Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Co-Sleeping With Your Baby

When I split up from my husband many years ago, I was left to bring up 3 children on my own. It wasn't easy and The fact my ex husband tried to control every part of my life, meant that I felt I had no choice but to move on to somewhere far away from him. I chose to move to where we live now. As we owned our own home as a married couple, he kept threatening to default on the mortgage and leave us homeless. Every month I faced the same threat in an argument and I needed to get away. I moved to our little seaside town and I bought my own little house with the settlement from the divorce. It was only a 2 bed-roomed house with a housing association but it was my security for my children. We managed, the girls shared the big double bedroom, Zach had his own room and I slept on a sofa bed in the front room. Life was so good for us.

When I fell pregnant with Tilly, we built a new room by dividing the lounge and turned it into a little room for Tilly, but I couldn't bear to use it, I didn't like the idea of her being in the room on her own. So for the first few months she slept in the lounge with me in her crib and by the time she was 5 months old, she was sleeping in bed with me. I must of been the only 37 year old in the country to have bed guards on either side of her bed! It became a household joke that I wouldn't fall out of bed.
Over crowding in housing situations is a big thing in this country with the government not doing enough to help families and as I had bought my home, there was nothing they would do to help. But you know what, I love my family and I had them under one roof - just where I wanted  them. We had so many different sleeping arrangements as Tilly got a bit older, I shared a room with Bethy and Tilly. We put Tilly in a cot and tried the whole controlled crying for a few days and it worked within a few days she was sleeping in her own cot at night. She was 10 months old at the time and I hated it, so it wasn't long before she was back in bed with me again.

The fact of the matter was that I was kind of addicted to the co-sleeping, When I had co slept with Kim in her baby years I was told 'you will never get her in a bed!' 'or you are making a rod for your own back' and when people tell you its a bad thing to share a bed with your child, then you believe them. This mean't I lost out on the closeness with the older kids, that I share with Tilly.

The truth of the matter is that I would recommend co-sleeping to anyone as long as you follow some safety procedures to ensure your baby is safe with you.

  • Never cover the baby with the duvet, this will overheat baby
  • Never smoke in bed with your baby
  • Never co-sleep when you have been drinking, the risk of suffocation is higher
  • Use bed guards on your bed
  • Make sure you mattress is firm because there is a risk of suffocation if the mattress is too soft and the baby sinks in to the mattress.
  • Never co-sleep of you are really over tired because you won't wake up if you roll on your baby
  • Never co-sleep if your baby was premature or under weight.
  • Never leave your baby alone in a bed
  • Never sleep on the sofa with your tiny baby as they can easily get trapped in any make gaps or metal work there is.

Obviously as the child gets older, the risks will lower. I enjoyed co-sleeping with Tilly and eventually as Beth moved out, then Zach moved out, it freed up a room. Co-sleeping doesn't just mean that your child develops a real attachment to sharing a bed with you but also that you develop an attachment to sharing a bed with your child. So it gets difficult for you both when you start thinking about putting your child in their own bed. It took me 5 months to get used to the idea of Tilly moving into her own bedroom. Firstly I pushed her bed right next to mine and she slept in it, but could reach out and feel for me in the night. She understood that she was 5 now and none of her friends slept with their mummy.
When I spoke to her about having her own room, she was absolutely thrilled. We made a big thing of it and she decided where she wanted her furniture. Its not a big room but its her's! she goes in there and plays for hours, which is something she never did when we shared a room. She has even started sleeping better at night, I guess because its quieter in her own room. But as for me, I still worry about her as she sleep walks and still gets up in the night for the toilet. But at 5 years old she is an independent little girl who loves sleeping in her own bed, she still gets in with me in the morning, so we still have the closeness but for us co-sleeping worked.

Many people would say co-sleeping is bad for you and your child, but everyone is different and everyone makes their own choice with their child. The reason I co-slept were because we were over crowded and I had severe PND, so co-sleeping definitely helped me to bond with my little girl.

Do you co-sleep?

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