Co-sleeping, (sharing a bed with our son), is our current reality.
As with most mums-to-be, a big part of preparing for the arrival of my little bubba, was to arrange the his cot. I spent ages selecting sheets, blankets and sleeping bags (whilst also reading the pros and cons of cot bumpers and duvets).
Anyway, all that seemed to have been in vain.
We currently co-sleep with our two year old (on most nights). It started out as necessity for me while I was breastfeeding, now it’s almost the norm. I’m not advocating for or against co-sleeping, but I’ve drawn up a list of our experience over the past two years.
1. The night time cuddles
The biggest advantage of co-sleeping is the special closeness I feel towards my son while he sleeps. In the early days and months, I used to watch him sleep all the time. Now, I like when he turns over and reaches for my arm during the night.
2. Ease of breastfeeding
Once I’d settled into the whole breastfeeding thing, the night time feeds were more easier when I had my son next to me. The time taken from waking up to feeding then back to sleeping was shorter and the whole process smoother. Co-sleeping meant I wasn’t constantly getting out of bed to attend to him. (Papa Nate couldn’t help with the night feeds as I stopped expressing early on.)
3. Easier to know when nappies need changing
I didn’t really realise just how frequently babies soiled their nappies throughout the day – and night. Co-sleeping with The Boy meant I didn’t really have to worry about whether he was soiled during the night as I knew. I know babies usually cry when they need changing, but I preferred to change the nappy immediately. Thankfully, this is not an issue now.
4. My boy finds it soothing (which ultimately make me happy)
As we started co-sleeping from an early age, it is unsurprising that my son finds it soothing. I know some would say that it is important for a child to be able to self-soothe and I agree. However, it felt cruel for me to let my child cry and cry.
5. Cutest method of contraception (depending on mood)
If you’re trying to avoid making more babies, co-sleeping could be considered a form of family planning. #JustSaying
6. Can be a passion killer, see point #5 above
There are definitely times when I just want to cuddle Papa Nate but The Boy is in the middle of us. Some nights we move him to the side so he’s not in between. However, with some creativity and flexibility, it is possible to work around this.
7. Becoming a human pillow and/or footrest
As The Boy has gotten older and longer, co-sleeping has become more challenging because he is taking up more room. Whilst sleeping, he will usually get comfortable by resting his head on his dad’s back and his legs on my head and shoulders. (Or vice versa.) This horizontal stance also includes a dislike for covers. I didn’t know a little person could take up so much space!
8. Creates an expectation for The Boy
There is no doubt that co-sleeping has created an expectation for my son. On most evenings, his bedtime routine starts in our bed then he’s transferred to his bed later – when he’s asleep. However, something about our bed is so inviting that he sometimes wakes in the middle of the night and climbs back in with us. I really can’t be mad at him for this though.
9. Cots and toddler bed gathers dust
After 18 months, my son’s cot was still in excellent condition. We thought the toddler bed would mark a change but it only made it easier for a quick getaway. (He can climb out of that bed in seconds.) Co-sleeping can definitely make separate toddler beds redundant.
10. Can cause sleepless nights
As I’m no longer in the ‘new mum/baby’ phase, I don’t deal well with interrupted sleep. Now that The Boy is older, I am ready to put an end to the regular co-sleeping. The cons now outweigh pros. I know that consistency will be key and I am looking forward to everyone staying in their own beds.
I’d love to hear your experiences on the realities of co-sleeping. Please leave a comment below.
Thanks for stopping by.