30 May Co sleeping and bed sharing: time for some honesty
I silenced a dinner table full of women a wee while ago.
I was staying with family and was innocently asked ‘so where is the baby sleeping? Do you have a travel cot?’ And I answered honestly, because I hate lying about things, especially those choices I make that are slightly different to the norm.
So I said ‘he still sleeps with me’
And then some cutlery clinked and we moved on.
I didn’t get a chance to explain that this was safe, comforting, healthy and absolutely fine.
I didn’t get a chance to defend my choices and say that I wasn’t forming a bad habit because it wasn’t upsetting for me. Bad habits are things you feel guilty about because they have some sort of unwanted consequence.
My son is one now and has been in his cot since he was 9 months, but in the early days he slept exclusively with me.
It worked for me. It worked for us.
I walked about like a zombie with my eldest. I was sitting up feeding him and I was wrecked. I used to do anything to try and stay awake so I didn’t fall asleep sitting up. I was existing on 5 hours of broken sleep most of the time.
Both of my sons have liked to feed loads at night. For me, breastfeeding without bed sharing and co sleeping would be sooooooo difficult. In fact I imagine it is one of the reasons many women stop breastfeeding.
Did you know that many parents choose to sleep next to their children at some point in their early years but very few will admit it? This is a crisis because if we can be honest about it, we can be educated about how to do this safely.
I’m convinced that if more women understood that they can safely sleep with their babies, even if they only do this occasionally, it would make their breastfeeding journey so much easier. For some women, co sleeping isn’t an option, and I totally get that too. Everyone has their boundaries and their needs to help them be the best parent they can be.
In her book, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, Dr Sarah Buckley states that the safest bed sharing relationship is between a breastfeeding mother and their baby.
Do some research and do what works for you. There is no such thing as a bad habit when it comes to babies. There is only your peace of mind. And your sleep.