IS CO-SLEEPING FINE FOR THE FAMILY?

Co-Sleeping. When your bed is no longer YOUR bed

[By Claire Chadwick]

I didn’t realise how many opinions and arguments were involved in the topics surrounding raising kids, until I became a Mother. Sometimes it feels like you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. You have to tread lightly with the how’s and why’s of the way you parent, which is a pity. If only we could all support and celebrate each other – parenting would be a lot easier!

Like all parenting topics, the concept of co-sleeping with your infant/toddler comes with all kinds of opinions. There are ‘parenting books’ out there that are anti co-sleeping and list many, many reasons why you should avoid bringing baby into bed with you. And then there are others that list a multitude of reasons why co-sleeping is safe, important and beneficial.

At the end of the day, I sit somewhere in the middle. If your parenting methods are safe and suit your family – then roll with it – ignore the many opinions telling you otherwise. Every child and every family is so different that I struggle to see how one person’s strong opinion can fit perfectly with the way you chose to raise your children. When it comes to parenting, I like to read and research what works for others. I like to ask questions and see into the lives of other families, but really, when it comes to decision making on how we raise our kids – we simply do what suits us, and what works best for us as a busy, loving and modern-day family.

Again, if it’s safe, healthy, done with best intentions and suits your family – then it’s right.

As for co-sleeping? Yep we do it.

But, it was something we kind of fell into unintentionally. My husband and I never had a discussion about how and where our children would sleep every single minute of every single night and we never made a conscious decision that we would or wouldn’t co-sleep. It simply started to happen with our first born, and continued when the second came along.

To be honest, before I was a mother, I made a few judgements on parenting and one of the things I remember saying was “No child of mine will ever sleep in our bed. I love my sleep and space too much!” Haaaa, who was I kidding? Then our daughter came along, all pink and perfect but very highly-strung. And at a few days old she fell asleep on my husband’s chest and slept well for the first time. From that day on, we brought her into bed with us when needed. And when I say ‘needed’ – I mean when we were getting sleep deprived and exhausted and seriously needed some rest, and so did she. We knew that she’d sleep soundly curled in the warmth of our bed between us. She’d start every night in her cot, but somewhere in the wee hours of the morning, she’d end up with us.

This continued until her baby brother was born 3 years later.

Our second is now two and still comes into our bed nightly. No, this doesn’t make sense to some. I get plenty of shocked looks, tsk tsk’s and ‘reallys?’ when I disclose our sleeping arrangements. But these judgements don’t bother me anymore. My husband and I are light sleepers so are very aware of our child’s bodies in the bed – we are confident with them being there and don’t see it as a safety concern. We love the happiness, comfort, togetherness and connection this brings us as a whole family….and we get some chunks of sleep which is nice.

We know it won’t last forever, so we cherish having these tiny little bodies snuggled in our bed with us. And, Yes, we look forward to one day being able to stretch out in our own bed, having our own private space again and getting full, uninterrupted night’s sleep – but for now, we’re coping ok! Our marriage is still strong and we still manage plenty of ‘partner’ time.

There are some safety concerns that come with having young infants in bed with adults, so make sure you read up on these, to educate yourself about any risks {Google is a goldmine for advice} but if co-sleeping is something you wish {or need} to do, then follow your instincts. Only you & your partner can direct the type of parenting you want your kids to experience, so only you two should be in control of how and what you do.

Be confident in why you do something and put to rest the conflicting opinions telling us to do otherwise. What works for your family may not for another, and that’s the beauty of parenting – we’re all {well…most of us} trying to do the best for our kids!

Do you co-sleep? What sleeping arrangements work for you and your family?

Claire Chadwick is a mother of two, a wife, a children’s Author and a life lover. She was a Primary School Teacher for ten years before she embarked on Motherhood, and freelance writing. She is a lover of summer, coffee, the colour pink and hearing her children laugh. Claire blogs daily about parenting and life from her Brisbane home at www[.]claireeverafter[.]com and has recently launched a successful and fun children’s book called So Many Sounds. You can find out more about Claire and her book at: http://www.clairechadwick.com.au. Claire believes in living a wholesome life full of rich memories and cherished moments. Her weaknesses: designer handbags, good champagne and a jar of Nutella.