I never set out with the intention of co-sleeping. I naively thought that I would just pop the baby into the Moses basket and off he would go to sleep, right?
The last time I had a decent night sleep was sometime in 2012. My first son was born by C section in September 2012. The first night after he was born I remember the kindness of one midwife. She came to me and said get some rest I’ll take him for an hour. She returned 3 hours later. It still makes me feel so grateful. You see I think she knew what I had ahead. I was a single parent so was doing it alone.
My mum stayed with me for the first couple of weeks to help me get settled. If I’m honest now I didn’t have a bloody clue what I was doing, I was guided by love and instinct and hoping I wasn’t screwing it up too badly. He never slept for long periods, even after the newborn stage (even now in fact). It’s surprising how long a sleep deprived person can survive on coffee and chocolate! It did wonders for my weight loss as he only slept in the day if I was walking him in the pushchair or holding him. There was not much time for eating
I read ALL the articles on ALL the websites and tried ALL the advice. I can proudly swaddle a baby like a pro and shush pat while rocking back and fore. Nighttime was like musical sleep spots. Moses basket to bouncer. Bouncer to me, where I’d lay awake as long as I could before having to put him down. I was too terrified of falling asleep with him in bed with me as you hear all sorts of sad stories. Eventually, on one site it suggested a baby swing. Now he was around 3 months old and this by far was the best thing that kept him asleep. Sometimes for 3 hours at night. So he would swap from swing to me awake, and back to swing. Some vague semblance of sleep resumed.
I remember when I had to retire the swing. I wanted to sob. It had been my life saver. My sanity saver. Isaac was around 7 months by then. I tried and tried him in the cot. So then I tried taking one side off the cot so that he could be close to me. I was back in work by now and my brain was barely functional. I think he was ill the first time I put him in bed with me. He would not settle unless he was near me. I eventually dozed into a light, uneasy sleep.
The next day I was on Google (you know you do it too!) Looking up safe co sleeping. There was some very good advice there. Mostly I still tried to put him down in the cot but if he was restless into bed he came and we both slept better. At the time I felt guilty, shame and a failure. I think bollocks to all that now mind but I pretended he slept mostly in his cot.
So on it went I would put him down in his cot at bedtime and when he woke in the night I would put him in with me. It worked for me and you gotta do whatever it takes to survive!
Ok so…now he’s 6. He goes to sleep in his bed if I may with him. He still wakes frequently some nights. If I’m awake I take him back but if I’m asleep there he is. I have tried to get him out of this but honestly I’m too lazy at 3am to care and I quite like the cuddle (not so keen on the poking toes in my back however).
So that’s my story. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t do it. You should always do what’s best for you and your situation/sanity. If you’re going to co sleep though always do it safely and check out the current guidelines for your country. I have posted some links below but please do your own research into safe sleeping.
As a side note my second baby sleeps like a champ in his cot and very rarely has he ever slept in our bed ..thank God because there’s no freaking room!
Love and peace xx