How I ended up a co-sleeping parent.

How I ended up a co-sleeping parent.

It’s 3am, you’re tired, cranky, despairing. You’re listening the familiar squeaky little cry through the monitor and for a moment you pause before jumping out of bed, not moving in the hope it’s just a momentary noise, a practice cry, a dream.

Who are you kidding? The noise gets louder, you push yourself up. Your baby needs you. But right now you need sleep. You scoop your most valuable and precious thing in the world into your arms then sooth them back to sleep in the quickest way you know, while mentally counting how many hours sleep you’ve managed since the last waking.

You return them gently to their cot, tip toe back to bed You’ve don’t remember it ever being this comfy, yet this little life force you’ve created keeps pulling you away. Forcing you from the warm embrace of your pillows.

Sound familiar?

I’m well-practiced at that feeling after 3 babies who chose to check in with me several times a night. I blame no one else but myself, I’ve never been a fan of controlled crying and am too soft to succeed at any other sleep training methods. My baby wakes, I go to them. That’s me.

I’ve self analysed it back to my own childhood sleep niggles, remembering how it felt to wake up alone and in need of company all those many years ago. Tiptoeing into my parents bed and snuggling down between them in the safety of their flannelette sheets.

So how can I deny my own little ones that feeling?

Well, in short, I don’t.

I set off  with good intentions all those many years ago, ignorant to the fact that some babies don’t go happily into their cot and stay there all night. As I repeated the same routine every night; wake, nurse, tiptoe, return. The ending was always the same, three tired bodies together in a double bed, all wanting to be together but society said it must only be two.

After trying, and failing, to keep our babies to sleep in their cots all night we gave in and brought them in to our bed, following all the safety tips, we've finally found a way to make sure everyone gets a good nights sleep. Co-sleeping and me. Then one day I realised,  parenting isn’t a manual you must stick by. You take the basics and you make it your own. There was no one stood at the end of my bed telling me you must put your baby in a cot. This was my house, my rules and my heart and my head wanted him close. He wanted to be close

So co-sleep we did and it was lovely, it is lovely.  There’s no endless trips across the landing, deep in the middle of the night, no dragging myself out from the warmth of my bed, no counting how many hours I’ve slept. So what if I sleep with the duvet half on the bed, with pillows positioned so they’re way out of sight. My bundle of scruminess lies within heads sniff, the feel of his breath lulling me to sleep.

All happy, all safe, and it’s lovely.

 

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45 Comments

  1. 18th May 2015 / 9:59 am

    Lovely post. I think you’re right – you don’t have to stick to a manual (real or imagined) and it’s best to find what works for you and stick to it! x #MaternityMondays

    • 18th May 2015 / 10:16 am

      I’m a lot more stubborn in doing what’s right for me and my family these days. I know co sleeping isn’t for everyone and that there are lots of babies who sleep perfectly fine in their own beds. Unfortunately my boys have all been cuddly night babies.

  2. 18th May 2015 / 10:08 am

    You and I are so similar in many way Ali! In fact at around 4am this morning I brought F into our bed, because he wasn’t settling in his cot. We were properly co-sleeping for about six months last year but it turned into an all night boob-fest and not much actual sleeping was being had. As you say though, it was lovely while it lasted xx

    • 18th May 2015 / 10:14 am

      Lol, that makes me feel better knowing you’ve experienced the all night boob fest! I’m at a loss how I’m going to break that cycle but as I’m going back to work for 3 weeks next week I’ll tackle it next month. So happy to be in great company xxx

  3. 18th May 2015 / 9:03 pm

    I’m a big advocate of do what you think is best. It is your baby, your life and your sleep. We’ve had boo in with us many times and I’m sure the baby will eventually find his way in. I am considering a bigger bed 🙂

    • 18th May 2015 / 10:23 pm

      That’s exactly what I did, bought a bigger bed! sometimes you’ve just got to go with flow

      • 19th May 2015 / 8:14 am

        I love this. It feels like an analogy for a lot of things in life – sometimes you just have to buy a bigger bed.

        • 19th May 2015 / 8:27 am

          Thanks Charlene, sometimes you’ve just got to adjust your own way of doing things!

  4. 18th May 2015 / 9:34 pm

    Loved reading this. My little one is mostly happy to sleep in her cot, but every now and then for whatever reason she just isn’t happy on her own. Then we both sleep better if we co-sleep, and her smile when she wakes up is the best thing in the world 🙂

    • 19th May 2015 / 1:28 pm

      It’s wonderful seeing that first early morning smile isn’t it! There are times when I’d love to stretch out, have lots of big fluffy pillows and maybe even a glass of wine but I know he won’t be in our bed forever.

  5. 19th May 2015 / 11:10 am

    Oh so familiar.
    I’m also not a fan of the controlled crying method. I have however tried the no-cry training method, read every book/article etc however my little man doesn’t follow any training given, he doesn’t like sleep and that is that. I keep telling myself it wont last forever, he is now 16 months and gets up anything between 4-8 times a night. its exhausting isn’t it? but we do it for the love of our babies, no one said it would be easy but its defiantly worth it ~TwinklyTuesday

    • 19th May 2015 / 10:01 pm

      I tried everything with my first and second and nothing worked which is why we straight to co sleeping. He’s been poorly recently and will only sleep on me which is frustrating but I know he’s not himself so just going with it. Sometimes you’ve just got to do what you cn. My 2 older children are fantastic sleepers now so no harms been done.

  6. 19th May 2015 / 1:42 pm

    Such a beautiful post – funnily enough my post for #thetruthabout this week is about co-sleeping too – with my preschooler. I’m now at the stage where I’m quite comfortable ignoring comments about how I should make my little ones sleep in their own bed – if it works for you and you’re happy with the arrangement, then why worry what anyone else thinks? And those nocturnal snuggles are so precious aren’t they?

    • 19th May 2015 / 1:59 pm

      Totally! We both enjoy it so I’m really not influenced by what anyone else thinks. It’s what right for our family and that’s what’s important. I’m popping over to read yours now!

  7. 19th May 2015 / 6:35 pm

    Thanks Marta, I know there are plenty of parents out there who co sleeping wouldn’t be an option so I’d never inflict my opinion on anyone, it just works for us.

  8. 19th May 2015 / 8:10 pm

    I accidentally became a co-sleeper by just because it was cold and I wanted to stay warm under my duvet, but when I did it it was the most natural, instinctive thing in the world and we have a very happy, secure two year old who now sleeps through the night in her own cot. I did feel judgement from some people though, so it did feel like a dirty little secret, but it was absolutely right for us at the time.

  9. Megan - Truly Madly Kids
    20th May 2015 / 9:37 am

    Ahhhhh! I love this. We co slept with my son (he was a terrible sleeper and it was easier to have him in bed with me – sometimes I didn’t even wake and he was feeding). Now, both crawl into our bed – and there is always enough room #mmwbh

    • 23rd May 2015 / 2:54 pm

      Baby R still likes to feed in the night and its so much easier doing it half asleep! It’s amazing how many you can squeeze in isn’t it.

  10. 20th May 2015 / 12:46 pm

    Totally with you on this one. Currently co-sleeping with my 4th baby, only did on occasions with the others but this one just hates sleeping alone. He sleeps great when he is next to me so i am going with that. He is 8 months now . #sharewithme

  11. 20th May 2015 / 4:38 pm

    My boys have slept in their own room from day 1 — they’ve always been good sleepers and we’ve never, ever had them in our bed at night. At the end of the day, you do whatever is right for you and your family, to get through the baby months however which way suits you best! If co-sleeping is the way for you, then so be it! 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

    • 23rd May 2015 / 2:03 pm

      I agree, it’s what works for each family, I’ve never been blessed with good sleepers unfortunately but now my older 2 are the opposite and you have to drag them out of bed!

  12. 20th May 2015 / 5:00 pm

    I co -sleep. My son will be 5 soon and we still do. We will of course train him to sleep by himself when the school vacation starts but for now I will enjoy few more months with him in bed with me. #sharewithme

    • 20th May 2015 / 6:24 pm

      Enjoy it while it lasts, there will be a day when you’re lucky if they sit on the same sofa as you, I know all to well from experience

  13. Alexandra @dontcallmestepmummy
    20th May 2015 / 8:16 pm

    Aww, this is lovely. I was never able to co-sleep due to being clinically obese. I would never have forgiven myself had anything happened. Of course they’ll join us sometimes now they’re toddlers, if they’re unwell, or usually just in the morning. I would’ve liked to have maybe tried it with one of them, but to be fair, we’ve been blessed with four really great sleepers (please don’t hate me) and we’ve done well without. Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing. #sharewithme

    • 20th May 2015 / 9:48 pm

      Thanks Alexandra, it wasn’t my 1st choice of I’m honest, I love my bed, thick duvets & lots of pillows which I’ve had to sacrifice for a while but with having wakeful babies it’s the only way I can function!

  14. 21st May 2015 / 7:27 am

    I’m all for co-sleeping as I followed a kind of attachment parenting technique. I think we need a bigger bed though as the only problem I find is that I tend to not sleep as well #brilliantblogposts

    • 21st May 2015 / 3:29 pm

      I bought a superking size bed so everyone can have their spot, my husband & I aren’t vey big so when we were selling our house I think the estate agent thought we were very extravagant with out huge bed! I’m following an attachment parenting style, it makes my children feel secure and content that they’ve got the safety net of mum to go and enjoy life carefree. It’s wonderful isn’t it, my guys are very happy because of it.

  15. Jenna Michelle Pink
    21st May 2015 / 7:27 am

    We bed share, have done since baby was 15 weeks and out grew his moses basket… I cant imagine any other way of sleeping. Baby is now 2 years and we have another on the way. I can’t see us stopping anytime soon.

    • 21st May 2015 / 3:26 pm

      How lovely that you still do it, I’m just taking his lead, at the moment he’s super cuddly so not even starting the night in his cot.

  16. 21st May 2015 / 12:50 pm

    I totally agree that parenting isn’t a manual, I truly believe that you should do what feels right for your family. We don’t co-sleep for the most part, but when my son wakes at 5:30ish it’s too early for me so I bring him into our bed. I love being able to snuggle up to him and have cuddles because I know that it won’t be forever and I want to treasure every second whilst he’s still my tiny baby xx
    #MMWBH

    • 21st May 2015 / 3:22 pm

      Those early morning cuddles are the best and you’re right, they won’t last for ever so enjoy it while it lasts.

  17. ERFmama
    21st May 2015 / 4:56 pm

    This is us. 🙂 We have both little ones in the bed with us. Bit happy family bed. 🙂 Love it!

    • 21st May 2015 / 7:44 pm

      I’m so glad to read there are lots of us out there, every family’s different and all we can do is what’s best for each of us.

  18. The L's Mum
    23rd May 2015 / 8:50 am

    I definitely think you should do what feels right. My little one always slept so well in his cot in his room until about 6 months ago when I think night terrors started or something, I dn;t really know, but we had some really bad problems getting him to sleep and stay in his cot, I went against everything I said I wouldn’t do and brought him to bed with us, and now yes it happens every night, but he’s happier and we all get some sleep. I realised I just was doing what I thought I should be doing when really it’s all about what makes our family happy and right now that’s him in bed with us, content and happy. Thanks for this post, more people should know that you should trust your instincts rather than parenting books. #sharewithme

    • 23rd May 2015 / 8:56 am

      That’s exact what happened with my middle son, I resisted bringing him into our bed for 8 months then he was poorly & to save my sanity I brought him in with us & he slept perfectly & carried on & off for a few years like that. Even now he comes in for a cuddle some mornings but I think that’s more to see his baby brother than me!

  19. 23rd May 2015 / 2:56 pm

    It takes practice to learn not to sprawl out but luckily with a suppressing bed and bed rail no ones at risk

  20. 25th May 2015 / 7:00 pm

    I part co-slept with my first, my second is 6 weeks old and we are already co-sleeping half the night. Its lovely to have little baby snuggles! #sharetheyjoy

    • 31st May 2015 / 4:48 pm

      It is isn’t it. I think I sleep better knowing they’re ok and hearing the baby noises.

  21. Jenny
    26th May 2015 / 2:08 pm

    I say life is too short, go with the flow as each child is different. Good for you. Bigger bed solves it all. lol Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. Hope to see you again tomorrow. #sharewithme

  22. 31st May 2015 / 4:42 pm

    I find the more babies you have the more confident you get at trusting your instincts and you also do what ever you can for sleep!

  23. 31st July 2016 / 6:59 pm

    What a lovely post, couldn’t agree more. My 1st slept beautifully for the first year then all of a sudden started waking and coming in with us in the night. We now go into her since the 2nd came along but she still wants a nighttime snuggle at just 3. My little boy (15 months) comes in with us every night from 10-11pm. He sleeps for the first stretch in his bed then won’t settle after that so easiest in with us, still feeds through the night though which I guess I thought he’d just grow out of but shows no sign of stopping on it’s own! So perfect to have them with you though and to have their cheeky smiles and cuddles in the mornings. Come 5/6am there are inevitably 4 in the bed!

    • 31st July 2016 / 8:49 pm

      That sounds exactly like our routine. It does occasionally stretch to 12-1am if we’ve had lots of fresh air & a busy day & had a one off 5am! I love having him close with me though

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