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”

 

Wicked Wednesdays 18th March 2015

Ahhh he’s asleep

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Look how peaceful and serene he looks. My baby.

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Look at him, so beaut…. err, what is he doing?

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Seriously?

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Sigh

Happy Wednesday!!

I’m joining in the wonderfully wicked Brummymummyof2’s link up #WickedWednesdays

brummymummyof2

A letter to my toddler son

Apologies for the “mummy” silence over the past week or so. It wasn’t intentional, I’ve just been busy and stressed and, well, none of those things are excuses I know, but something had to take the hit so it was these posts. I don’t know why it was. I love writing them, they’re important to me. Hmmm. Anyway, sorry. And sorry for the random timing of this post. Although the way things are going at the moment it might be that random is the only way I can do these. Ahh well.

 

To the boy,

Sometimes I look at you, often when you’re asleep, or in your Winnie the Pooh inspired evening trance. I look at your soft skin and your, blonder than I could ever hope for, hair. I see your tiny Willson nose and your daddy’s bottom lip, the way you cross your ankles when you sit and the enormous feet on the ends of your lean little legs. I think I love you most in these times. In these times when you are still. Does that make me a bad parent? A bad person? Because there are other times. Other days.

Some days I find you too draining to bare. You scream, you squawk, you cry, you kick me, you hit me, you destroy every thing you can, including my heart and I am left in a state of shock. Battered and bruised both inside and out. If you were my partner, my friends would plead with me to leave you. This abuse would not be tolerated. But you are my son, and this is not abuse. You are 2. A toddler. A tiny person trying to find your way, your place, your pitch. And I do everything I can to help you, but, my darling, I’m new to this too. And some days it feels like, whatever I do, it will never be enough.

I know you are my son. In every cry of frustration, every time you throw something down in anger. Yup there I am. But you are so confident in your own ability, I don’t think you realise you’re only 2. Maybe it’s because no one has told you? Before I had you, I did not want a shy child. But now some days I wish I could eat my words. Just while we go round the Farm or the market. Walk beside me my darling baby son. Don’t run off into the crowd. Don’t make me have to restrain you, while you kick and scream and hate me. I’m doing it to save you, to keep you safe and to prevent a maternal heart attack. Please?

I’ve taken to checking on you while you sleep more than I ever did when you were tiny. I need to know that my darling baby is still in there. Somewhere. Not that it makes the hard times easier to bare.

It just helps me to get up to you the next day.

Mama

x