I always find myself apologising if the issue of Princess’s sleeping arrangements arises with anyone, friends, other parents and even family.  You can never be quite sure how it’s going to be received.  I find myself apologising for being such a bad parent.  I had one of these very conversations just the other day with a friend and she told me that she was the youngest child in her family and her parents co-slept with her for several years.  She is confident and ambitious and achieved a lot for her years.  She described the amazing bond she shared with her family and that she did not feel in the slightest bit needy or damaged by not sleeping independently.

 

This conversation has made me think very differently about co-sleeping.  I’m starting to ask myself if it’s really a problem.  I’ve read a few blogs now about sleep issues where toddlers really want to be in the comfort of their parents bed as they drift of to sleep.  I can completely understand why some parents want their own space, especially having had a few headbuts and kicks over the last year.  I don’t worry that it will be forever.   I know that when Princess is ready she’ll get fed up with my snoring and will be hightailing it into her own bed for a quiet night’s sleep herself.

 

My teen never really co-slept.  He was what you would call an easy child.  He’d read all the ‘How to Be a Perfect Baby’ books in the comfort of the womb and popped out following all the rules.  He has always been very self reliant and didn’t really crave lots of hugs and kisses.  He was definitely showered with them but would often rebuff Mummy’s advances.  He’s never been particularly boisterous either, he’s very much a sensitive soul who values his own thoughts and company.  He doesn’t have any trouble showing affection.  He has oodles of it for his little sister, just not for me!

 

 

paris and Indie photo (1280x956)

Princess is very different though.  We didn’t start off with cosleeping in mind, but she did sleep on my chest a lot.  She had a lot of colic and was quite an unsettled newborn.  She did spend time sleeping in her crib too.  We hit co-sleeping proper at around 1 year old.  When she could stand in her cot she protested significantly at being confined by those bars.  She did not want to be alone, she wanted to lay with Mummy and Daddy.

Princess is not a child who protests quietly either.  She cries until she is hysterical, red faced and snotty and it takes her ages to calm back down.  Being conscious of her very big brother and where he is at in terms of schooling etc letting her ‘cry it out’ just wasn’t an option in our family.  He’s in his final GCSE year.

When it comes to where our children sleep, if they are not in their own room at 6 months comments like ‘making a rod for your own back’ start being banded around without thought.  It all got me thinking about how us grown ups prefer company during our slumber and it’s not a rod for our backs is it?   There’s loads  of information on the web about how sleeping with others is good for our general well being.

Human contact  helps us show  compassion and relieve others suffering, something that strikes me as particularly relevant to this parenting business we’re in.  Some children often need comfort during the night so is co-sleeping right for them?  Princess is a very confident and independent child, this is more than apparent when we drop her off at nursery and she barely looks at us.  When she is home there are times when she just wants love and hugs from Mummy and Daddy.  Her favourite time is definitely bedtime.  If she is disturbed during the night, she rolls to Mummy or Daddy for comfort and is straight back off to sleep again.  If she was on her own it would be a very different story, speaks the voice of experience!

I’ve talked about Harlow’s Monkeys before but it’s also worth mentioning that Monkeys, Apes and many other animals besides co-sleep with their babies all the time.  Co-sleeping is practised in many non-western cultures throughout the world  with no one batting an eyelid.  So, is it such a crime to co-sleep and allow easy access to cuddles during the night.  Why would we not continue meeting the child’s emotional needs at night if it made them feel happier.  We all know how a cuddle can make our children feel  safe and secure in a heartbeat.

sleeping

For me, co-sleeping wasn’t a deliberate parenting choice.  My choice as a parent is to meet my child’s needs, and co-sleeping works for Princess and our family.  I’m going to stop apologising for it from now on.  I wouldn’t change waking up to ‘Hello Mummy!’ with that cheeky little grin of her’s for the world.  I would, however happily live without the incidents of projectile vomit and the significant bed changes that are required. For every pro there’s a con.

Whatever your sleeping choices for you and your child, make sure you’re happy with them.  If you don’t have a problem with them, then they aren’t a problem.  If you co-sleep it is important to read how to to it safely. Here’s some information from NCT that might help you out but there are plenty of sources across the web for you to find out more.

It would be great to here your comments on your experiences of co-sleeping or any sleeping arrangements that work for your family.

Lets Talk Mommy  Binky Linky

20 COMMENTS

  1. I totally agree with you. I think its definitely a parent’s personal choice to what sleeping arrangements they choose/go along with. We didn’t set out to co sleep but we found ourselves doing it. It worked for us at the time. I remember feeling quite shy about telling people that we have co slept until i had a conversation with my boss who told me she co slept with her youngest son, it made me feel alot easier about the sitution. She said to me, “its not as if it’ll be forever”. Which is true, got to make the most of the cuddles (and kicks) while you can! Great post, glad you are feeling alot more easy with your choice to co sleep =] x

  2. I am a great believer in whatever gets you through the day. My little boys starts off in his own bed and then around 1am will wake and we’ll put him in ours and he goes back asleep until about 6.30am. It is okay for now (and quite nice in a way). We tried leaving him but with two older children it was a bit of a nightmare. Great informative post xx

    • For my first I loved getting everything ready, this time round I’m very happy someone has done it for me! Thanks for reading Zx

  3. Lovely post and I agree that it is every parents choice and we shouldn’t judge or pass comment. I co-slept with both of my boys and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

    They grow so quickly and I am so glad that I cherished every second- I miss it terribly these days!

  4. I personally hate co-sleeping! My husband and I have twins and one is really good at night and stays in her cot all night, but the other is in bed us every night, so my husband has her on his side of the bed. I have no problem with having her in bed with us, but I just know that if I have a baby next to me, I won’t be able to sleep properly for fear of rolling on top of them. Thanks for linking up #binkylinky
    Emily recently posted…Binky LinkyMy Profile

    • It’s totally ok for our own thoughts and feelings to lead us. That I guess is where instincts come from, that invaluable tool allus Mummies have

  5. Of course it’s every parents choice and every child will be different so it’s just doing what’s best for yours

    • I hope people feel confident enough to talk about their parenting choices, what ever they are and that other Mummies won’t judge them. We’re are all just trying to get by 😉

  6. I ended up co-sleeping with Potato, more out of circumstance that active decision. It was what worked for us and I loved being woken up by him kissing my nose. In the end though, he was too restless and neither of us were getting enough sleep, so I hat to take the tough decision to stop. I do miss it and admit that if he’s having a particularly bad night, he does come in with me again and I enjoy lovely snugly cuddles 🙂
    Thanks for linking up with #BinkyLinky

    • Glad to be involved and thanks for sharing your co-sleeping story. Princess does have restless nights, like last night where I was slapped and head butted a few times. The pregnancy back ache would have kept me awake anyway, so she kept my mind of it 😉

  7. Great post and fabulously written. I think it depends on the child. Neither of my kids ever slept with me but even holiday refused to sleep with me they wanted their own space, bed, even room. But I think if they child is more attached or needs this its up to you. Never feel like a bad parent or that you are doing it wrong it’s your way that’s the right way and what you feel is good for your child. My parents had a strict no sleeping in mommy’s bed ever rule my whole life for all 8 of us kids and we are all confident independent and were high achievers in school. Yet all my brothers kids really benefited from cosleeping with them for the first few years. So I think if you think its right you should and don’t listen to anyone that judges you. You are amazing Momma. Happy Mother’s Day by the way. Thanks for linking up #Share With Me
    Jenny recently posted…CitrusZinger Review & GiveawayMy Profile

  8. I co-sleep with my pre-school and its a choice I made. He was sick before and it is important for me to know how he sleeps. I am paranoid and I feel safer when I can see how he sleeps. Plus for now we can only afford to heat one room, one bed =(

    #theprompt
    Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk) recently posted…Women in MakingMy Profile

  9. There are a lot of reasons for and against co-sleeping aren’t there but it ends up being down to you and your family needs doesn’t it, like you say you didn’t want to disturb your eldest.
    Co-sleeping was not for me or my family(I’m really light sleeper and hubby sleeps really heavily so we worried I’d be awake and he’d squash them) and we have never had the girls in our bed, having said that I have crawled into their beds a handful of times when they need me, if sick or nightmare, and then crept back to my own an hour or so later.

  10. I think like so much of parenting, everyone has such strong opinions.i am very much for it – it’s
    Meant we have all had sleep! We are how trying to ease him
    Into his own bed but not too worried if he’s with us a bit longer! Thanks for sharing x

  11. […] We co-sleep with our children, and no sooner did one child move out of the bed into her own room as another baby arrived and set up camp.  With all the best will in the world this does impact on the level of intimacy that we can enjoy as a couple.  I was not in the least bit surprised to read that Vagisil conducted some research amongst women and found that 56% of women wanted to feel more connected to their partner.  I literally understand how they feel and wonder how many of these women are co-sleeping parents. […]

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