It wasn’t long ago that we had a mothers group catch up, it had been over 12 months since we all caught up as a group, so we were catching up on all the children’s developments and I got talking to one mum about sleep. We had often discussed sleeping especially in our early catch ups as we were all new mums and it was highly beneficial to draw from their tips and experiences. I asked how her daughter was sleeping and her words really stuck and resinated with me, she said, “We co-sleep, it’s just what works for us… some kids are good sleepers which is great but ours just isn’t.” and laughed. I loved her raw honesty, I have often shied away and was embarrassed about the fact that Noah isn’t a great sleeper, that he wakes a couple of times a night and it can be exhausting.
Co-sleeping is something that everyone seems to have an opinion on, you will be judged on it and as a parent you will constantly hear:
~ “Don’t rock your child to sleep when they are babies”
~ “Don’t let your child sleep in bed with you”
~ “You are just making a rod for your own back.”
Yet until you have a child that doesn’t sleep through the night you will never understand how much broken sleep and sleep deprivation can impact on you and your frame of mind.
Noah was born, and we rocked him to sleep and yes I can put my hand up and tell the world that we do co-sleep! We don’t co-sleep because we are lazy or selfish parents and just want a good night’s sleep, we co-sleep because everyone needs sleep and rest and I would much rather us all get a good night’s sleep and be happy and in a good mood the following day than get hardly any sleep and be exhausted and cranky. No parent wants to deal with an overtired child and no child wants to deal with an irritable parent so for us co-sleeping when we need too is a win win situation. Now when I say we co-sleep it doesn’t happen every night and we don’t plan for it to happen. We take it in turns putting him to bed, we lay with him until he goes to sleep and then transfer him to his cot, from there we have a few scenarios that follow:
- He sleeps through the night and we both do a happy dance the following morning!!!
- He stirs around midnight, I rub his back or give him his bottle and he goes back off to sleep and sleeps through.
- He wakes a number of times through the night, I try a couple of times to get him back to sleep but if that doesn’t work he comes into bed with us.
Sometimes sleeping through the night can mean until 7am and other times he will wake at 4am, if it is the earlier time I put him bed with me so we both get a few more hours sleep as Jus is getting up for work anyway. We go through stages, Noah can have a few good weeks where he sleeps through and then a bad week, it is a rollercoaster ride just like parenting is…
Noah also has a Lulla doll which he absolutely loves, “Doddy” as he calls her is a real comfort to him and he won’t go to sleep of a night without her. The Lulla doll is a sleep companion for newborns, babies and toddlers it is soft, cuddly and imitates an adults real life breathing for up to 8 hours at a time. I bought her when Noah was about 9 months old because he was waking every hour, we were completely exhausted and I was willing to try anything to help him sleep. She certainly helped him sleep and although he still does wake it is nowhere near as much as he was and he can now self settle a lot more with her, I would highly recommend for any parent that has a child who is struggling to sleep. There are plenty of things out there from toys, dolls, night lights etc to try and assist with sleep, it is just finding something that works for your child.
So yes some mornings I may wake up with an arm in my face or a leg in my back but to roll over and see that cheeky face smiling at me can only mean it is going to be a good day ahead… there are positives and negatives in all parts of life but morning cuddles are certainly one of those positives.
I guess what I am trying to point out is you do what works for you, too often as parents we do what others do or say when realistically you know what is best for you and your child so go with your gut and do what you think is best. Whether you co-sleep by choice or necessity you obviously have good reason to do so! Just remember that your child’s safety is your biggest priority so please if you do or planning on co sleeping make sure you follow the co-sleeping guidelines.