We didn’t choose co-sleeping it chose us. Being a first time pregnant lady you are met with the dos and don’ts before your beautiful bundle arrives and co-sleeping was at the top of the “AVOID” list.
7 years ago when I had Amelie I only just started to follow fellow mummies on social media therefore resources were different and products that you have now were not around. We went with a typical moses basket that was handed down from my sister, we also bought a cot/bed and were given a crib to borrow. All fantastic pieces of equipment, what more could you need?
Fast forward to when you bring baby home, now what? No one gives you a manual on how to look after YOUR baby as every baby is different. Amelie loved skin to skin and slept in the moses basket during the day like a little dream but come night time she was a terror. She would only sleep on me, I was utterly petrified of sleeping with her on my chest and stayed upright with Mr K watching us until I was completely exhausted. We took in turns sleeping, kind of like a shift pattern during the first few weeks.
We did progress to a few varied nights of in the crib and also in the moses basket directly next to the bed, I had to be holding Amelie’s hand throughout the whole night otherwise she wouldn’t go to sleep. I remember thinking to myself during night feeds – those dark, lonely, long nights of feeding – ‘it’s fine, I’ll get some sleep when she starts school, that’s only another few years’ I was so so tired.
Inevitably she ended up in our bed propped up on pillows (terrible I know!) with me beside her, that was the only way any of us got any sleep. This continued for a good year, we got a sofa bed for her room so I could sleep in there next to her cot – this didn’t work. We both ended up sleeping on her sofa bed whilst Mr K had our bed. Things came to a head when Charlie was born.
Charlie was the worst out of the two, he was such a clingy baby and a massive feeder. From the moment we brought him home from hospital he was in our bed and he hasn’t left in 4 years. I slept with both Amelie and Charlie for a year before there was no more room at the inn, one of them had to go. We bought Amelie a single bed and just put her in there one night, I spoke to the Health Visitor about moving her into her own room and she suggested putting a stair gate on her door to keep her contained during the night. This sounded like an awful idea, I didn’t want her to associate her bedroom with being a bad place she is trapped in. Anyway, like we should always do, we did it our way.
We stepped up our evening routine to; bath, story, chats and then sleep (with the light on in the hallway). We were amazed at how well she coped, she fell asleep until the morning she really enjoyed the space I think. Charlie was still in our bed, he was a very hungry baby who had my boob in his mouth constantly during the night, if it came out he would scream bloody murder.
I don’t care what anyone says, you have to do whatever it takes to just get some rest. If that means co-sleeping then so be it. I did have (and still do) the mothers who think their way of parenting is the right way, tutting and saying ‘I would never allow my baby/child to sleep in my bed’ ‘No, that would never happen in our house’ and do the eye roll. But they weren’t in our shoes they had no idea what our routine was like and if it works for us (never minding it being the “right” way) then who is anyone to judge?
Charlie goes into his own bed now but without fail, during the night I hear ‘Mama, Mama’ and I have to go into his room, take him to the loo and then he climbs into our bed. One day when he’s a stroppy teenager he won’t want to have snuggles, they are only little once and truth be told I have absolutely loved co-sleeping with both children. I love how close we are, we all sleep so much better when there is someone next to us, they feel safe and I love waking up to their little faces in the morning. Why should I be made to feel guilty or like I’m a bad mother if I co-sleep? I know it isn’t for everyone, we all parent in our own way.
If I had my time over again I would invest in a Sleepy Head and a Co-Sleeper as these look fantastic, but I could buy all the gadgets and tools and they would probably still end up in my bed. Yes, I’m a knackered old pigeon most of the time and parenting does not get any easier as when they grow you are faced with brand new challenges that drain the life out of you just as much as when they were little.