This is a post I have been thinking about in my head for months now! It’s a post I have wanted to write, then changed my mind and thought I shouldn’t write, and then have come back to it again. I want to talk about sleeping with your baby. Not because it’s what I think you should do… but because it’s what works for us.
I have always slept with my babies, usually from birth until around 10 or 12 months when they start to sleep through the night. It’s not that I feel strongly one way or the other about co-sleeping, it’s just what has always felt more natural, and frankly more easy, to me. In fact, with every pregnancy I would set up the moses basket before the birth thinking that’s where the baby would sleep… but once the baby was born, I just never felt comfortable putting them into their own bed. My husband and I both felt more at ease having the baby in our bed, close to us, to be in tune with their little bodies and sleeping rhythm. (I’m a very light sleeper and wake at the teensiest sound or smell or touch.) Also, I just find it easier to nurse my baby in bed, often in a hazy half sleep/half awake state — I find it less disruptive to my sleep than getting up out of bed to feed and put the baby back into her own bed. Perhaps sleeping with my babies has come out of pure laziness!?!
The funny thing is, that while it feels completely normal and natural to me, it doesn’t seem to be common practice, at least not amongst my friends or the other mums at my children’s school. I remember when Marlow was a baby, even just a few weeks old, I was constantly asked ‘how is she sleeping?’ or ‘is she waking in the night?’ or even ‘does she sleep through?’. (It must be one of the most common questions a new mother is asked!) When I told people that she sleeps with me and that I feed on demand sometimes up to four times a night, I would get such shocked replies. For a while I even started to doubt our co-sleeping ways! But then I read this post about co-sleeping on A Cup Of Jo, and I also read this guest post on The Littlest blog by James from Bleubird where she shares how she sleeps with her baby. It made me feel comforted to know that other mothers do the same… and it made me wonder if perhaps it’s not really so rare?
Marlow is 7 months old (today!) and she’s still sleeping in bed with us. I usually put her to bed in her own bed around 7pm and she goes to bed willingly. Around midnight (sometimes even 1 or 2!) she will wake and I will bring her into our bed. She usually feeds a couple times through the rest of the night and then we usually wake up together around 7am. Of course I would love to have a full night of uninterrupted sleep, and some days I really do feel so tired… but I love waking up with Marlow in my arms, and I love nursing her in bed, and the way our bodies fit perfectly together like a puzzle piece. Some day… we won’t fit together as easily, and when that day comes, I will miss these wonderful sleep-deprived nights.
So anyway… I would love to hear from all of you. How goes it in your family? Do (did) you sleep with your baby? Or does your baby sleep in his own bed (or even bedroom)? What works for you? Please do share!