Extended co sleeping.

Extended co sleeping.

Extended co sleeping, happy child, happy Mummy.

I’m sorry to say, but I love that you want to be close to me still! You can’t beat a good cuddle in my book!

There’s an extra pillow in our bed. It lies right between Daddy’s pillow and mine and neither of us have the heart to remove it when we go to sleep. It started a few months ago. Bad dream, funny noise, scary shadow.

You kept coming in in the early hours and snuggling down next to us. Which was fine but then I got so uncomfortable sharing my pillow with you that I told you you had to bring your own if you came down. So then you started appearing, pillow in hand, a little figure in the dark. Finally it became easier to just leave a pillow there and now you creep in so stealthily that I often don’t realise that you’re there until the morning when I wake up and turn over to see you sleeping peacefully in the middle.

I realise co sleeping at all, never mind extended co sleeping is something that a lot of people frown upon but I don’t really see why. As the years go by, I am starting to realise more and more keenly that the amount of time I have of being your entire world is so short, and getting shorter by the day.

Already a teacher takes favour in a story of your day, a picture is drawn for someone else, friends are talked about incessantly at home. And although I love that, I love that you are becoming independent, I can see flashes of the girl you’re going to be, the teenager (and I fear we will have turbulent times ahead of us, you seem to have inherited an extremely stubborn streak and I can’t think where from. :D), it also makes me sad.

Gradually you will slip away from me, you will want to walk to school alone, you won’t want my hugs and kisses, you won’t find my jokes funny, or think that my clothes are cool as you do now. You will wish desperately for me to conform, to blend in, to be invisible,to just leave you alone to be with your friends, or even worse, boyfriend!  🙂

And so for now, I will try my hardest to appreciate these little moments, waking up and seeing your peacefully asleep little face. Utterly safe and secure in your warm space in the middle. Happy to see us, snuggling in for a cuddle to start the day, your brother jumping in too, all cosy until the silliness starts and we know that we need to get up!

Extended co sleeping is what it is I suppose, although you go off to bed in your own room, plus it’s not every night, and I know that it is something that really divides opinion and is not considered good practise in our Western countries, but equally, that it is something that is totally the norm in other countries who struggle to understand our ways.

From when you were a little baby, I have been firmly of the opinion that sleep equals happiness for me and so I needed to do whatever it took to get some! I was quite nervous about co sleeping with you at first, but as you got bigger, it was much easier to just bring you into bed for a feed and fall back to sleep together. As you got older, you moved into a cot with a bit of protest, but we persevered and gradually the night wakings got less and less. Until recently!

I stick to my mantra though, sleep equals happiness, and just the same as when you were a baby, I would much rather have you in bed and all back to sleep then going through the arduous task of returning a reluctant child to bed. Possibly lazy parenting but then I’ve done 6 years of the sleepless nights and so I feel I am owed some laziness!

So while I’m not necessarily encouraging it, I’m also not doing anything to put a stop to it, aside from offering lots of reassurance that there are no such thing as monsters, as long as everyone is getting some sleep, I don’t really mind!

Last we had four in the bed though, now that was too much! 😀 What are your thought on extended co sleeping or co sleeping at all, are you with me or do you firmly disagree?

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20 Comments

  1. January 3, 2017 / 12:54 pm

    Aaah, I totally agree that it’s such a short period of time that they do it, that it’s not really worth trying to stop!! But… I do have a but!! Eldest isn’t interested in sleeping in our bed, and just wants his own space! And until recently, littlest just snoozed all night and didn’t look like he’d ever want us in the night. But then he started with constant shouting, wanting someone to hold his hand/be with him. So I let him in our bed because it was the only place he’d settle. The only thing is, neither of us can sleep with him in the bed…! He snores, throws himself around, screams in his sleep, and we end up exhausted the next day! If he just slept quietly, I’d love him being there, but I can’t cope with the sleep deprivation it’s causing me…!! But long live you having your girl with you if it’s working for you all!! Xx

    • January 3, 2017 / 1:04 pm

      Oh I totally understand this!! If she comes in too close to morning, she is exactly the same! And it drives me potty! But if she comes in the early hours, she is super quiet and just falls straight back to sleep and stays in one place!! I send them back to their own rooms if they wriggle!! So you have my massive sympathies! It is exhausting when they are like that!!xx

    • January 3, 2017 / 2:23 pm

      Oh my gosh I totally relate to this. T has co-slept for about 4 years (he’s just turned 5) he openly says he wants to be close to me but the problem is he still wants to sleep on my tummy, which is getting increasingly more difficult as he gets bigger. I’m sure one day it will stop and I’ll miss it terribly but after 5 1/2 years of disturbed sleep I’m beginning to struggle. Great post Louise xxxx

      • January 6, 2017 / 6:59 am

        Oh that must be exhausting! I am all for personal space too and get too hot if anything is touching me in bed. It’s so sweet that he wants to be so close but I understand completely that it’s draining for you.xx

  2. January 3, 2017 / 3:46 pm

    I sort of feel like this is a non-issue that people have come up with a label for. Didn’t we all get into our parents beds at night as kids? Only now we get judged for letting our kids do it because there’s a name for it. You need to do what’s right for you all and that’s really none of anybody else’s business.
    Nat.x

    • January 6, 2017 / 6:57 am

      Well said Nat!! I know exactly what you mean. Society are so desperate to label things and then berate others for it now!x

  3. January 3, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    Keep going 🙂 Arthur is 2 on Saturday and he ends up in our bed every night – we all get more sleep that way. I’m not sure what we will do when we have number 2…but I’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. So many people frown upon it that I’ve just started talking about it like it’s the most normal thing ever- because it is! The number of ppl who have messaged me to say they do it in secret is insane. They are only little once, make the most of it x

    • January 6, 2017 / 6:57 am

      Exactly! It does get harder when there is a teeny baby in there for squashing reasons, but then you get them to go on Daddy’s side and pop the baby on the other side of you. So lovely that it’s the norm for you. We’ve always had a rotation of different bodies in bed!

  4. January 4, 2017 / 12:27 am

    Ah this could have been me talking, although without the OH. Mine leaves to sleep in the spare room because of the space issue and he says I snore. N only started coming in when he was 5. He’s going to be 6 in a few weeks. He’s never mentioned being scared but when I asked why he does it over the summer, he said it was because he wanted to sleep near me. He’s only in the next room but as a mum I guess we all want our child to love us like that.

    If I was awake when he comes in I would send him back but I sleep through anything. If he couldn’t them settle and forgets he would be sent out. And if he’s there when I go to bed he’s now too heavy for me to pick up without help from him. So we all e get a good night sleep.

    He did so most of December in his own bed, until tonight. Sigh. Because I would like him to stay in his own bed. Thankfully when he sleeps over at granny’s now he does sleep in his own. But she did get a shock the first time when he turned up and climbed into bed with her.

  5. January 4, 2017 / 12:44 am

    We had extended co-sleeping with both kids and I don’t care what people say, its what they wanted, needed and made our lives far easier.

  6. January 4, 2017 / 10:06 am

    Our girls are 6 and 8. We stopped long ago trying to get them to sleep in their own rooms. Long ago… And we believe, like you, sleep = happiness and the time of this devotion is so short, so what the heck. We have 4 in the bed, plus a pooch. The extended king for our queens! Great post! <3

    • January 6, 2017 / 6:54 am

      Oh how brilliant!!! I love that you have the doggy too. We occasionally have the cat but the doggy is too old to get upstairs now.

  7. January 4, 2017 / 2:11 pm

    Interesting post! I’ve never written about it but me and my daughter do co-sleep maybe 50% of the time… it’s just how we do it…. partly a cultural things and partly a lifestyle choice…. and it works fine for us! She is 8. At least we have a close bond and I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

    • January 6, 2017 / 6:53 am

      I think that’s lovely. I quite like the fact that it’s as and when with us too. 😀

  8. January 18, 2017 / 2:16 am

    Hello Louise

    Thank you for this lovely post, some parents rest better themselves with the baby nearby. I think we’re the ones getting it wrong, nearly every culture outside the Western world advocates co-sleeping, yet Western families cling stubbornly to the tradition of keeping babies and young toddlers out of parental beds. It certainly doesn’t help that pediatricians offer opinions like it is a baby’s job is to learn to sleep and become autonomous, which means they shouldn’t be sleeping in your bedroom. It seems fairly ludicrous to me that anyone can advise parents to respect the needs of their young babies and children only during daytime hours, as if night time hours somehow can be ignored because parents need sleep.

    Good luck to you now and always.

  9. April 12, 2017 / 6:22 pm

    We bedshare with both of our kids so this post is a breath of fresh air to me. My eldest is 5 and my youngest is 2. I totally agree, this time is fleeting and we won’t regret this extra time spent snuggling. You seem like an awesome mam – respect!

    • April 13, 2017 / 8:40 pm

      Oh thanks my lovely? And I love that you all pile in together, how wonderful. You sound fantastic too!xx

  10. June 16, 2017 / 7:55 pm

    Ah we are exactly the same, I have always had strong beliefs in a bedtime routine and apart from night feeds we had no night time/ sleep issues. Recently though the youngest has come in to us in the night wanting to sleep with me and I feel I can’t say no, she is the last so it will all end when she is a little older so why not treasure those cuddles, I think if she is initially going to her own bed and settling she is not reliant on me to go to sleep and I still get a couple of hours ‘mum’ time, who cares if she needs a cuddle in the night, don’t we all sometimes. Xx

    • June 17, 2017 / 9:09 am

      What a lovely comment! I agree, mine go to sleep independently and happily so if there’s a night issue and cuddles are needed I have no problem with it. She won’t be doing forever. Which also makes me sad!! Thanks for reading.

  11. August 15, 2017 / 4:22 am

    Co-sleeping is absolutely normal in our (Indian) culture, and I think it’s very healthy for a child to be close to their parents, not isolated away from them. You’re doing the right thing. I would still snuggle with my parents if I had the chance (I’m 28 and mom of 2) Keep it up mommy!

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