I am hoping my co-sleeping days with my son will be at end soon, well in the next month or two providing I get the time off of work I would like and finally get my 3 year old into his own bed in his own room.
It has been a long journey, not one we initially planned for, but one we fell into and had to for our sanity. My son did sleep apart from us for the first 4 months in his Moses basket, and we never intended to bed share as we were scared of the risks. However, after my son gradually started to sleep more at night and I have to tell you the first two months were tough, and he suffered from reflux so was never an easy sleeper. I finally know why sleep deprivation is used as a method of torture. I started to just bring our son into the bed from about 4am as he always started to stir from around that time, just to get an hour or so more sleep before he finally woke up wanting another feed. A cuddle and him sleeping on my chest at that time in the morning would send him back to sleep, I think the first time I fell asleep doing this was an accident as I was very tired, and he went back to sleep as I held him to my chest, and I thought I will just rest here and feed him in a bit, but then went to sleep with him for another hour. I think even for while it wasn’t every morning that I had to do this and I remember we had a very small period where he was sleeping through, and waking up for a morning feed at an hour we could cope with.
How it started…
Then at 4 months, the dreaded sleep regression hit, that’s how it seemed. I remember it was difficult to settle him to sleep at night, he was in a hyper alert state and also around the same time he had the worse cold he had ever had by that point in his life. He was so snuffly, and couldn’t breathe properly, that we didn’t know what to do and wasn’t even sure whether we needed to see a doctor. However, sleeping upright on my chest in our bed settled him and sent him back to sleep on that awful night where he was finding it hard to breathe, and really that’s how it all started.
A life behind bars…
We did try to move him to his own cot in his own room, but he was having none of it, he would just cry and cry if I left him in it and if I put him in his cot asleep, he would manage to wake himself up very quickly and I didn’t find the whole thing that easy with a back problem, getting up and down several times. Also as I mentioned in a previous blog we tried cry it out, but we decided it wasn’t for us, it made him too stressed, so much so he would gag and vomit. I didn’t like to see him like that, it made us feel stressed and anxious too. Also after 2-3 months of not wanting night feeds, from 6 months he wanted them again and he didn’t drop the habit until he was around 2 years old. So, that is how our bedsharing lifestyle came about.
The pros and cons, but overall positive for us
My other half has been very understanding and even moved out of our bed, and sleeps on a foam pull out bed on the floor, and has done so for a good while to give us more room and to make it safer. The lack of intimacy and moments to talk between us at times has been a difficult sacrifice and one of the down sides of choosing this lifestyle. However, am grateful to have a loving, understanding partner that supports me through this choice. The lack of my own occasional me time is another sacrifice too, and not just to drink wine haha, but to do other things. I do love an occasional glass of wine as you will see from my FB page, but that has cut down dramatically, which is a good thing for my liver anyway. Although my own personal free time in the evenings has got a little better since my son has got older, we now have bed guards on our bed and a camera to monitor him so I can leave the room for a bit. However, if my son does wake up while I am gone he will not settle himself back to sleep yet and needs a lot of reassurance, if I am with him he settles back without any need for anything else these days.
Bed sharing is a controversial subject, but we didn’t enter into this choice lightly and have tried to do this as safely as possible. It has not affected my son’s development in any way, he is becoming a very much independent little boy, a bossy one at times too, but he does need a lot of reassurance when he goes to sleep and that is fine. I would never advocate that this is the only way to do things, but it is the way that has worked for us without losing our sanity, but yes there has been sacrifices and it hasn’t always been easy at times.
My son now very much wants to sleep in his own room, it is pretty much ready for him to go into, we have a big kids bed for him and we just want to give it one last tidy up, and add a few finishing touches to it. My son is now scared of the dark, so we will get him some more night lights and I recently told him about dream catchers. I love the whole mythology behind them and have explained that they catch bad dreams, so stop him from having them. He very much wants one now, and if by having one it helps to reassure him and improves his psychology then that is another final touch I am willing to get for him. I have also found a lovely hand made one and a couple that light up for him, and some again lovely hand made London themed string lights for his room as he is obsessed with some of London’s iconic imagery.
I expect the next transition to his own room will not be easy, and that I will be staying a lot in his room at first to reassure him that it is fine. In one way even at times when I wish to just to have the bed back to myself and with my OH in it, I love my snuggles with my son and have got so use to him being there, that a part of me will miss it, and yes one day he will not want to do this anyway. He will want his own privacy and will want his mummy’s cuddles and kisses even less, so I am trying to cherish these moments, rather than see it as a chore. However, wish us luck and if you are going through something similar, I have added some links with advice about a gentle transition from co-sleeping to sleeping on their own, and I am sure I will update my blog with our progress on this new transitional journey for us.