So, this is not a post I was expecting to be writing; my opinions about co-sleeping were very strong … “I’m not doing it”, “it’s unsafe” and “if they start out if your bed, you’ll never get it back”.
I’d never have thought J and I would have co-slept with P for the best part of 6 weeks but situations change. I want to be very honest on my blog for other new moms too because whatever ideas you have during pregnancy, can be meaningless when the little one arrives.
When P decided it was time to make her grand appearance, J and I had stripped the bed hours earlier and during my labour, putting on fresh sheets wasn’t really a priority haha. So when we all got home, it was late afternoon and we were too busy cuddling our little one to make the bed for that night – so we pulled out the sofa bed and slept there. Yes I know how dangerous sleeping on a sofa can be with a newborn, No she wouldn’t just go down in her Moses basket. Most that first night, I spent awake due to P cluster feeding, with tiny naps in between. Multiple times that night, J attempted to put her down and she wasn’t having it. As a new mom I hated hearing her crying for us and frankly I wanted to hold her as much as she wanted to be held. So I did.
Now we all enjoy bedtime …. (P doesn’t sleep with any kind of blanket, this was supervised during a morning cuddle … also, that face haha!)
When we eventually got into our own bed the following night, it was much the same. P hated her Moses basket, she was such an active wriggly little sleeper that she’d rock the stand and wake herself up. As new parents this wasn’t sustainable as we were both getting such little sleep; I was recovering from the birth and J was recovering from tonsillitis (read more about that scenario here) and we just needed rest. We desperately tried putting the Moses basket on the bed between us so she was a bit more stable but still, she cried. So she slept with me. I can’t tell you how many times I cried and cried because I was so frightened of hurting her accidentally in my sleep and with a seriously unsupportive midwife, I felt I had no one to talk about our co-sleeping situation.
Until I spoke with my mom, who just mended all my concerns and worries about being a bad mom by telling me that it’s whatever gets you through that night, or that feed, or even that hour. That is advice I’ve carried throughout my new journey into motherhood and advice I would give to every other new parent out there. My mom didn’t co-sleep with any of us, in fact at one week old I slept in my own bedroom because I was apparently too noisy for my dad haha but she’s a mom, and they know the right thing to say just when you need it.
From there onwards, we made co-sleeping work. All three of us slept better and frankly we began enjoying nights more rather than fearing the clock getting closer to bedtime.
We spoke with some close friends who also had a baby similar age to P, who had a next-to-me crib and recommended it as a compromise! So we invested in a new crib and mattress for P and I cannot believe the difference it’s made. P slept for the same amount of time; usually a straight 5 hour stretch from 11-5 with a couple naps either side and this continued in her new crib and at 9 weeks she has began sleeping 6.5-7.5 straight hours. She can see us, hear us and we can soothe her just as we would with her in bed. She’ll also happily take naps in there too during the day which has been amazing. We put it on a slight slanted setting to help her trapped wind not give her extra tummy ache.
Taking a nap together in her ClevaMama mattress.
As important as it is to give your newborn everything they need, if you can find a compromise that benefits you all then that’s even better. Now, J and I have our bed back to ourselves and P still had the effect of co-sleeping; it’s amazing for my relationship as well as our bond with P.
Co-sleeping can be incredible for bonding with your newborn and makes breastfeeding easier too. Here’s some advice I followed to co-sleep safely if that’s a route you want to go down (or if you have a baby like mine!)
I hope this has eased some worries for other moms who co-sleep, and try to always discuss safe co-sleeping with your midwife/health visitor.
Eleanor Jasmin x
(disclaimer – I’m not promoting co-sleeping and am not a health practitioner in a position to give advice on co-sleeping. This post is more to make moms like me, who had to co-sleep to get ANY sleep, feel less bad or alone. If you want to or are having to co-sleep, I cannot recommend discussing it safely with a midwife, health visitor or doctor)