Why we didn’t co-sleep, and why I kind of regret it

When I had Oscar, the hospital took great pains to communicate that they did not approve of co-sleeping. Either that or they didn’t approve of me, a plus size mama, co-sleeping with my baby. I don’t know what your experience of the NHS was (or even just RSCH), but I was told  that while they couldn’t tell me not to, how would I feel if fell asleep and ‘something happened’ and that it wasn’t worth the risk. I came home absolutely petrified of ever falling asleep even near him. Honestly, I remember an awful experience in those early days of waking up in bed, having drifted off and screaming blue murder because I couldn’t remember putting Oscar in his crib. My tired, petrified brain assumed I must have fallen asleep on top of him and the worst must have happened. As it was he was in his crib. Yes, a well placed comment to a super scared new mother really had done a job on me.

So we didn’t co-sleep. At all. Ever. It wasn’t until he was three that I started to allow myself to doze if he fell asleep on me while lying on the sofa. Sometimes I feel angry about that. Oscar is my only child and I feel like it’s a part of his babyhood I really missed out on. A bonding experience that we really should have had. Then, other times I think perhaps he wouldn’t have appreciated being in with us anyway. He is a good sleeper and has been since he was about 9 months old. When we explained this to his paediatrician, she was surprised, and attributed this to the clear bedtime routine he has had since he was tiny.

Either way, it’s something I’d never done. Until very recently.

A couple of weeks ago we went to Devon to see family. Oscar, the boy who is rarely ill, started throwing up about an hour into the journey and kept nothing down until he passed out in my sister in laws bed around 5pm. Poor dot. We decided not to move him and that I would sleep in with him and that Ben would take the ‘put you up’ bed in my nephew’s room next door. I have to admit I had mixed emotions going to bed that night. On the one hand I still felt a little scared, vestiges of old learnt behaviour I guess. But on the other hand I felt absolutely thrilled. It sounds so stupid, but I was just so excited that I was actually going to get to know what this ‘co-sleeping’ malarkey felt like. Even when he woke up bright as a button at 3.30am, I couldn’t be annoyed at him. Because he was there next to me. And when he’d watched the iPad for a while and then decided to wake me again at 6 because “I need hungry mummy”, I could do nothing but make him breakfast to eat in bed with me, while I sat there, in awe of him.

After he ate his breakfast (and kept it all down) he fell asleep again on my leg. I gently pulled him back up the bed and fell asleep with him in my arms. The way it should have been from day one. I felt a little sad that it had taken us so long to have this beautiful experience (and for him to be so ill) but I really was grateful it had happened at all and I can see why some people rave about it.

We did it again the next night at Oscar’s insistence and yes I did get a hand in the face and a kick in the thigh in the night. And the amount of space a little body can take up in an comparatively enormous bed was baffling (Ben says O sleeps like me!) and I couldn’t see it ever working with all three of us in the bed. But I’m just so grateful we got to experience it at all. Really, the only way I can describe it is magical!

Even if he did wake me by lifting my eyelid and asking “You wanna build a snowmaaaaaan”

 

Comments

  1. mummyfever says:

    Oh bless – how gorgeous, although sorry he was poorly. I never planned to co-sleep with any of mine. With the first three its been only when they were poorly or just the odd hour when they were newborn but my youngest, now 20 months didn’t sleep for more than 10 mins in his own bed for the first year, now he’ll sleep in there until about 2am and then he normally comes in with us. it started because he used to choke due to silent reflux and he had to sleep on me, sat up for months, then it became a habit. he actually sleeps better in our bed and I’ll probably miss it when it finally stops #sharethejoylinky

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Thank you so much. Oh your poor little guy – silent reflux is so nasty, no wonder he wanted in with you! And I bet you will miss it one day 🙂

  2. We didn’t co-sleeping with BB but have done with Little B ever since he was born…I lost count of the times I’d wake up in a panic in the early days thinking something terrible had happened… #twinklytuesday

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Isnt it funny how even different children from the same mother are raised differently – what works for one child wont work for another. Love it!

  3. I’m glad that you finally got to experience something that you had missed out on…and really glad that your son got over the bug. So, did you build that snowman? LOL! Thank you for sharing with #ShareTheJoyLinky!

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Hahaha not yet, but the weather’s been so weird of late (rain and cold in June!) that who knows! Thank you for hosting!

  4. I co-slept with my daughter when she was 6 -7 months old because she decided that she hated her cot and screamed bloody murder if I put her in it. I found it really stressful – I was worried about her rolling off the bed, plus she took up so much of the bed that I could never get comfortable. It was a relief when she started sleeping in her cot again, but I know lots of people have really lovely co-sleeping experiences. It just wasn’t for us. #ablogginggoodtime

    • mrssavageangel says:

      I love this – not that you found it stressful, but that not everyone gets the whole co-sleeping thing. I’m super glad I’ve experienced it now, but there’s no point getting angry that I didn’t get to do it sooner – for all I know it would have been awful!

  5. I know exactly what you mean, I was always scared of cosleeping after reading all the SIDs stuff and safe sleeping guidelines. Luckily my little guy has always been ok in a moses basket and then cot. I have had a few naps with him and now he’s a bit older if he wakes up early we sometimes have him in bed with us, but he feels a lot more robust now so it doesn’t scare me so much! I’m glad you’ve experienced it now though. #ablogginggoodtime

  6. Yes I didn’t cosleep either Hun but Big lad has always been one for his space. But we have had a sleepover night when hubby was away and he loved that. Little man would sleep with us every night if he could. I loved this post so heartfelt!

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Ahh thank you so much my lovely. I do wonder if it wouldn’t have worked for us anyway. I do tend to ponder his early days too much, wondering if I could have done it better, differently. But whats the point in that?

  7. We’ve never done co-sleeping with our 2 either (the NHS terrified me about it too!) but I love it when my kids fall asleep on me. It does feel really special. I’m glad you had your magical moment, even if it was a bit later than you’d have liked. #ablogginggoodtime

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Does it always make you drowsy too? Whenever Oscar falls asleep on me its like a sedative! Thank you so much!

  8. Aww this is so lovely. We did Co sleep because it was either that or we didn’t sleep! My hospital were really good – we were in for 3 days and on the first night he just wouldn’t sleep so the midwife actually made a nest for him in my bed and that’s where he slept! I ruddy loved cosleeping and would do it again in a heartbeat. As long as it’s done safely, there shouldn’t be any issues. I also regularly fell asleep with him mid feed! Terrible mother haha! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • mrssavageangel says:

      That’s amazing! When O wouldn’t sleep on the third night I was in with him, I was up with him all night until about 5 when a midwife threw my curtain back and said to me ‘whats the problem here’ really sharply. I said ‘he wont sleep unless he’s on me’ and she just said ‘well let him sleep on you then’. When I said ‘but you said not to do that’, she whipped the curtain closed and was gone. I insisted I was being discharged that day. It really was awful.

  9. I am not really one for co-sleeping to be honest, I am far too much of a star fish, but I don get what you mean about a cuddly poorly child. I had the same thing recently, and although he was really sick I loved that he sat and fell asleep on me!

  10. I didn’t co-sleep til my 4th child and still at 3 years old she has nights in my bed, I often feel like I missed out with my other 3 and really cherish these moments in bed now #effitfriday

  11. My experience was the same – in general, I had really positive experiences with midwives and health visitors, but I lost count of how many of them told me horror stories of babies being seriously injured, rolling out of bed. It terrified me.

    That said, our daughter did still end up sleeping in our bed from about 3 to around 5 months, when she went into her big cot. It was lovely at first but, by 5 months, all three of us were sick of not having enough space! She occasionally comes in with us if she wakes up early now but it’s not much fun – she insists on sleeping across my face and thrashes around! I DO like letting her nap on me now and then, though.

    • mrssavageangel says:

      I do wonder if I’d have coped with the space thing – if it’d been just me and him it might have been alright, but for the three of us? I think it might have got old pretty quickly!

  12. Back again from #picknmix – and Little B is still in our bed! #picknmix

  13. I don’t co-sleep either but sometimes it works for people. Do whatever is best for you #effitfriday

  14. We only co-slept by accident lol as feet hitting you in the face at 3am is not my idea of fun, but even now I love watching them sleep when I pop in before I go to sleep. They look so angelic 🙂 My boys were also really good sleepers, so I think what we did worked for us.

    Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix lovely

    Stevie x

    • mrssavageangel says:

      I think you’re right, if it works for you do it. I still look in on Oscar before I go to bed and I imagine I will be when he’s the same age as your boys 😄

  15. Aww such a lovely post! I didn’t co-sleep with Monkey for the same reasons I was completely freaked out! He’s now 4 and I also feel we missed out. Although we do on occasion now. I’m not making the same mistakes with Kipper. Although generally he will sleep in his Moses basket some nights he sleeps in with me espically if he’s on a feeding frenzy! #TwinklyTuesday

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Thank you so much! I know lots of mothers who’ve done things very differently with their second. I however won’t have that option. But that’s OK. ☺️

  16. I say we dont co-sleep, but my husband spends half the night in my daughters double bed cos she comes in to get him at 2 and 3 in the morning and he’s usually asleep by the time she dozes off again so I’m left on my own and dont see them till morning! #AnythingGoes

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Aww that’s so cute! I love that your daughter has a double bed. I wish we’d had the room to do that for O.

  17. Oh he is soooo cute!! I never co-slept with mine either as I was also warned of the dangers and was also terrified! It worked out well though because they ended up being pretty good sleeps and would settle themselves.

    We did share a bed with M when we went to Hamburg at the end of last year though and although I loved the snuggles I didn’t miss having his feet and arms on my face and sleeping on the very edge of the bed! #PickNMix

  18. We have learned the art of co-sleeping on weekends when we have a “lie-in,” although some nights our daughters will take it in turns to sneak in and sleep in our bed, usually tucked under my arm. I remember full well the new mother panic about squashing the baby. In fact, reading your post reminded me of one night when I woke sitting up in bed and began scrabbling around under the duvet, looking for my baby. When I woke up I realised she was sleeping peacefully in her crib next to me, and I had been unsuccessfully trying to scoop up our Staffy X, who sleeps on the bottom of our bed 🙂

  19. With my biggest they showed me how in the hospital to feed him lying down, though I didn’t very often sleep with him. On holidays, when he was ill, when he was upset. With the littlest at some point every night for the first 9 months of his life he was in bed with me. Less so now, he is a roller and a faller out of bed-er! Plus fingers up my nose. Though I still jump in with my 3 year old when he asks. Nothing beats baby cuddles. I think there is too much scaremongering in the UK, too much of a blame culture, too much of a worry of lawsuits.

    • mrssavageangel says:

      You’re so right. I wish I hadn’t been so scared but Hey ho. 20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing! Glad you get cuddles in with your littlies though. Can’t beat a squidge, although I sometimes have to wrestle them from Oscar!

  20. Both my girls were petite at birth and I can understand why the hospital tell you not to co-sleep. They have their own Moses Basket so why would they want to come into our bed anyway I thought. Now my eldest is bigger we have the odd night/morning when she will join us.

    • mrssavageangel says:

      I see your point Helena, I only wish they’d given me the choice. I’m glad you get morning cuddles ☺️

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