Cosleeping is the big taboo. The thing that people bloody love to harp on about and tell you not to do.
Comments are banded about by SMOS (smug mothers of sleepers) where they look at you with their pitying eyes that say ‘I have everything under control and you clearly don’t, you hippy, weak, Earth mother’
Favourite comments tend to be the following:
“Ooooo they’ll be in your bed forever”
-for a while potentially yes, but forever?! Can’t see my 16 year old man son with a hairy chest and chin climbing in bed next to me and snuggling down (flipping hope not anyway because as much as I love them I’m not up for that)
“They’ll never sleep through the night”
-little update here, my child doesn’t sleep through the sodding night now! Not even close! I’m a shadow of my former self through sleep deprivation so if I need to scrape my ass through the night by getting him in bed then so be it!
“You’re making a rod for your own back”
-yes I’m good at making those, I make one when I run to him every time he cries, another one when I let him have a dummy for too long, I make a really strong rod when I rock him to sleep every night, in fact, my back is so flipping stable from all these rods, just please refer to me as the ‘Super rod making Mother of all shite rods’ from now on…
Cosleeping is so frowned upon by these SMOS that if they had it their way there would be a support group for all us cosleepers to attend, like Alcoholics Anonymous. I’d go along, wait my turn and say “Hello my name is Inadequate Mum, and I’m a cosleeper…” To which everyone would politely clap and congratulate me in making the first step for my recovery.
I’ve always thought that if you never, ever have your child in your bed it’s probably for one of the following reasons:
- You have a child that sleeps
- You have a child that sleeps
- You are superhuman
- You have a child that sleeps.
You have to survive in life and needing sleep is part of survival. Little B will normally go in his bed at the start of the night and then once awake for the first feed he usually jacks that in. Although to be fair I don’t put up much of a fight.
Once fed (auto correct changed ‘once’ to ‘mince’, maybe that’s where I’m going wrong and mince should be fed instead) I go to place Little B in his bed again, a little like a rare steak, he usually has a ‘flash’ in the pan and quick as you like he’s back out and in bed with me.
When I commented to the health visitor that at 5 months he still feeds every two hours and sometimes every hour she asked me if he really cries for milk and that’s why I feed him. Errrrrm, nope, he wakes, shuffles around, my sleep deprivation alarm fires up in my head “Shit, shit, shit, he’s awake! Quick feed him instantly so we can all sleep again!” and that’s how we roll. Bish, bash, bosh, another rod is made.
Every cosleeper will adopt the most ridiculous, uncomfortable positions as you have the ‘How to cosleep safely’ leaflet going round in your head that you were given when you gave birth. You end up with 2 inches of mattress space while your tiny human being has 2 metres. You have a dead arm, boob permanently out and both your knickers and pjs lodged firmly up your arse but you Do. Not. Move. You must not stir the beast. Even when you are busting for a wee you actually lie there seriously considering the fact that it seems more appealing at that moment in time to piss the bed rather than wake your baby.
One of my favourite activities when doing a million night feeds is to go on my phone, often browsing hopefully through Google searches such as ‘ How to make your baby sleep’ and ‘Turn your nights around in 5 easy steps’ and thinking how much is that frigging sheep named Ewan again?! Then you return to Facebook and be disappointed that everyone’s not up posting exciting and humorous statuses at 3am. Where is everyone? Why the bloody hell are they doing?! Oh yes. Sleeping.
Waking in the morning you are so sleep deprived you don’t know your arse from your elbow. This weekend I saw a mark on my, otherwise clean, trousers so went to the bathroom to sponge it off. In my knackered haze I used the boys ‘bum sponge’ to do the job, removed it perfectly, hygiene is always my top priority.
Middle F has just turned 3 and doesn’t sleep through the night either. For well over a year we slogged it out in his room every time he woke, sitting with him in the chair instead of in our bed, and returning him to his bed once we’d cuddled him back to sleep. We have now very successfully regressed with him too, as when he calls his dad goes through and gets in his bed with him, we effectively have 2 cosleepers going on here (now reconsidering my point about how they won’t cosleep forever…maybe it’s possible)
In the middle of the night I frequently ponder if anyone has actually died from sleep deprivation. I reckon they have, they must have. Sleep deprivation can surely kill you. I told another mum (whose child slept through at 8 weeks) that Big T started sleeping through the night at 2 and a half, she said ‘Wow that’s amazing!’ to which I had to say, ‘Years, two and a half YEARS not weeks’.
Still, he could pretty much poo on request from a really early age (very impressive) so you win some you lose some I guess.
Middle F is now 3 and we’re still waiting…
Anyway, to all those SMOS out there I’m glad that you have a child that sleeps because you never allowed them in your bed (I’m jealous) and I’m glad that your child won’t be getting in with you when they are 18 or calling you through to their room (unlike my boys) however I’m having to stick to the principle that cosleeping isn’t such a sin after all. I’m pretty sure that with all the guilt thrown at parents in life, one thing I won’t have to feel guilty about (when I’m an old lady pushing an empty buggy around town with Fireman Sam in because I no longer have children to look after) is that I cuddled my children when they needed comfort most. I never left them to feel scared and cry it out but made them feel safe in my bed when they wanted to be there.
Ultimately bringing my children into bed is 100% a selfless act, all about their well being and attending to their every need and has absolutely NOTHING to do with my mental health….or will to survive….or total desperation to gain as much sleep as possible and prevent MY cortisol levels from rising too high……honestly.