I have something to tell you. Move closer because I have to whisper. It isn’t something that I should really be saying. People will judge me. Here goes… we co-sleep. There, I’ve said it! Where is the lynch mob? Where are the pitchforks?
I admit that our sleeping habit is not necessarily by choice but nevertheless we co-sleep. We have done it with both of our children and despite never intending to and sometimes getting extremely frustrated with the situation, we do actually enjoy it.
Neither Baby Boy nor Baby Girl have ever been good sleepers. I can count on one hand the number of nights that Baby Girl has slept through. Baby Boy has started to improve over the past six months and now will sleep in his own bed, on his own, most nights. Before that however he would wake up countless times unless he was next to Mr K or myself. Baby Girl has followed suit. She will be asleep just fine in her bed by 7pm but you can guarantee that before midnight she will be wide awake demanding to relocate to my bed. I know that you are not supposed to negotiate with terrorists but in my defense there really is no negotiation… I just give in to her demands!
Now according to my mother I have made a rod for my own back and my children are spoilt. It is my own fault that they are somewhat clingy, nervous of certain social situations and unsure of people that they don’t know. Letting them sleep in my bed has ruined them!! I don’t agree though. My children clearly need to feel safe. They need to know that myself and Mr K are there to protect them. They feel secure next to us and if that is what they need in order to sleep (and allow me to sleep) then so be it. I admit that we tried various sleep ‘solutions’ with Baby Boy but nothing worked. His sleep just regressed until I was walking around half dead from sleep deprivation yet half buzzing from the, no doubt excessive, amount of coffee that I was consuming. We gave in and never (well almost never) looked back. It might not be a perfect situation but at least this way we all get enough sleep. And trust me, you don’t want to be around me if I don’t get enough sleep!
Baby Boy has proven that it doesn’t last forever and so until Baby Girl decides to stay asleep in her own bed all night I am going to enjoy the cuddles and ignore the criticism.
Do you agree with co-sleeping?
In just over 6 months baby boy has slept through (not woken at all) once. I’m not complaining though because mostly he sleeps very well, only waking a few times a night for his dummy. He hasn’t needed a night feed since he was roughly 3 months old. When he does wake up I try to be firm. I give him his dummy, cover him with his blanket and leave the room. I want him to learn to settle back to sleep on his own. I don’t leave him crying but I try not to pick him up. If Mr K goes in to him however it can be a different story. Sometimes he will do the same as me but other times he will just bring baby boy into bed with us, a sure fire way of him going back to sleep!
This letting baby boy sleep with us started a few weeks after he was born. He wasn’t a good sleeper at all (to be expected I know) and sleep deprivation was slowly killing us! We would take it in turns to sleep but even that was starting to fail as baby boy’s cries could keep a hibernating bear awake! One night we were both exhausted, so much so that I fell asleep whilst giving baby boy his bottle. Mr K took him off me and lay him in bed between us. That night we all slept for a solid block of time. It was amazing! I couldn’t help feeling guilty though. All of the guidance said that it was dangerous to co sleep. I was torn between needing to sleep and worrying that I was doing the wrong thing. A few more nights of zero sleep however and I was turning to trusty google yet again! I needed to see if we could co sleep safely. There was no way I was going to do it full time but on those nights that I really needed to I wanted to be sure that it could be safe.
To my surprise I found lots of articles promoting the benefits of co sleeping. Each one suggesting that co sleeping is extremely common in non western cultures and that it can promote bonding. There were some common sense suggestions such as keep baby away from pillows, let them sleep on top of the covers with their own blanket and never share a bed with baby if you have been smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs (as if you would!!).
I’m still not entirely sold on the idea and I certainly couldn’t do it full time (especially as baby boy is such a wriggler in his sleep) but on those nights when sleep is hard to come by I am happier knowing that he can come into bed with us and we can all sleep well. Maybe I’m making a rod for my own back but it works for us and to be honest that’s good enough for me.
What are your opinions on co sleeping?
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