There Is A Child In My Bed. Again

I’m no stranger to co-sleeping. All 3 of my children have spent most of their first year in my bed, but at some point in their second orbit around the sun my daughters managed increasing amounts of time in their bed in their own room. Not so my son.

A sleeping toddler co-sleeping in parents bed
My son sleeping in my bed is a normal sight for me

In Baby Boy’s (and yes I will keep calling him Baby Boy because I haven’t yet come up with a better pseudonym) 20 months on this earth he has spent the majority of each night in bed with me. For the purpose of accuracy there have been 3 nights when he technically slept through the night in a separate room (officially defined as sleeping for as a 6 to 8 hour stretch). The first 2 were at 6 months and then he repeated the feat over a year later, just this week in fact. Waking up and calling for me at 3.45! I knew better than to feel optimistic; the next night the wake ups were frequent.

I generally don’t have a problem that he ends up in my bed, I just like it to be after the time I have chosen to go to bed myself. Roughly half the time he kindly waits until my head hits the pillow, the other half I have an early bedtime thrust upon me. Thank goodness for my Kindle app on my phone.

There was a phase when the first, and often even the second time, I would get him back to sleep in his cot, but after a bad stretch where these attempts lasted barely long enough for me to go back to sleep I decided just to bring him into bed with me (or ask G to bring him to me so I don’t even have to get out of my toasty warm bed).

Now I know what you are (probably) thinking as you read this. A reasonable proportion are nodding their heads in recognition, your child may sleep better than mine, but co-sleeping is still a regular occurrence due to it allowing everyone to actually sleep! There is another group of you who will be thinking I brought this on myself, how I should have taught my son to “self soothe” and that I must have made bad sleep associations or crutches. Yes I’ve read all those parenting manuals too, but I’ve also had 3 children who sleep very differently. Yes almost certainly there are things that I have done or haven’t done that have ended up with my crowded bed, but I’m ok with it and to be honest I love the reassurance of hearing him breathing next to me. I love when he sleepily wakes up in the morning, looks at me and smiles. I love how he reaches out a chubby little hand in the night to make sure I haven’t abandoned him.

But I don’t love everything about co-sleeping.

I don’t love how some nights he seems to only be able to sleep by using my head as a pillow, a baby’s head is surprisingly heavy. I don’t love how I often end up with a numb arm from cuddling him all night, or other aches from the strange positions I can end up in. I don’t love that I have to weigh up whether it’s worth getting up for a wee, because he might realise and scream the house down. I don’t love how some nights he prefers to sleep at a right angle to me, taking up a crazy amount of space given he’s only 1 years old. Is it worth the risk of moving him back to a more sensible position or should I try and sleep in a teeny tiny space?

I’m so grateful for the nights when I hear Little wake up. As Baby Boy wont accept any substitute for me night wake ups by the girls are G’s job. I get to poke him awake (because of course being a man a crying child tends not to wake him) and send him off to sort out the problem. Inevitably he ends up falling asleep on the floor next to Little’s bed leaving BB and I to have the King Size bed to ourselves. Ooo luxury.

At some point soon I will make a better attempt to resettle BB in his own room. I will work on night weaning him (not so much from the Boob, but from me). And I will have to work on the anxiety that rises when he isn’t near me. But not today. Today My beautiful boy is taking up all of my side of the bed, sleeping soundly and happily. He is my last baby. I can wait.

One day it will just be G and I in the bed, but I’m in no rush.

***Co-sleeping can be done safely, but there are risks involved. Read about it, educate yourself, don’t do it if drunk, on drugs, ill etc etc. Check out these posts on safe co-sleeping by The Lullaby Trust and Dr Sears.***

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