Before I start, I am not here to state that what I have done with Cameron is in any way the RIGHT way to do things, or that the opposite is the wrong way. However, I have often been told that the way Cameron slept in the early stages of his life would have a negative impact later on, which it hasn't, so I resent that, and felt the need to stand up for those who do co-sleep with their baby.
First of all, let me explain to those of you who may not know, what co-sleeping actually means. It is a phrase used for having your newborn/young baby in bed with you each night rather than having them sleep in a moses basket or cot. There are several reasons why people take this option, including cost, but for me, the reason was purely because I was absolutely terrified of cot death, which can be reduced with co-sleeping. I put him in a moses basket on the first night and within an hour had him in with me because I couldn't bear to have him away from me. Every few minutes I had been checking he was still breathing, and as a new mum, it was exhausting me. I kept him in bed with me right up until he was 11 months old, when I moved into my new flat. I would have moved him into his cot before then, but due to writing my dissertation, I was spending a lot of time over my mum's and so there wasn't a time when I would have been able to get him into a routine. Instead, I decided to just wait until we moved, sell the unused cot, and buy a toddler bed, and just put him straight into that.
When other mums realised I co-slept with Cameron, a lot of them told me that I would really struggle to ever get Cameron to sleep in his own bed as he would get used to sleeping with me, and be unable to settle alone. When the Health Visitor realised that I had him in with me, she was downright rude to me and bundled leaflet after leaflet onto me on controlled crying and the benefits of having a baby in a cot. I have always been strong willed though and having others imply I was doing something wrong just made me more determined to carry on with the way things had been working for me and Cameron.
After all the comments, I will admit I was a little concerned that Cameron might find it hard to settle when the time came for him to have his own bed, but the first night in the flat I bathed him and put him into his bed and he loved it. He fell asleep fine and stayed in the bed through the night and has been fine ever since. He has a proper bedtime routine now that he is no longer disturbed by me tapping away on my laptop.
I would suggest co-sleeping to any other new mum. It is much easier to feed a baby if they are in bed with you, the baby feels safe as they are close to you, and there is no chance of the baby becoming too cold in their cot, as they are warmed with your bodyheat. It also allows you as parents to become more in tune with the sleeping patterns of your baby, and to get a better nights sleep.
You should not, however, co-sleep with your baby if any of the following factors apply:
-You (or your partner) smoke
-You (or your partner) have been drinking or taking drugs (including medication that could make you extra sleepy)
-Are unusually tired
-Are unwell and therefore unable to attend to your baby in the night
-If your mattress is saggy or you sleep on a waterbed
-If your baby is likely to fall out of the bed, or become trapped between the mattress and the wall
-If there is a lack of space in the bed
Did you/are you co-sleeping with your baby? Or did you put your baby straight into a moses basket or a cot? How did your method work for you? If you aren't a parent yet, what do you think you would do? Get involved in the comments below!