Co-sleeping is such a hot topic in the parenting world. It works for some, but for others it’s a big no-no due to the risks that it brings. Throughout Oliver’s life we’ve co-slept on and off, depending what situation we’re in. We didn’t do it as much when Oliver was younger, but now it’s a much more frequent thing. Co-sleeping has a lot of great benefits, but is it worth it?
As I’ve mentioned, we’ve co-slept on and off throughout Oliver’s life. I’d never even thought about co-sleeping before giving birth. I can’t honestly say it’s something I’d heard being spoken about whilst I was pregnant! Our co-sleeping journey began whilst in hospital the first week after Oliver was born.
The First 6 Months
Considering most midwives I know of are against co-sleeping, this always surprises me. When we were in hospital one night I called the midwives panicking I’d fall asleep whilst feeding Oliver in the bed. There immediate response was ‘Just put the bars up on your bed and you’ll be fine. He wont go anywhere if he falls off you.’. Imagining Oliver being squashed between me and the bars of the bed put me into panic mode even more, so this wasn’t an option. This is where my hate for co-sleeping began. I didn’t want to risk Oliver falling out of the bed, getting stuck between myself and the bars/my husband when we’re home, or being rolled on by one of us. So when we got home, I avoided having Oliver in the bed with us at ALL times. When home Oliver slept in a bedside cot for the first 6 months.
I can’t remember how old Oliver was at the time but one night he would not sleep. He had a horrible cold and all he wanted was to be with us – that was the only way he would sleep! Nathan (not being as paranoid as me) suggested he slept in our bed. I straight away wanted to say no, but he had an idea. Nathan slept along the bottom of the bed (he can sleep anywhere luckily!), his bedside cot (that was attached to the bed) was one side of him and I slept the other side of Oliver. This meant Oliver had tons of room and I was able to keep an eye on him – I’m the lightest sleeper so if he moves at all, I wake up. At this point I was desperate. All 3 of us were ill and needed sleep, so I’d do anything. Next thing I knew it was the morning and Oliver had slept! From this day my opinion of co-sleeping had changed.
Whenever Oliver is unwell or won’t sleep he comes into the bed with us. Whilst he was still quite young we’d sleep in the same position. Now he comes into our bed most mornings (as I refuse to get up at 4am) and sleeps between us. It’s a big squeeze but we make it work. Some nights are longer than others but we all sleep, and that’s the main thing. I feel much more confident in co-sleeping and I’m sure with future children I’ll be just as confident.
Making Co-Sleeping Safer
I still believe co-sleeping does come with it’s risks but as long as you are co-sleeping safely I’m all for it. There is a lot you need to do to make co-sleeping safer;
- Don’t co-sleep when you’re intoxicated, on drugs or overtired
- Make sure there are no pillows, blackets, duvets or other items that could obstruct his breathing
- Sleep in the C-position facing towards your baby
- Make sure your baby doesn’t get hot
- Don’t leave your baby alone in your bed
Co-sleeping isn’t something we’ll intentionally start with future children, but if it’s what we need do to for us all to get a good nights sleep, we will. I know some lovely parents who co-sleep full time and some, like us, do it when it’s needed. At the end of the day there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ way of co-sleeping. You need to find out what works for you and make it safe for the whole family.
Is co-sleeping something you do? What have your experiences been like? Let me know in the comments below!