This week is Safer Sleep Awareness Week and the Lullaby Trust are focusing on Co-Sleeping.
“Co-sleeping is still very popular but hazardous co-sleeping is a key risk factor for SIDS. There is fierce debate on this issue but many parents lack information on how to co-sleep more safely and the potential risks of co-sleeping under certain circumstances” (Lullaby Trust, 2019)
When LJ was born we bought a bedside cot, the type you attach to the side of your bed. I had done some research and to me, this seemed like the safest way for her to sleep. Although I had heard about co-sleeping, I hadn’t considered it as an option, I thought that it was dangerous and a ‘bad habit’ to get into.
The first night after LJ was born, we were still in hospital and she wouldn’t sleep unless I was holding her. Every time I tried to put her in the hospital cot she began to cry. I was exhausted and desperately needed sleep but I knew it was dangerous to fall asleep holding her.
A midwife popped her head around the curtain and seeing my desperation suggested I co-sleep with her. She put the side guards up on my bed and lay LJ on the bed next to me. The midwife checked on me every hour and made sure LJ didn’t get too hot. I could have kissed her. LJ slept contently for a few precious hours and so did I. Sleeping next to her felt right, it felt beautiful. I felt connected to her.
Once we were at home, I think I practically tried to climb into the bedside cot with her, it felt natural for her to be snuggled up close to me. She seemed calmer when my hand was on her and more content being closer to me.
When she was 5 weeks old we were having a particularly tough night, she just wouldn’t sleep. It was one of those nights where you feel like you’re going to break, I had tried everything. I could feel the tears pricking my eyes when she finally fell asleep in my arms. I didn’t want to risk waking her by moving her into her cot so instead I lay her in the bed next to me. I think I slept for a few hours and then spent the rest of the night worrying that I was an awful mother, putting my baby at risk.
After some reassurance from my family that co-sleeping wasn’t dangerous, I began to look into how I could co-sleep with her safely. I followed the advice on the Lullaby Trust website and this led to a lot more happy nights with more sleep. Not only was I physically closer to her but I also felt emotionally closer, which was vital for me at the time.
I combined cot sleeping with co-sleeping, depending on what kind of night we were having. If she was ill or if she was feeding a lot I would move her into bed with me. In the end, we did what was best for us. The information provided by the Lullaby Trust helped me to make an informed decision.
Co-sleeping, done correctly, is not dangerous and definitely not a ‘bad habit’ to get into. It can be beautiful.
If you are thinking about co-sleeping, or already do, check out this great video from the Lullaby Trust.
If you would like more information and support please click the links below.
More information on safer sleeping: The lullaby Trust
Advice & support on your newborn baby: Your baby