Co-sleeping, Dare we share?

How about another controversial, debatable topic from within the depths of parenthood?

Co-sleeping

Otherwise known as letting your baby or child sleep in bed with you.

I don’t completely disagree with allowing your little one to sleep in bed with you. I do believe they should know where their bed is and that it’s where they should sleep.

When my girl was newborn I would not have her sleep in my bed at night, not when there would have been three of us in there. No way.
My little baby was so teeny tiny she looked lost in her Moses basket let alone my bed.
I did however take naps with her in my bed, when we were home, her and I alone, while kaboodle dad was at work. I would place a pillow either side of her and put a small blanket over her. I would then sleep on the other side of the bed with a separate blanket of my own. Occasionally we would fall asleep while having cuddles in bed and I would always tell myself off afterwards but being a mummy with a newborn sometimes you just fall asleep. You don’t plan it.

As for the nighttime, when kaboodle dad and I shared the night shifts, a feed for a feed, our little one never slept in our bed. Well, she slept on one of us while we sat on the bed. The rule was; feed the baby sat up, wind the baby, put baby back to bed.
If you feel your self nodding off get up and walk about whilst feeding baby.
If you feel you can’t carry on without falling asleep, wake the other and swap.
Either way, baby would be changed, fed, winded, kissed and placed back into her Moses basket.

As time went on and willow grew bigger, the rules changed.
We (by we I mean I) were less worried about one of us rolling on her without noticing, cuddles on the sofa and in bed more often than not resulted in one or both of us sleeping and this continued until one day willow and I were having cuddles on the sofa and I felt myself nodding off, I turned over and snuggled up to her. About four minutes later I realised I couldn’t hear her breathing (Which was my way of knowing she was safe and sound before I went to sleep myself)
I looked down and I saw that her face was pressed into my boob, her whole face was covered, I panicked and checked her and she was fine but it frightened me enough to realise that even when you think you’re being safe and think you’re not at risk of causing any harm or it being a danger doing so – you’re wrong. I immediately stopped sleeping with willow on the sofa or in a chair. And if she fell asleep I would place her down and do something instead of sneaking in an hour for myself.

As always, with every debatable subject there’s a flip side, here’s my own personal flip side on this matter.

Bedtime was different. Willow would have a bottle and some play, a bath, more bottle with cuddles in our bedroom and as soon as she was asleep we would put her into her bed and we would leave her there. Fast asleep. We had monitors to watch her and she was fine.
This continued.
To this day willow has the same routine; dinner, bath time,bedtime.
She loves her bedroom and she loves her bed. It doesn’t stop her from coming into our bedroom and sneaking into bed with us though.
She always goes back to bed straight away if we tell her, normally with a drink of squash.

In an ideal world, babies would sleep all night and new parents wouldn’t feel completely cream crackered every waking minute of every single day.
This would mean that babies stayed in their own beds at night and keep out of their parents.
We don’t live in an ideal world, our babies get poorly, they teeth, they get bad bellies, they don’t understand the daylight saving changes, they don’t know that 4am in the summer isn’t 8am in the winter. They think if the sky is awake then so should they be.
Us parents? We don’t work that way. We’ve had years and years of sleeping practice. We know the difference between getting up in the early hours compared to getting up early.
I think when it comes to co-sleeping with your little ones there is not right or wrong. In my personal opinion it’s okay if you know the dangers and are aware of them. It’s okay to have your little one snuggle up in bed with you when they’re poorly or teething, unhappy or if they’ve had a nightmare.
It shouldn’t cause a problem if they know where their bed is, if they understand that your bed belongs to you and that is where you sleep and that the same applies to their own bed. There’s only an issue if that boundary is crossed. If your little one is sleeping in your bed more than their own then there is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Getting a child out of the habit of sleeping in bed with a parent is a long, drawn out, hard and challenging process, better to not get into the habit to have to get them out of it I think.

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