Okay, so I think I have some apologising to do. I was one of those “oh no! I could NEVER co-sleep! It seems really unsafe!” …and then I had Rubeon and my “never as a parent will I…” list is gradually getting some big fat red crosses through it.
So, I’m sorry to have been so naive to think that I could get any child in a cot. Because apparently I can’t. At least not Rubeon.
We’ve exclusively breast fed for 6 months now, and I am over the moon at accomplishing this because I set it as a goal for myself when I found out I was pregnant. (Also because I only got to 3 months with William, I wanted to go longer with him but life happened and it didn’t work out.) In the early days with Rubeon we did have a bit of combination feeding going on due to scans and illness on my part, but here we are now and I have a 22lb 11oz chunk to be proud of.
“How does breastfeeding come into co-sleeping?” Well, imagine having free access to a drink of your choice, on demand, all night. As I’ve already stated, Rubeon is a big boy. He’d wake a lot for feeds, and by the end of it my back would be aching like mad! So one time I laid down with him, we both fell asleep…and we haven’t looked back since. Initially we went from waking 4-5 times a night down to only once or twice, but it started creeping back up and I was shattered so I had to do something. So I went for co-sleeping.
Ive found that people tend to camp in “for” or “against” co-sleeping. There’s not much of a grey area for it. But here I am, in the grey camp! And here is my list of pros and cons: (let’s start with the bad…)
1.I don’t sleep properly. Whilst I do get some sleep, it’s not the best. Part of my mind is still awake and saying “don’t roll that way! You’ll roll on Rubeon!” So I’m semi-conscious not to let myself fall into a deep sleep. (This isn’t so bad now he’s bigger and older.)
2.Dead arms. Rubeon is heavy. When he lays on my arm for too long it goes dead and tingly, which in turn wakes me up.
3.Transferring back into the cot. Well we can forget about this right now. He’s had a taste of the high life! “If it don’t smell like mum, I ain’t goin’ “ or something like that…
4.Rolling. I don’t know about you but I’m an ‘active sleeper.’ I jiffle and lump about, and the same goes for Martin. (Honestly it’s amazing neither of us have whacked each other in the face! Although Martin did use my arm once as a gun in a wild vivid dream he was having, but that’s a story for another day…) So it’s very rare that I’ll put Rubeon in between the two of us, and if I do it’s purely to feed from that side and then I’ll pop him back on the outside of me, purely out of fear that one of us would roll on him.
5.Bed space. Martin and I aren’t the shortest of people, and we fight for space in our bed with just the two of us (mix in the jiffling and it’s amazing we get any sleep!) and adding an extra body to the bed makes the already limited to space even more limited.
6.Cold arms. Along with dead arms, I keep my duvet around my waistline to stop Rubeon from shoving his face in it and not being able to breathe. So my upper body gets cold…
But that’s enough of the negative vibes! Here comes the good:
1.Sleep. Whilst it may not be the most comfortable or deep, it’s still a longer block of sleep than I would’ve had, had I put Rubeon back down in his cot.
2.Comfort. Again, still comfier than sitting on the end of my bed 4/5 times a night whilst holding a 1.5stone baby for 10/15minutes at a time (not to mention the fact that it would then take half an hour of rocking him back to sleep…only to rinse and repeat an hour later…) my back was crying out for a break!
3.Silent feeds. With Rubeon sleeping with the tap in his face, he can latch on without waking the whole house up to tell us he’s hungry. Plus I don’t have to get out of bed.
4.Snuggles. This is probably the best part about co-sleeping for me. Snuggles! Everyone says it, “they’re only this little once.” And they aren’t wrong. So I will milk (hah, pun.) every moment I can whilst Rubeon still loves the snuggles and cuddles.
Overall, my personal experience has generally been an all round positive one. In my current state I am glad to have done it, because for now it’s making my life easier and I am actually getting some sleep. (Which, I kind of need whilst looking after three kids…)
I would have preferred to not have done it though, simply because I am now concerned about transitioning Rubeon back into the cot, and how that will play out. And also because I don’t like sharing my bed. Mostly the cot thing. (And my bed.) Ok,
I want my bed back.
I will be filling his cot full of things that smell like me in hopes that it’ll settle him enough to sleep in it! And if not, then I will have to find alternative routes…(I did look into buying one of those “next to me” cribs but Rubeon would’ve outgrown it too quickly, and I also looked into taking a side off the cot and fit it next to our bed – but our room layout won’t allow that either!)
For now, I’ll take the dead arm and shared bed if it means I get half a good nights sleep. Did you ever co-sleep? If not, would you consider it?