I think the time has come for us to move on from co-sleeping. You might not be aware that Daddy-O and I co-sleep with 14 month old Tibbons – perhaps because you’re not a regular reader, or possibly because I have only mentioned it on a handful of occasions on here. If you know me in real life, you’re even less likely to know that we co-sleep – it’s something that has worked really well for us, but it’s not something that I have actively sought to share with friends – we don’t discuss other details of our bedroom arrangements and, unless the topic comes up, I don’t see why I would talk at length about it. Which might lead you (and me) to question why I’m writing a blog post on the topic – one rule for the blog, one for real life?
In a way, yes. This blog is liberating, I feel I can say and share things here that wouldn’t necessarily find a receptive audience amongst friends, family, or colleagues, or sometimes all three. I care what you think, dear reader, am interested in your thoughts and opinions, but I am not bound by them and I do not worry about you judging me, whereas I can’t say the same for all of those mentioned above. With that explanation out of the way, more about the co-sleeping…
I can’t remember when we first started co-sleeping with Tibbons – to start with he would sleep on me on the sofa, or in the bed, but I wouldn’t sleep. I like to think of this as singleton sleeping. Then he started to sleep more and more in his Moses basket, but for short stretches of time. Eventually, after a few months I think, I worked out that bringing him into the bed extended both the number of hours spent sleeping at night (for him and me) and the gaps between waking. I regained my spark, no longer felt like a zombie – I was reborn! Hallelujah! I do remember that at first co-sleeping felt like a guilty pleasure (sneaky plug, moi?!) and that Daddy-O wasn’t keen on it becoming a longer term arrangement. I was always waiting for the next conversation about when we would stop, not wanting that pleasure of lying alongside my baby, feeling his warmth and knowing he was right where he seemed to like it best, to end.
The conversations were broached every so often and there was a period of a week where I slept on the floor in Tibbons’ room while I tried to transition him into the cot. It didn’t work – we just co-slept on the floor and I got a bad back.
Tibbons still wakes at night (as do I, in consequence), once or twice on average. That doesn’t bother me as I am right beside him and can settle him quickly with the breast so we both get back to sleep within minutes. He is not as little as he used to be though and takes up an increasingly large amount of room, so it feels more like a case of “There were three in the bed and the little one said roll over, roll over…” Thankfully none of us have fallen out so far but this weekend, I made some initial changes which I think mark the beginning of the end for nightly co-sleeping in our house. I have a lot of time for co-sleeping (literally), crediting it with restoring me to my former self when I felt like a shell of that person thanks to lack of sleep. Those memories of snuggling up to my son, feeling his warm breath on my face and kissing his soft, silky hair are some of the sweetest and loveliest I have. But I always knew that we wouldn’t co-sleep forever, obviously and now I think the time might have come to move on.
Without really thinking about what I was doing or what it signified, this weekend I had a big tidy up in the bedroom. I moved the cot back to Tibbons’ room (it’s only been languishing at the end of our bed, taking up space and gathering dust, in any case) and I moved my bedside chest of drawers back to their rightful place, whereas up to now I had been using them to form a bed guard so that Tibbons wouldn’t fall out of the bed onto the floor – great for this purpose but less so for the look of the room and me getting in and out of bed in the dark.
Our room feels more like our room again, it’s a pleasure to walk into and Daddy-O and I are reveling in the space. It is a big room but I had forgotten just how big – it feels like there are acres of floor space now! Where before we had to dodge and weave our way around an assault course of cots, chests of drawers and clothes horses to get to the bed or wardrobes, we now have a clear path – room to swing a cat and then some.
With the safety net against Tibbons falling out now gone, it feels more pressing to work on getting him into his cot, in his room. We’re thinking about buying a bed or cot bed so that it’s not quite such an alien environment for Tibbons and so that, at first at least, I can lie down with him to get him off to sleep.
Change is afoot.