Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Co-sleeping - sharing my bed with baby

Before I became a mother I read all about the benefits of co-sleeping or bed-sharing. I also read about the dangers. Being a slightly over paranoid kind of person I decided that, although the idea of the 'family bed' sounded nice, that I'd prefer to have my baby sleeping in her own crib where she wouldn't be in danger of me rolling on her or being smothered by the duvet. We bought a Moses basket, I crocheted blankets, hung a mobile above and couldn't wait to put my baby inside.

Needless to say, everything changed once my baby was actually here. After she was born the midwife tucked her carefully into the bed with me where she nursed hungrily for the first time and then fell asleep. After a while I dosed too, waking now and again to check on my sleeping bundle. During my stay in hospital she nursed so frequently that it was just so much easier to keep her in the bed next to me and it felt so natural, it never even really crossed my mind to put her down in the bassinet next to my bed.

When we got home from hospital I put her to sleep in her Moses basket that first night. She looked so small, alone and cold. I lay on the bed next to the basket and watched her sleeping, secretly urging her to wake up so I could cuddle her in my arms again. Inevitably, she did wake up to feed after only an hour or so. I took her into bed with me and there she's been ever since.

We are very careful that we are sleeping safely. We have no blankets or pillows anywhere near her and once she was able to roll we put a bed guard on to stop her rolling off the bed. It feels safe. Safer than having her sleep far away from me. I've researched the topic extensively and there are varying opinions, some reports say that co-sleeping increases the risk of SIDS and others say it reduces it. My mummy instincts tell me I'm doing the right thing.

Of course I worry that I'll still have her in my bed when she's 18, and what happens when we have more kids? Already space is at a premium and I'm not sure how this arrangement would work with more children. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, I relish those precious sleepy snuggles, I certainly appreciate not having to get out of my warm bed for night nursings and I adore the contented look on my daughters face when she wakes, smiling to see me lying next to her.

Wishing you all the sweetest of dreams,
Sarah Elizabeth

PS I want to thank those of you who commented on my last post. You all encourage and inspire me every day and I thank you so much for your kind words on a day when they were greatly needed x x


Amanda said...

Sarah, trust your mummy instincts. Only you know what is best for you and Alba :) I'm sure when it comes time for her to be in her own bed, the transition will happen smoothly enough. For now, enjoy those early morning snuggles x

Sarah said...

Aww so sweet. I guess I'm a part time co-sleeper lol. I let my kids sleep in the pack n play next to the bed, but in the wee hours of the morning when I'm really tired and it's nursing time I just keep them in bed with me until it's later in the morning. I love it. I always sleep way lighter so any sound or movement my kids make it wakes me up instantly.

- Sarah

Sarah said...

I let my instinct rule too. This meant that for the first month my baby slept with us (on my side of the bed).

Then he started to fidget more so I put him in his pram/cot next to me for another month or so. Then he started fidgeting again and so I put him in his cot in his room next door. It all happened naturally and taking into account the signs the baby was giving out to move on.

With number 2 I tried the same formula but he was a different kind of sleeper (or not...) so he went into his room earlier and I resorted to ear plugs.

Cathy said...

When I had my first baby he sometimes slept with me during the afternoon when I needed a nap, as I fell pregnant again pretty soon after he was born. He's now nearly 12, still loves cuddles, would love to occasionally share our bed but we don't let him!

Jacana said...

Stumbled across your blog. This story touched me so much I wanted to leave a comment. I did the same thing with my son, that is had him in my bed. Everyone sighed at me and told me how bad it was. I loved and cherised every moment of it. Now it seems a life time ago - so I say enjoy and do what come naturally for you.

Elisa {with grace and eve} said...

I love your view. Trust that mother instinct always! That's what I believe, and I have a little miss ten months who moves from her cot to our bed regularly. That smile when she wakes and is right next to me is so precious! I really adore it, and you're so right it's not forever. Soon enough they want their own space x

Mike said...

Babies need affection.