I swore up and down that I wouldn’t co-sleep with my baby before I had her. If I’m honest, my reasoning had little to do with any health guidelines or recommendations but rather that I just didn’t want to share my bed. I was weary of the difficulties I could encounter when weaning her off my bed (can I say that?). Of course as any first time mums will agree – mum plans, baby laughs! When the baby is actually here, you find that they are boss and you’re happy to oblige.
I know the debate to co-sleep or not to co-sleep is as serious as that of breastfeeding. I’ve heard mothers and other people debate both sides and I’ve read the guidelines for both arguments to better inform myself. While I’ve found that both sides to have valid arguments, I personally co-sleep for these 3 reasons:
1. Feeding – my daughter’s cot is in my room and will remain there until she’s at least one year old because I can’t bring myself to even think of her sleeping in a different room to me. I almost get paranoid at the thought. Nonetheless, she shares our end because I quickly found out that it is very convenient when doing the nighttime feeds. Granted, she awakes less these days but I don’t have to get out of my bed to feed her when she is up at night and that to me is amazing. Also, she uses a dummy and fusses when it comes out of her mouth (happens all the time), so I can’t imagine getting up and off my bed just to go put it back in her mouth 3-5 times a night. Plus, she sleeps better and longer so that means more sleep for mummy as well!
2. I Keep My baby Safe – I can just picture those against co-sleeping roll their eyes at this one but to me, having my baby sleeping next to me actually puts me in a protective mode. I’m not a heavy sleeper naturally anyway but I’m even more aware of her presence and of the environment around us when she’s sleeping with me. This means if she was in danger, I would be quick to act and that provides me with a sense comfort knowing that I’m right there next to her if she needs me.
3. I Enjoy It – aside from the convenience and safety reasons, I actually love and enjoy having my baby sleep in the bed with me (much to her father’s disapproval). She has this habit of caressing my face in her sleep for comfort and this literally brings me joy. It’s like she just needs to feel for me to know that I’m there (how can I say no to that!). Also, nothing compares to waking up every morning and seeing her cute little face smiling at me.
I am well aware of the dangers of co-sleeping so this post is not by any means to disregard the genuine and valid concerns. At the same time, it should be acknowledged that so many mothers out there co-sleep with their babies and I think it is important that we are not made to feel guilty for doing it as long as we’re taking the necessary precautions to ensure that it is done safely, i.e. One shouldn’t co-sleep if consuming alcohol or smoking and not sleeping on a couch, etc.
Like any mother ou there, my daughter’s safety and wellbeing is at the forefront of my entire being. Another thing to keep in mind for those who criticise this way of sleeping is accepted and practiced safely in many cultures, so the default reaction to it shouldn’t be a negative one as many would agree that it also has its benefits.