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Co - Sleeping: A Mothers Choice?


It all started right from the word go. After giving birth I was very weak, I was low on iron and had a forceps delivery which resulted in me being prepped up for theatre incase of cesarian so I was given a spinal block also. Whilst in the hospital I couldn't move, I couldn't even get up to go to the bathroom, I couldn't move to comfort my crying baby, I could even sit up to reach for a glass of water. I was in so much pain and my body felt like it had been run over by a double decker bus. I felt bruised.

The midwives had to constantly help me, I felt useless. I was given a buzzer and if I needed something then I was to buzz. Thankfully they were all so nice and if they heard Amelia cry they would come by and pass her to me from her cot. As she was such a hungry baby and feeding every half an hour to an hour they decided that I needed to get some sleep. They propped the side of the bed up and placed some cushions either side of me and showed me how to safely co-sleep allowing Amelia to feed when she wanted and allowing me to catch some much needed sleep as I was exhausted to say the least. Of course, this was all new to me, I had no idea what I was doing, I was still drugged up and to be honest still not quiet with it so I just went with the flow! 

When we arrived home from the hospital we tried so hard to get Amelia to sleep in her moses basket, but it just wouldn't happen it was impossible, especially seeing as she was feeding so regularly. During the day she would nap in the moses basket a handful of times but other than that she would sleep on me. I still couldn't get myself out of bed without help from Andy or pulling myself up in agony incase my stiches tore. I would have to roll out of bed like a turtle on my back, which was rather hard with Amelia in my arms. We tried her in the moses basket the first night, but after an hour of her crying she ended up being in bed with us and that's where it all begun! 

The first few weeks she slept on my chest and I would sleep for an hour here and there, sitting up on my phone seeking advice from other mummies and still in shock that I was now a mum and responsible for such a small human being. I was afraid to have her next to us in the bed incase one of us would roll over, you hear and read these incidents so often, it so scary. However she would sleep on my chest in my arms with a pillow on either side so she couldn't go anywhere. I kept on going in and out of sleep every night, it was extrememly exhausting, I have no idea how I did it. 

Finally as she got bigger I felt more comfortable with her next to us in bed, I would still have a pillow between her and Andy so he knew not to roll over and I would lie on my side with her in the middle. I loved the closness and being able to feel that she was there next to me. We tried numerous times with her in the moses basket again but she just wouldn't stay there and would always end up back in bed with us. Andy would be working long days so when he'd come to bed she would start crying and keep him awake for hours on end, no matter what I'd do she wouldn't sleep or stop crying, we would argue, I'd get annoyed because I was the one who had to deal with it, I was the only one who could get her to sleep as she had to be nursed to fall asleep. He couldn't help so it was always down to me. Plenty of nights I had been sat up for hours on end wanting to smack him in the face as he's been snoring while I was feeding Amelia. 

We did this for so many months, 13 in fact and by then I had had enough. My back was so sore, every day I was in agony even though I couldn't break the habit. I loved her being in bed with us, I think I was scared of putting her in the cot at an early age. Even though the cot has a monitor and the bed doesn't I felt like she was safe in bed with us. I had tried her in the cot plenty of times before when we lowered it, we even moved it to the nursery and tried that way. Nothing would work...until eventually around 13 months I would climb in the cot with her, nurse her to sleep and once she fell asleep I would quietly climb out. 

Ever since then that is how I have got her to sleep in the cot. This hasn't worked every night but it's been great as I've had my side of the bed back. My back is no longer in pain and I actually get a few hours sleep. She tends to sleep from 10pm until 2am then will wake up and come back to bed with us and then sleeps till 8am. Very rarely she will sleep right through from 10pm until 8am. We've been lucky enough to have a few nights like this though and I actually woke up in shock in the morning. Some nights if she is being extremely fussy and won't sleep in the cot I give in and just bring her into bed with us. I don't mind as I miss the co-sleeping and love hearing her breathe and feeling her move throughout the night. Sometimes I just lie there listening and watching her. 

Co-sleeping is a wonderful bond and one that not every parent agree's on. Of course there are plenty of pro's and con's along the way but personally I think it's down to choice. It's worked for us as we finally managed to get some sleep and now that she is older she does sleep in her cot much better. I do wish that we had tried when she was earlier but I'm not complaining. I know that many mother's never will co-sleep as it frightens them or they don't want to get in the bad habit which is fair enough. But its worked for us and I know it won't be forever .

Do you co-sleep or have you co-slept in the past? What are your thoughts or experiences on the topic?

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59 comments

  1. We're still co-sleeping 10 months in. I love it!

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  2. Aww, its great isn't it. I love the closeness. It can be hard sometimes...I wish we had bought a co-sleeper early on and had got her used to that. x

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  3. I love co-sleeping! My husband works nights and both kids co-sleep with me. It's so much easier. I've become a more alert sleeper. And I love the bond that I have with my kids. I agree that co-sleeping isn't for every parent, but there are definitely some great developments our there like actually infant beds with hard sides that parents can put into their bed to prevent you from crushing baby. I urge my mommy friends who have an interest in co-sleeping to explore these options before they let others talk/scare them out of it.

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  4. Great post Kerry! Sounds very similar to our story too, i sometimes wish I'd stuck with keeping her in the Moses basket or getting a co sleeper earlier, but when you're getting next to no sleep, you'll do whatever you can for some shut eye, it's easy for us to look back now we get more sleep, but in the moment it's not possible. You've come so far from her sleeping on your chest, to the bed, to the cot and even falling asleep without being nursed at times, you've obviously met her needs enough :). It can take a toll on the relationship too, I too have a snoring partner who somehow managed to sleep through her cries and stirring..magic! Ha.

    X

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  5. Our babies are only little for such a short time, I don't see what the rush is to make them sleep on their own! I've co-slept with both mine and I wouldn't change it!
    Like you though, when the time is right, I've also found lying in their bed to settle and sneaking out works sometimes. From two my little boy slept all night in his own bed. My little girl has just turned two and wakes up at about 1am and quietly climbs out of her bed and into ours! My only wish is tht we had the room for a king size bed, some mornings I'm so sore just from having to sleep squashed up on my side and there are nights when I'm up out of bed 6 times between the two little ones while hubby obliviously snores!

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  6. Great post Kerry. It's nice that so many Mums can relate to it. I only ever co-slept with my 2nd son, Ethan, as he was a little premmy {born at 34wks gestation}. But he was such a good sleeper he'd sleep wherever you put him! So he wasn't bothered if he was in with me or not, he was just happy to be comfy & safe. When he was in with me though, I did love the closeness. But I was always on edge of rolling onto him!! Which I'll admit put me off doing it again! >.<
    http://superbusymum.blogspot.co.uk/

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  7. Co-sleeping just didn't work for us. We did actually try it, but Alice moves so much in her sleep she just slept better in her own cot. Up until she was a year she did take naps in my bed with me though! And I loved that, loved watching her snooze next to me! xx

    myprettymummy.com

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  8. I've always been adamant that I wouldn't Co sleep. My eldest age 6 has never slept in our bed. That's our space and I wanted it to remain that way! However my youngest just wouldn't sleep.after months of sleep deprevation I have in. you know what? I love it! I feel like I missed out with the eldest now in fact. Little one is almost 3 and I'm thinking of trying to get her to stay in her bed.....but I will miss her!

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  9. With my son I had a post-delivery epidural and couldn't move so ended up co-sleeping for a couple of months so I could breastfeed easily. Never had any issues when we later moved him to a moses basket, and eventually, cot. This time I've done the same, and my daughter loves falling asleep on her daddy's chest, or in his arms. It's great to see them bond. We don't normally have any issues with her sleeping in her basket either (although she'd happily sleep in the bed!)

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  10. I always said I would never co-sleep..then I became a mother! Rio slept through from 12 weeks but he's recently started waking in the night (he doesn't like covers so gets chilly) as soon as he's in our bed he nods straight back off.. We kinda get the best of both worlds now! I get my own bed til about 5 and then 3/4 hours snuggles :)

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  11. Awesome !!! Beautiful pictures as always :)

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  12. Ethan loves his crib so sleeps all night in there, then in the morning he wakes around 6/7/8am and if we go back to bed after his bottle he comes in with me (or both of us if it's the weekend) but he doesn't come in bed he lies on the duvet (as I'm worried the duvet will go over his face). I love doing this, you're so right, it creates such a lovely bond. x

    Alex
    www.Bump-to-Baby.com
    UK based Lifestyle & Parenting Blog


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  13. My daughter is 9 weeks old and I am all for co sleeping, although she does also sleep in her cot and moses basket. I have her in bed with me to feed, then often fall asleep, so she stays put! if I wake up then I sometimes put her back in her moses basket, so at least she's learnt to sleep anywhere, although I love having her in the bed with us! There are cultures all over the world that would think we westerners are crazy to expect such a young baby to sleep apart from its mother!

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  14. I've co-slept with Thomas quite a lot when he was younger and cutting his first tooth I think it was the only thing that kept us both sane. I have been very lucky as he sleeps fine in his cot and with me in bed as people have been like oh you'll spoil him he will get too use to it but he hasn't. I will definitely co-sleep with my next baby. As long as it's done safetly

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  15. good article but never co-sleeped with any of our 4, they slept better on their own i must say but did have little naps now and then together

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  16. Like everything with children, I believe whatever works for you is best. I slept many a night with my small babies on my chest. Though as they got older, I resisted co-sleeping, it obviously works very well as you have described.

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  17. Ive co slept with all 3 of mine, i think it was more for me than them as i was breast feeding so a much easier night ! :)

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  18. I used to co-sleep with my daughter but eventually there just wasnt room in the bed for her. She's 3 now and recently she's been having trouble sleeping so she jumps in with me and the other half gets demoted to the sofa.

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  19. I never co slept with Riley as he spent so long in NICU he was used to sleeping on his own and slept through the night from very early on. Harry on the other hand is the total opposite and we've already discussed trying co-sleeping with him as he seems to settle easier when he's being held.

    Vikki xxx
    Love From Mummy

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  20. kieran robertson12 August 2013 at 23:33

    never used co-sleeping but good informative article

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  21. never co-slept but a very informative post!

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  22. good article never done it with our children but can understand the logic/very interesting article

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  23. Never did it myself, but very interesting article. :)

    Jacqueline Fawcett

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  24. I first started co-sleeping with my second child, who refused point blank to sleep anywhere else but my chest! I co-slept with my 3rd child and am lying next to my fourth as I type. Co-sleeping for us has been brilliant - it helped to solidify our breastfeeding relationship and I believe that it's helped to make my kids the confident people they are today.

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  25. I've never co-slept, but this is a very comprehensive article on a very interesting subject

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  26. I did with my children but I am a grandmother now and my daughter makes sure her children sleep in their own bed/cot and she breast fed until they were over a year
    @bella97p

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  27. Our last two (twins) usually ended up in our bed as I was breastfeeding them and it was so much easier just having them in our bed. I think whatever works for you is fine. My daughter has her own child now and I tell her to just go with what she feels comfortable with, as long as your careful especially when they are very young then a happy baby and happy parents is what is most important.

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  28. Never used this. But I think there are so many theories on sleep that you just have to trial and error til you find the right method for you and yours.

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  29. I enjoyed reading this article and the comments.

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  30. My son (and us!) slept better on our own.

    Laura H

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  31. Great article thanks x I never used co-sleeping but having twins dont think it would have worked.

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  32. Current medical research advises against co-sleeping, but my son would only sleep if he was in my bed. I think you have to go with what you feel is right.

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  33. I wish I had done it with my son we would have had a lot more sleep that way. He hated sleeping on his own.

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  34. Very good informative article and I believe whatever suits you or works for you is fine there is nothing worse than being sleep deprived and if this works - well then it is brilliant!

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  35. I've never done it but think everyone should do what suits them best


    @ashlallan

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  36. I did exactly the same with my first son but must admit I wasn't so lenient with my second. you live and learn

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  37. I enjoyed reading the article, would have been great when mine were that age.

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  38. Really interesting and informative post thanks

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  39. Good Article to get advise from

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  40. Never co-slept but if it works for the individuals then why not.

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  41. It annoys me when women are looked at as bad mothers because they choose to co-sleep, I know there are risks but thats like telling someone they can't drive their car with a baby on tow as that is also risky!!

    I personally don't co-sleep but thats because I don't get a good night. Also, I would worry about the transition from us to her own bed. Although, she does occasionally get brought in to bed when I fancy a little lie-in ;)

    Beau sleeps really well by herself anyway :)

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  42. We share our bed with 2 dogs, which started when the first one was a pup, so I can kind of understand how difficult it is to break the habit. Trouble is that our are now 2, and 20 and 35kg!

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  43. i co-sleep with my 5 month old as it makes breastfeeding a lot easier.. i dont think i will get any sleep if we didnt co-sleep but sadly my OH has to sleep on the sofa because he moves alot in his sleep and wakes her up :(

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  44. Loved co sleeping with my son

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  45. never co-slept but a very informative post!

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  46. I co-slept with Iyla until she was 7 months and only stopped because she just wasn't sleeping at all, she would start crawling out of the bed at 3am laughing! I spoke to a sleep expert in the end who helped me come up with a plan that didn't involve leaving her alone to cry. I sat next to her cot and she did cry but then she learnt how to fall asleep without me and the difference was unbelievable. With Jobey I took the side off his cot and pushed it up against our bed so he has an extension of our matress but at the moment he is still sleeping on me from about 3am onwards. I always tried the moses basket but neither of them liked sleeping in there plus it's so much easier to have them near when breastfeeding. And at the end of the day any way to get sleep is the important thing! Do you have a blog badge by the way? x

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  47. I did with both of mine and don't regret it. I loved it. I do think it's a personal choice and no-one should be made to feel guilty for doing it.

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  48. I know this is an old post, but I just came accross it and just wanted to say that your story is pretty much the same as mine, along with the wanting to smack the hubby in the face for snoring while we are up feeding all night - and then saying how little sleep he got - arrgghh!!
    I know what you mean as well about wanting to sit and watch them sleep - it's my fave part - but also not wanting to squash them!!
    Anna xx

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  49. Love the travelling abroad section of your blog.It's given me some very handy tips

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  50. I will be co-sleeping using a co-sleeper cot when my bump arrives

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  51. I co-sleep! And I love it! But everyone seems to judge me about it, but I love being close to my baby all the time :)

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  52. It looks so dainty and unclumsy like some that are on the market

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  53. When my daughter was 5, I let her sleep alone. I think that's good for her.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I love reading them all and will try my best to answer all of your questions. If you would like to contact me for a quicker response please feel free to tweet me at (@ohsoamelia_blog) or email me. Kerry