He stole my heart and then my bed.
Ahh the controversial co-sleeping, a topic that has so many rolling their eyes. Let me start by giving you some facts, my real life facts. Alfie is 14 months this week, the number of times he’s slept through the night, none. The number of times he’s self soothed to sleep, none. The number of times he’s napped on his own, none. The number of sleep training methods I have given a fair bash, 9 and counting. My level of exhaustion is off the chart. That is my real life facts right there.
I started co sleeping with Alfie about 8 months ago, around the time I felt physically and mentally exhausted. I was so drained, I reached survival mode. I hold my hands up, I was once that Mum who felt more than just an eye roll at those bragging Mums when I heard those dreaded words, ‘Oh my little one has slept through the night since 6 weeks.’ It is just the last thing on earth any overtired, over sensitive parent needs to hear and is it just me or do those well rested parents always boast so very smugly…just stop! I remember a period of feeling like I was a bad Mum, I was doing something wrong, they’re babies where sleeping and Alf wasn’t, it must be my fault!
When Alfie was born we used the Snuzpod with the Sleepyhead inside. On reflection I wouldn’t do so next time, he may as well have been in our bed from the off set. At 6 months we started the transition from next to me to his own cot in his own room. That was 8 months ago, we’re still not there yet.
Our nightly routine goes a little like, bath, book, bottle and bed at 7pm on the button. Alfie goes to sleep within minutes, in our bed, usually in my arms, he’s so snuggly. I then sneak off when he’s fast asleep. Around 9pm/10pm I’ll be ready for bed which means snuggling up beside him. And that’s it, with the winter mornings being so dark, we’ll sleep through till around 8am. OK please don’t be fooled by that last statement (I am not yet one of those bragging Mother’s), we don’t exactly sleep soundly till 8am. Alf will fidget, toss and turn throughout the night, sometimes wake for a cuddle, sometimes cry to be lulled back to sleep, we still occasionally do the odd night feed but he sleeps and I sleep (and that is all the matters at this point in our life).
So what is all the controversy about? I have genuinely witnessed the look of sheer horror when I say Alfie sleeps in our bed. Apparently I’ll never get him out…oh and it’s also so very dangerous. Here’s the thing, I am in no rush what so ever to get him out. Who writes these rules? He is my baby and we do what works for us. I don’t even particularly like the name co sleeping, it’s too formal, my baby sleeps in our bed because that’s what we do, that’s what works for us.
I like to think of it this way, this stage won’t last for long, he is growing up way too fast and believe me he will want his own space way sooner than I ever will . This is his home and until he feels ready to be in his own space I’m Ok with him being safe and sound in mine. I’m OK with the 2am karate chop to my ribs and the 4am dash around the bed to find a soother. I sometimes lie awake watching him sleep, I sometimes sing to him even though I know he’s sound asleep, bedtime is our time together. There are cons that once had me questioning is this right for us…my other half gets kicked out of bed most nights (which he absolutely doesn’t mind at all, he’s the biggest fidget in the bed). I’ve had to rearrange the bedroom furniture which doesn’t look as pretty but hey it saves any midnight tumbles to the floor (our bed is pushed against the wall which means one bedside table randomly placed at the window, I could cry). Occasionally there are nights where Alf just won’t settle and he literally jumps around the bed the whole night, those are rather long nights. That all being said, he wakes me every morning with the biggest smile (and a pee’y nappy) and my heart could burst.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you co sleep, have you done so, are your little ones now not so little and still co sleeping? My advice to anyone doing so or considering doing so, do what works for you and your baby. A well rested Mummy is a happier Mummy, and you know how that works, happy Mum happy baby. Don’t get too caught up in the do’s or don’ts, you’ll never know until you give it an honest try. More importantly do not compare your little one (or take notice of those boastful parents). Sleeping through the night is a huge development milestone in any babies life, it will happen when he or she is ready for it to happen. Let’s not blame ourselves, let’s not push to much for it too happen, we aren’t doing anything wrong.
On that note I’m off to snuggle in. Alf went to sleep a little later tonight, because I have no idea what day it is and routine is out the window this week, anyway surely that means we get to sleep till 9 am tomorrow….if only.