And she’s coming all the way to us from Arizona in the USA, and we were just talking before we came on to record about how similar her place is in the US to where I live in outback Australia, and I love that we could be able to connect over those similarities as well from all this distance. So, thank you very much for coming on. Now… Jamilia:Thank you for having me. Carly:As we start the episode I’m really curious to hear, and I love asking our guests this question, how did you think you were going to handle sleep with your baby before he arrived? Jamilia:Well, we thought we were just going to put him in a bassinet and he was just going to sleep eight, six, seven hours and we didn’t really think any much about infant sleep. We just kind of went in and were just like, alright. You know, we’re going to come back to the… from the hospital and we’re just going to put him in the bassinet and that is it. And that did not go as planned. Um, yeah… Carly:As is so often the case for so many families I believe. Jamilia:I know. It’s insane how it’s often the case for so many families. Yes. And yeah, so we pretty much just… I guess what happened was we just did not really know a lot of information about infant sleep, so we were just so confused. We were I think the first night from, back from the hospital, it was just my son would wake up every 45 minutes, and we were just like what’s going on? What is normal infant sleep? And then he’d make all these breathing sounds and noises and we’re just like, what is going on? So, we would be up on Google at 3 am, you know, just like trying to figure out what is going on. Like, is our son normal? What are we doing wrong? He should just be sleeping in the bassinet. And he just would not do it. Safer Sleep And I, unfortunately, had a C-section, so I wasn’t able to like nurse him in the bed or anything like that. And you know, I thought about like bedsharing and all that, but I was like I don’t know, I don’t really feel comfortable with bedsharing. So, we just then keep putting him in the bassinet. And then just my own intuition, I felt like, well, you know, I feel like bedsharing is like normal and it’s, you know, one of the normal… most normal or natural things you can do as a mum is to bedshare. And it’s been around for thousands of years. So, you know what? I feel like, you know, maybe we could bedshare once like I’m healed? You know, and I just kept putting it off and like, no, he needs to sleep in the bassinet. Like, it’s not safe to sleep to do any type of bedsharing and, you know. I just kind of kept putting it off. I even tried looking up a sleep schedule for him. I was just like, I was just insane. I just felt like my brain was just going just insane because I was trying to get my son to sleep in the bassinet and he would just not sleep longer stretches in the bassinet. Carly:So how, at that time, how were you actually getting him to sleep? What was working for him to actually get off to sleep? Jamilia:Well, we were doing a combination of breastfeeding him and then also formula feeding, and what pretty much got him to sleep was we would have him in the carrier pouch and we’d walk him around throughout the house, and then we would transfer him in the bassinet and then [5:00] he would sleep for maybe about 45 minutes, an hour, and then he would wake up and then we would kind of have to redo all of that again and again and again. And I was just like, this is not working out. I was like, this is not sustainable. This is not, you know, this is not normal. You know? And so I just, you know, I would occasionally put him in our bed. Once I was able to kind of sit up and do other things without my… my partner I was able to kind of lay down with my son in the bed. So I would put, you know, I would wake up. He would wake us up and I would get him and I’d breastfeed him and then I’d just lay him in our bed and, sometimes I would fall asleep with him in the bed. But other times, I would gently put him back in the bassinet. But I was like, you know, this is just not working out for us. I mean there has to be a different way. So I did look online. I was able to find resources about safe bedsharing. I was able to find a community of, you know, parents and mamas out there who bedshared and who co-slept. And yeah, I was like, okay. Like this seems pretty good, and I think I’m going to try to do it. And I remember one… I think it was one morning, it was for his morning nap, and I was just completely tired. I was just exhausted. You know? And I brought him in, in our room, and I breastfed him and I was dozing off. You know, I was breastfeeding him. I lain in the feed position in our bed, and I was dozing off and I was like, no, no. I got to, you know, stay up. I can’t like, just fall asleep with him in bed. I was still having doubts and I was still having a hard time trusting my intuition, and especially when it, regards in to bedsharing. I was just trying to tell myself, mm, so you don’t fall asleep while you are nursing him to sleep. Breastfeeding and sleep And I just completely fell asleep with him while he was nursing on my breast and we slept for a good three hours. And that was the most sleep I’ve got in this whole time. I think he was about two, three months at the time. And that was like the most sleep I’ve ever gotten I think ever since I transitioned into my third trimester. And I was like, wow, this is amazing. You know? This is wonderful. And I told my partner, I’m like, you know what? I think I’m going to have him bedshare with us. I feel like it’s working out. We did it while taking a nap and it was really great. I was able to get sleep. And my partner was like, okay, let’s do it. So we set up the safe bedsharing, you know, we were able to remove like the big blankets and, you know, pillows and all that and… and yeah, we were able to bedshare. And it’s been the most rewarding experience for me as a mum and, you know, I… I loved it. And I still love it. We still bedshare. Yeah. Safer shared sleep Carly:That just, I can hear the relief in your voice when you, you finally got some sleep too. And isn’t it interesting like how despite your brain trying to fight with you about it, your body was still… it was sending all those messages because it’s got all those beautiful sleep-inducing hormones for you as well as your baby. Jamilia:Yeah. Carly:It was… it was calling you to sleep and you actually got there. Jamilia:It was calling me to sleep. Yeah. I got there finally and I was like, why didn’t I just listen to my body before? You know, my body was telling me, you need to sleep. You know? And it’s okay to sleep with your baby. As long as you do it safely it’s totally okay. And I really wish I would have listened to my body a lot more earlier, and not had that self-doubt. Carly:Well I think ‘cause there’s a lot of reasons we have that self-doubt, isn’t there? So, when you were in those early days you said you were, doing some googling and talking to people and things like that. Was… was anyone in… in those spaces talking about safe bedsharing options? Or was it very much still focused on how to get your baby sleeping independently? Jamilia:Yeah, it was all pretty much focusing on my son sleeping independently and, you know, I was like, well, I totally understand. Like I get that, but I’m like, that’s just not working out for us. Like, he’s not sleeping in the bassinet for long stretches or… I mean he would only sleep for about 30, 45 minutes and he would be up and awake. [10:00] So I was like, this is not working out for us. We have to find a different reason. And I, all I would hear was just horrible advice. Like, you know, if you put your baby in your bed, you’re going to roll over your son. You’re going to do this. You’re going to harm your child. All these like just, really just horrible advice in my opinion. And it didn’t help me. It made me even more scared to put my son in our bed. And it took me I think about three, four months for me to finally turn off the light in our room while we bedshare with our son. I could not sleep with the light on because I was so afraid and I think I still had that message in my head that I would roll over onto my son or, I’m harming him. You know. Yeah. So it was just not helpful advice for a new mum. Carly:No. And that fearmongering runs deep. But I think in part of that too is that the… the… while they’re at this messaging they fail to understand the risks that are actually posed with trying to persevere with keeping your child in a separate space. When neither of you is able to actually get sleep it become extremely risky in of itself because you become more and more fatigued and you’re more likely to be falling asleep in dangerous settings, as opposed to being more rested and being in a prepared, or on a prepared surface because you’re actually intending to share sleep. Jamilia:Right. It does. It honestly does, yeah. And I see that a lot when I work with mothers too, you know. It’s like they’re on the verge of sleep deprivation because they’re so focused on trying to put their babies to sleep independently and, you know, and there’s other resources and other ways to get your baby to sleep, you know. And independency is really not the goal. You know? Our babies, they depend on us for lots of reasons, until they’re able to branch off to become more independent, and that takes a long time for that to be achievable. You know? So… Carly:A lot of time and energy gets spent on a goal that’s really not even a worthy one a lot of the time, because while, you know, you and I are both… sounds like we both had it in our heads that that’s what we should be striving for, in actual reality babies are meant to be dependent and they’re meant to need and thrive in proximity with their caregivers. So, it’s really unfair for new parents like us… Jamilia:Yeah. Carly:… who are led to believe that our babies need some… one thing, when actually they need the polar opposite. Jamilia:Exactly. Yes. It really is though. Yeah, and I felt like that really in some ways made me just, the fearmongering a lot in the early days of my motherhood experience really did in my opinion just, it made my motherhood experience a little more rocky because I still was again carrying that self-doubt that, you know, all the information that, you just look on Google and you see like all these sleep advices and they’re just catered towards one point of view and not others. You know, like not like alternatives of, you know. And I just felt very just insecure as a new mum, and I didn’t feel supported. But that’s why I had to branch out to find other support groups and mums who do bedshare and co-sleep because it made me feel, alright, I’m doing something great and wonderful and I’m not putting my baby in… in harm. You know, this is what, you know, pretty much we’ve been doing for thousands of years. You know? And yeah, it just made me feel very empowering to find a community of mums that bedshare and that, you know, were able to co-sleep with their babies. Carly:It’s pretty powerful, I agree. It definitely makes a difference. And just being able to troubleshoot and talk to people who are living a similar experience to you has massive amounts of power. Now I was wondering also, so around this time, you’d said earlier that you’d been using the front pack baby carrier to help with your babe when he was a tiny person. How did day sleep look for you with your baby? Was… was the carrier part of that? Or how was things going there? Jamilia:It was. And for the first maybe like month or so he was able to sleep pretty much like out from our arms. So we would put him on like a little pallet. You know. We supervised him throughout the day. You know, [15:00] and he was just like right there. And then once we… once he turned two months it was like, no, I do not want to lay on this pallet on the floor anymore. I want to be in your arms. I want to, you know, I want you to carry me. So we would… he was always in the baby carrier, for naps and for his night sleep as well. Our baby, the baby carrier was a lifesaver for us and I always tell new mums, I’m like please get a good baby carrier because it… it’s life-changing. It really does help you out a lot. Carly:It really does. Did you know about babywearing, like carriers and things like that before you had your babe? Or was that something that came in afterwards as well? Learn about babywearing safety Jamilia:Came in afterwards. I didn’t really know. Like I knew mums did the baby carriers because I did see them do that before I became a mum. But I did not know how important it was to have a baby carrier and how lifesaving it was. So yeah, I… I really just learned about babywearing after I became a mum. Yeah. Carly:It’s an amazing tool and it’s like one of those things that I feel like it’s like they should be also teaching you that before you take your baby home or something like that. It’s like the… or a, you know, gifting a new parent some babywearing lessons or something to help them with the safety of it and whatnot. Because wow, what a gamechanger it is. Even if they don’t, you know, use it all the time, you’re bound to have stretches where your babe just needs that extra contact and… urghh, it makes the world of difference having two hands-free… Jamilia:It did really. It really does make the world of difference having those two hands free to do what you need to do around the house, or just even eating a meal. You know? Carly:Mm. Jamilia:It makes a difference. Yeah. And I really wish that they would have, you know, they had those resources out for new mums. You know? Especially in the hospital. You know, they don’t really have that information out and, you know, it’s like, man, like we could really use that information. Carly:Yeah. And it also goes some way to also, you know, there is messaging behind that too then as well, where it’s like it helps people understand that their baby is going to need that closeness and that proximity because here, look, here’s a tool that actually helps you both to get your needs met. Jamilia:Like, yeah. Carly:And keep baby, like right here and… and still go about your day. Because that’s something I know for me as a first time mum, it was really hard to navigate that. It’s kind of like, okay, so how do I do anything now? Like I had a real koala baby as well and he was permanently on me. And it took me a while. And it was actually our friend who introduced me to a stretchy wrap. Jamilia:Uh huh. Carly:And it’s like, phew. Okay. Alright. We can do this thing now. Jamilia:Right. It helps out so much. Yeah. And I hear as lot of mums who are just like, you know what? I am not able to do much but it’s okay. I have my baby carrier, I can contact nap, and I can walk around. I can cook dinner. I can do this. You know. And my baby’s just safely on my chest laying down, you know, asleep. And I’m just like, yes, that’s… that’s great. That’s wonderful. You know. Carly:Yeah. And for people listening along too, if you are needing to investigate babywearing I think most cities around the world have sling libraries where you can actually go along and try out various different carriers, and they usually have people who are able to help fit them for you, and that way if you can try them out before you buy. Because I know people usually have a bit of a preference. Like I really like the buckle carriers. I really struggled to get the hang of wrapping. Whereas my sister, she was…. Jamilia:It’s true. Yeah. Carly:…loved her wraps. Like she was amazing with her wrapping. And my sister-in-law prefers a ring sling. I could never get the hang of a ring sling and it used to pull on my back, so I was the buckle-carrier girl. But I think that’s a good thing about those sling libraries as well, you actually get to try out different types to see what might work. And our baby actually usually has a preference as well. Did your baby have a preference? Jamilia:He did. He loved the… the buckle wrap where you, you know, you buckle everything in and all that. He loved that. He didn’t love the… the wraps either. And I had a difficult time with the wraps as well. Carly:Yes. Jamilia:I really wanted to be really, you know, the wraps, and do the wraps. But I was just like, you know what? This is… this is not like easy for me. So, the buckle ones were very easy for me. I would just get it, put it on, put him in, buckle it all in and we’re ready to go. You know? Carly:Yeah, I think… it think that was me with wraps too. I think my baby actually didn’t like them because I used to get frazzled. I just couldn’t… I couldn’t do it quickly enough, or I’d get it wrong and then, I don’t know. Jamilia:Yeah. Carly:I just, I found the buckles very convenient, but watching my sister with wraps was like, wow. Once you do get the hang of them they’re… they’re pretty impressive. So, I think, yeah, for anyone who’s at that stage of trying to work out babywearing, [20:00] I would highly recommend if you got, looking it up on your community pages and things like that and ask, because you’re probably going to find that you actually have a sling meet somewhere nearby - depending on COVID restrictions in different places as well – but I’m sure that there are options out there for you, so worth a check. Now I was, my next question for you was about, I’ve heard you… you said we quite a few times, and I know you said you had your husband as well. So, with your, as your… with your partner, how was he able to help or work with you and your babe when it came to sleep? Was there much that he was able to assist with? Jamilia:Oh yeah, he helps a lot. Like, a lot. I think we do 50/50. But like he helped out a lot, especially in the early days. He would, you know, when we actually started bedsharing he would walk around – and he still does this – he would get the baby carrier and calm our son down, and then he would bring our son into our room. You know, gently bounce him, get him out of the baby carrier, and then he would hand him to me and then I would breastfeed him to sleep. Carly:Gosh. Jamilia:And we still do that. Yeah. So, he was… he was… Carly:What a beautiful way to calm baby down. That’s beautiful. Jamilia:Right. Yeah. And we still do that with our son. He’ll, you know, either… because we still use a baby carrier with him, and he will carry him around and put him to sleep, and he’ll bring him in the room and I am, you know, again breastfeed him to sleep. And it’s just a great teamwork for us. It has worked and it’s, you know, it’s still working. Carly:Sounds like a fabulous pattern to be in, and… and that’s some, that is one tool that I think that a lot of dads and partners find works really well for them, is babywearing. Because… Jamilia:Yeah. Carly:… that, that kind of contact is great for your connection and your relationship, especially if babe is breastfed because some we hear that when baby is breastfed that the partner can feel a little bit unsure about how they can settle the baby. Jamilia:Right. Carly:So, it… it’s great to hear an example. Thank you for sharing that. Jamilia:Yeah. Carly:Because for people listening along, if you haven’t tried that yet as well it’s a great tool. My husband was the king of the carrier. He has always rocked a carrier for it. And I have to say that there’s something a little bit hot about seeing your husband all snuggled up with a baby in a carrier. I don’t know about you, but that definitely was something I really loved. Jamilia:No. I really love that too. I’m just like, damn. You know? I’m like, woah. I’m like madly in love with you even more. You know? Carly:Yeah. I don’t… I’m glad it’s not just me. I said that and I’m like, oh, I don’t know if I should have said that. But it’s true. Jamilia:It’s true. Carly:I did. I found it really attractive. Jamilia:It was really attracting. Yes. I love it. Like even now I’m just sort of, I’m just, yeah, I love you so much. Like… Carly:Yes. Well. And, yeah, you definitely… I definitely have a bit of a magnet for it when I see partners out and about too as well. It’s just… Jamilia:You do. Like, every time when I do see a papa out there, like you know, wearing his baby, I’m like, oh man, that is hot right there. Yes. That.. that’s amazing. Carly:Definitely not alone then. Great. That’s pretty good. Now tell me also, so, once… so babe, when you said you were putting him into the separate surface he was waking up within, you know, the hour, little bit longer maybe. Once you started having him in bed with you did he’s… not wake as much? Or was he still waking quite a lot, but because you were just able to like roll over, put him on and he was back to sleep, was that the difference it made? Or did he actually not wake as frequently? Jamilia:That was the difference it made. It was the fact that we were, you know, sleeping in the same, you know, sleep surface, but he would wake up. He would wake up from his cycle. He would, you know… you know, get my breast and he would put it in his mouth and he would just fall back to sleep. So he was… Carly:Self-service. Jamilia:Yes. Carly:I love it. Jamilia:I love it. And I was like, wow, this is amazing. Like, and I would be so completely unaware. I would just be like half-asleep and he would just like – there was like this weird like connection where I was just like, I would grab my boobs and I’d just be like half-asleep and I’m… and I’d put him… put it in his mouth and he would just, you know. Carly:The difference in fatigue is completely like mind-blowing, isn’t it? Because – and it must be also for our babes as well, because that… Jamilia:Mm-hm. Carly:… the complete prompt response. Like neither of you fully awakens. Jamilia:Right. Carly:And so usually the finding sleep, like getting back to sleep is such a smooth transition on many occasions that the quality of sleep that you’re getting just skyrockets. Or it did for me. Is that [25:00] how it felt for you? Check in with your sleep hygiene Jamilia:It really did for me. Yeah, I felt like I was on cloud nine every single time, you know, I nursed him to sleep. And you know, sometimes I would be resisting sleep. I’m like, no, I’m not tired yet. I still have to do this. I still have to do that. But any single time I would just drift peacefully to sleep. It was just… and I was just like, what is going on? Like why is that like happening? And I did look it up, you know, like the whole hormones and all that. You know? Carly:Yep. Jamilia:Connected to sleep. And I was like, you know, that’s so cool and interesting. You know? It’s really amazing though. Carly:Absolutely. Jamilia:Yeah. Carly:Physiologically our bodies have got our back. Like, they actually… Jamilia:Powerfully, they do. Carly:They recognise that we need to be able to meet our baby’s night-time needs and also meet our sleep and rest needs. So it’s trying to give us that… that happy medium or tool. And it doesn’t mean, so for people listening along, it doesn’t mean that you don’t sometimes feel really fatigued or tired, and you don’t… it’s not that every single night is seamless. But it’s… it’s more of the, the pattern or the norm, it should be that those awakenings are reduced in their length and the amount of energy you need to put out to be able to get your baby back to sleep is reduced. So, it’s that, that’s the whole idea of it. Is that how you understand it too, Jamilia? Jamilia:Yes. That’s how, exactly how I… I understand it. Yes. Yeah. Carly:Yeah. Very cool. Jamilia:Yeah. Carly:So tell me, your babe’s about 19 months now and you’re bedsharing currently still? Jamilia:Mm-hm. Yes. Carly:And how’s sleep looking at about 19 months for you guys? Jamilia:It’s been amazing. Yeah. He’s able to sleep longer stretches. He doesn’t need me as much, which has been a… a relief, but then I’m just like, man, I miss those, you know, cuddle sessions in the middle of the night. But he’s able to sleep longer stretches and he’s able to sleep deeper. And yeah, it’s looking great for us. Yeah. Carly:It’s amazing watching them grow, and I know that hitting around that 2-year-old mark there’s like different things that go on for them again, but they really just grow before your eyes. It’s quite fascinating to see, isn’t it? Jamilia:It’s really fascinating. It’s been very beautiful to nurture him to sleep and just see like the growth and, you know, the maturity and all of that. It’s just been amazing to witness all of that. Carly:Beautiful. And I think our listeners will have really enjoyed listening along to hearing how… how you’ve experienced sleep with your baby. I’m just looking at the time and we’re coming up to our 30 minutes, so I thought I’d check-in. Do you have a tip that you’d like to share with our listeners today? Jamilia:Yes. My tip is to follow your intuition and you are the only one that knows your baby. No one else does. Follow your intuition. You know what is best for your family. Carly:Perfect. It’s simple and it’s true. It’s sometimes hard to tune into that intuition, but it’s usually there niggling away at the back, even if you haven’t figured out how to hear it just yet. Jamilia:Yeah. Carly:So, that’s a really wise thing to suggest to people and I’d strongly encourage anyone listening along to… to see, if you haven’t yet tapped in, tap on in today because it’s going to help you out. And it’s forever, isn’t it? It’s not just with our tiny babies. Your intuition is something that’s worth listening to all our lives. So thanks so much for coming onto the show today Jamilia. Jamilia:Thank you too, Carly. Carly:We, I’ll make sure that we’ve dropped all of your links into our show notes so people can find Jamilia’s work on Terra De Mama on Instagram, her website, and also Facebook. And we’ll put those links into the show notes for today. Thank you so much for your time today Jamilia. Jamilia:Thank you so much. I appreciate you for having me on here. Help us keep creating this podcast! 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