So maybe I’ve picked the wrong time to write about our Co-Sleeping experience finally, or maybe it is the right time. Maybe on this day with so much scaremongering going around over the subject of Co-Sleeping, I should share our positive experience with this natural and beautiful act. It’s something I would put right up there with Breastfeeding.
Now I’m no way a natural parent who screams about attachment parenting being the be all and end all to parenting and life in general. What I will scream about is how I think every parent should do what is right for them, they should take what advice they want, what guidance they want, they should read what studies they want and adapt it to their needs.
And that’s exactly what we did that very first week we had Dylan home from the hospital. Our first week didn’t exactly go to plan; we had a perfect homebirth for him to of only gone and pooped in the waters and given himself an infection. Typical man, he just had to go and poop all over that special moment. We were taken to hospital where he was given antibiotics for a week; this was a horrendous experience for us all. I have never known sleep deprivation like I did that week, I didn’t sleep in 3 days. He was continuously feeding which we found out towards the end of the week might have been down to a slight tongue tie which was sorted while we were there.
I remember having him in bed with me and falling asleep, the nurse came in and told me off. I guess this was my first experience with co-sleeping. Why had she told me off? I had set up the perfect situation for my child and me to sleep together, I NEEDED to sleep, and he NEEDED to feed. We NEEDED to be together. Thankfully that night thanks to me begging and pleading the midwife in charge, the husband was able to stay that night, and I think I got an hour or 2 of sleep.
When we got home, Dylan was introduced into his Moses basket. But he was more content sleeping on me and with me. Which of course I didn’t blame him, he had just spent nine months of his life growing inside of me. We somehow graduated into him coming out of his Moses basket and falling asleep in bed with me feeding. No big deal.
Well, you would think so, right? But I’m pretty sure many people reading that would be screaming WHAAAAT?! You let your baby fall asleep in YOUR bed? Pretty much. Yes.
Co-sleeping was something that instantly felt right, it just happened. Our bedtimes became a routine of him going to sleep in his Moses and come feed times, the husband changing his nappy and putting him on to my boob for us to feed to sleep.
Of course, I was armed with the safe co-sleeping guidelines, most of which were common knowledge when it comes to the life of your baby and safeguarding them. We never drank when we co-slept, we don’t do drugs but then we also never took prescription drugs like paracetamol or ibuprofen when we co-slept, we never put him under a duvet or blanket, we don’t and have never smoked whilst co-sleeping, he was always placed on his back to sleep, pillows were kept well away from him, so his head remained uncovered, our baby was not born premature or had a low birth weight, he was never placed where he could slip in between the bed, we breastfed and most importantly we did what was right by all of us.
There are some fantastic reads out there which state some of the flaws in this research; it explains it so much better than what I can. I never want to give anyone misleading information, and I never go against medical advice or want anyone to do so. There are also reads which cover what these ‘reports’ are not covering. I would recommend reading the following:
I was introduced to William Sears who observed his wife and baby co-sleeping and his words could have been the exact words that my very own husband would come out with if you were to ask him about his co-sleeping experience. Back when I was in that delirious state of no sleep, and I would sleep and feed Dylan, he would be awake. He would be watching over us, keeping us all safe no matter what. Once I had passed that stage, and we undertook co-sleeping as a family, there were nights where he said he just couldn’t not watch us. The conversations we had about this filled with me so much love and understanding. I do think that communication with your partner is a huge key to co-sleeping if you are both sharing the bed with baby, it’s not just the mother that needs to be aware of the safeguarding of baby.
He witnessed everything that William Sears did, how Dylan & I would sleep on our sides facing each other. Feeling his breath on me was such a comfort, I cannot imagine how comforting it much of been for him to of felt mine so close to him while he slept. When feeding, Dylan would attach himself to my boob. His biggest source of nutrition & comfort was right there for him.
These night feeds were the most amazing experience; I never suffered tired days because of nights where I had to get out of bed to sit in a chair to feed the baby to get then him settled in a cot. I tried it a few nights, and I don’t know how I didn’t fall asleep in the chair. For Dylan and me, co-sleeping was what worked for us.
Nine months later, we introduced him to his cot and his bedroom. For the first few nights, he continued to come into our room and finish off the night co-sleeping. Then one night he just slept through and had continued to ever since. I’ll feed him in the evening and put him down around the 7 pm mark and will not see him again until 7/8am where he’ll come and join me for morning snuggles in bed while we have a feed.
What works for us, may not work for anyone else. What used to work for Dylan may not work for any future children of ours. I do believe it’s down to the individual situation and what works best for you as a parent. What works for the baby and what you feel comfortable doing. There is so much conflicting advice out there, and we have many health professionals giving different answers based on their personal opinions and research they’ve been presented with. That it’s all becoming such a minefield, every call we’ve made as parents to our children have come from us doing what we feel is right. We’ve armed ourselves with advice, guidance, information from all angles and we’ve used our instincts to make decisions that work for us.
We have two very happy, healthy children to show for our decisions so far. That’s all the evidence I need to know that we’re doing it right.