Co-sleeping and well, sleep in general for us has been one heck of a long journery. As I am nearing nearly 2 years of looking after a child, and by that I mean being a mother two years. I thought I would share with you my thoughts on co-sleeping. It’s a hotly debated topic and I found that I was rather terrified when it came to co-sleeping. We’ve been no stranger to sleep exhaustion. Still our child at nearly two doesn’t sleep through the night. I’ve tried letting her put herself in a routine. I’ve tried to make a routine. Nothing ever works. She’s stubborn like her parents and whether she had 1, 2 or 3 naps from an early age it meant nothing when it came to night time. It’s getting better but believe me when I say its not been an easy journey.
We struggled at the start. R used to work away and I was parenting solo especially in those hard few months of getting up 4 times a night. I was exhausted beyond anything in my life, and I even went to university and had those all nighter kind of days. This was something else. Exhaustion can honestly be a killer and I was worn out beyond belief. One time my mum was at home and I had a nap while Imogen slept. Except I didn’t wake up even when she was screaming. I didn’t hear a sound and she was cm’s away from me. It’s scary that it could do that, but luckily that has only been the one time and someone was around to help.
In the beginning we bonded amazingly, Imogen slept in her moses basket beautifully, she transferred into her cot in our room at 3 months old as she had a tendency to rock the basket, to a point of fear. We had the usual amount of feeds and sleepless nights as expected. Then it went south. When a child is supposed to get up in the night less we had the opposite. She was waking up more screaming and not wanting to be put down. The only thing that soothed her was sleeping close to me.
That began our journey. It was around the age of her being 6 months that we started to really co sleep. We made it as safe as we possibly could, and being light sleepers meant that we woke up to every single sound. It started not purposely trying to keep her in our bed. Just to try and get her to sleep so we could move her. This would happen around 4 or 5 times a night. It was no easier than having a newborn. We were beyond stressed and it was something that worked for us in the end. Despite my attempts to move her back into her cot, she would wake up minutes later. As a couple we’ve always slept with different covers as we differ in body heat a lot, so Imogen had her own blanket to make sure she didn’t over heat between us.
The move to her cot still isn’t easy. I wish I could say we have a solution. We don’t. She would never go straight to sleep lying in her cot or basket no matter what we did. NOTHING worked. I know a lot of people can tell you a million different things to try, different ways, products, lights, no lights. The works. We tried everything we possibly could. I even tried to let her cry it out. Personally, I don’t believe crying it out is a solution. It’s not for me, or for us. Everything took it’s toll on us and I found myself trying it. I have never had my heart broken as much as I did that night. It didn’t work. Hours later she was still crying and stressed out by being in her cot, and this was at around 8 months. She still doesn’t like going straight down in her cot. She hasn’t attached herself to anything to give her comfort apart from us. And I’m sick of wasting my money on products in hope.
So with everything in mind. We got lazier. We let her sleep in our bed. She started to sleep through the night. Only in our bed. It took until we had our own home for things to slowly but surely get easier for us. We settled more together at certain times. Some nights she will sleep through, and some nights she will join us and refuse to leave. In the past month she’s only joined us twice in our bed after a nightmare. Just as they say ‘and this too will pass’. It will. There will become a time that she no longer sleeps in my bed at all and I will miss her comfort and knowing she’s close to me. MY worst fear honestly was what if I rolled on my baby?! I still did it. I never rolled on her because of the position we slept in. It truly worked for us and helped us all sleep easier at night.
I’ve asked a couple of others about their opinions on co-sleeping and whether it is for them despite the negativity surrounding it.
Rachel – Coffee Cake Kids – We did it with our youngest two. The middle one because he was breastfed and wanted feeding every two hours until he was two. It was the only way we got any sleep. The youngest was formula fed, but we knew he was our last baby and I think we just wanted the cuddles to be honest. Worked well for us!
Sarah – Just Buttons Blog – To begin with I was completely against it and I swore I’d never do it, but one night my son had a terrible cold and refused to sleep in his own cot. It was so stressful but in the end we all needed sleep so I gave in. We had such a good night’s sleep so I was converted! We now co-sleep whenever my son refuses to sleep alone – usually when he’s not feeling well. He’s aware that he has his own bed so I’m not worried about the attachment side of things. But at the end of the day you’ve got to do what is right for you at that moment in time!
Rachael – From Rachael Claire – I’ve been co-sleeping on & off for the past 11 months (more on that off.. OBVS). Luckily for me my sister co-slept with her youngest so I had her as support & to always back up my decision. I’ve had a LOT of negative comments, “making a rod for your own back, we don’t advise that, you don’t want to be doing it forever” but I couldn’t give two fucks. A girls gotta sleep & if that means sleeping with my boobs out & snuggling with my tiny he-beast, you bet your ass I’m gonna do it!
Emily – Babies and Beauty – I’ll be totally honest it wasn’t for us. It was tempting with P as his sleep is awful but his risk factors were always elevated; he’s a boy, he was premature, we have a SIDS death in the family. So my fears hugely outweighed my want for sleep.
Claire – Dear Mummy Bear – I don’t know if it’s because I was breastfeeding or the pain of recovery but when the breastfeeding support told me about Co-sleeping and I spoke to my hv, I decided to try it to make things easier for us as I was so sleepy while feeding him and finding it difficult in the night, and honestly I’d never look back on thst decision. Sure, I could do with a bigger bed but they were some of the best nights for us, so cosy and cuddly and not having to wake too much to help bubs feed etc, and we were both feeling so much better for it in the mornings and daytime. He transferred to his cot amazingly and I miss the co sleeping so much now. I think if done safely it can really change everything for the better and make you happier mum and baby, and not to forget the adorable cuddles.
It goes to show that most people are pretty wary and understand the risks that it comes with when it comes to co-sleeping but a lot of people find that it either outweighs the benefits. Or, that they ‘caved’ into it and found that it worked for them. As long as it is done safely just do what’s best for you. For more advice about the health and safety of co-sleeping and when and when not to, check out The Lullaby Trust .
What are your thoughts and opinions on co-sleeping? Have you ever tried it? Let me know below.