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.
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.
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.