This week, at 14 months old, Little B spent a whole night in his cot for the first time ever. He’s been sleeping with us since he was born, first splitting the night between the moses basket and our bed, then between a bedside crib and our bed, and then just our bed.
It suited us for the first year (ok, it suited me) but it’s got to the point where we have to get him into a night time routine, for our sanity apart from anything else.
Until now we’ve had no evening to speak of, apart from the odd night when he’s fallen asleep at 8pm and we’ve looked at each other in disbelief, barely daring to move for fear of waking him up. He’s the baby that never sleeps, but we have to get our evenings back. A few precious hours completely child-free at the end of the day to sit on the sofa and
dribble do absolutely nothing is all I ask.
No doubt the Gina Ford brigade would blame our lack of routine and not having a set bed time on co-sleeping with a baby in the first place, but you do what’s best at the time. Although I’m knackered, there’s no doubt I’m less knackered than I was with BB when she was in a cot in her own room and I was in and out like a yoyo all night. Having Little B in our bed meant he was able to help himself when he wanted a feed and I wouldn’t even need to open my eyes, let alone get out of bed.
But as with most baby-related decisions there are pros and cons to co-sleeping with a baby, and it’s probably worth weighing them up to decide whether it’s right for you. This is what I’ve found:
1. The baby will settle to sleep quickly and easily, and when they wake for night-time feeds there’s no need to get out of bed (unless they decide to puke or do a poonami, or both)
2. If you’re busy working or looking after older siblings during the day co-sleeping is the perfect opportunity to have one-to-one time with your baby and for just the two (or three) of you to bond
3. There’s nothing better than listening to the gentle rise and fall of their chest as they sleep, smelling their soft milky skin and watching their face twitch in repose. Afterall, they’re only babies once.
1. I was so terrified of falling into a deep sleep and accidently smothering Little B when he was new-born that I barely slept, even though we have a very firm mattress he couldn’t sink into, the duvet was nowhere near him and I made sure he couldn’t roll into me.
2. You often find yourself hanging out of the bed. With Little B sleeping in the middle of our bed between our parted pillows in the end the sole purpose of our bedside crib was for half of my pillow and as an arm and shoulder rest. It’s definitely worth considering investing in a super-king-size bed if you’re thinking about co-sleeping.
3. You can wave goodbye to your sex life. There’s no better form of contraceptive than a sleeping baby in your bed. Or maybe that’s a pro. I guess it depends on your point of view.
Of course how to get a baby who has only ever slept in their parents’ bed to sleep on their own is another matter. I’ll keep you posted.
Although I am looking forward to reclaiming our evenings and getting my side of the bed back, a small part of me is already mourning the empty space in our bed. Babyness is so fleeting that I just want to savour every moment – including the small hours.
What do you think? Did you co-sleep with your baby or was co-sleeping a big no-no?
Linking up with…