Motherhood

Co-sleeping: *How* do you do it?

We have just returned home early from a fairly disastrous holiday (more on that to follow). One of the main disaster factors was that Busby refused to sleep in her travel cot, and continuously woke up during the night. We foolishly forgot Ewan the Dream Sheep. (Stupid, stupid parents.) And the recommended app was not quite a magical dream sheep… On the last night I decided that co-sleeping was the answer: there are only so many 5am walks around Southwold Common one parent can do with a baby to get her to sleep (Kudos, Nick). I sent Nick to sleep, in what had been Busby’s room, on the bunk-beds (he chose the bottom bunk?!), and Busby and I shared the spacious double bed. 

Busby and I had partaken in some co-sleeping in the first few weeks of her being on the planet, as she enjoyed snoozing on me, and I loved having my baby so close… However, she’s now almost five months old, and has been sleeping in her own cot for about a month. Here is how it played out:

21:30 Busby screaming in travel cot again. She falls asleep in Nick’s arms and then wakes up as soon as her head touches the not so soft mattress. There’s got to be another way. Ah-ha! The bed!

22:00 I move Busby into our bedroom and sing to her whilst stroking her tummy. 

22:15 Busby asleep.

22:30 Busby is still asleep, but she’s asleep on top of the duvet. Not only is she on top of the duvet, she’s in the middle of the bed. I’m coming to bed… Debating moving her, but decide to slide in next to her instead. 

22:45 I’m watching her sleep. I should probably get to sleep. What if I pull the duvet in the middle of the night and she rolls off the bed? Cue images of Busby falling off the bed like a cuddly toy… *shudder* I should probably move her. Yes I’ll move her. How do I move her? The bed is super creaky. No I’ll leave her. No I’ll move her. Leave. Move. I really should move her. 

22:53 *Creak, creak* She’s still asleep. Duvet is now clear from underneath her, but what do I do with the duvet now? She’s wearing her sleeping bag so the duvet can’t go anywhere near her, otherwise she’ll overheat. 

23:00 I decide to move half the duvet onto the floor and tuck the rest around me. What if I pull the duvet up off the floor in my sleep and throw it over her? I am a duvet hog. No. That won’t happen: I’m her Mother. I wouldn’t do something like that, even in my sleep. But what if I did? Go to sleep, Hannah. Oh no, what if I roll onto her??

00:03 I wake up sweating. She’s still breathing. She doesn’t have a duvet over her. Phew. 

01:07 Baby movement. Please don’t wake up. Please don’t wake up. Snuffle. Cry in sleep. Back to sleep. 

01:35 I wake up sweating. I’m obviously using all my might in my sleep not to roll over onto her. Still free of duvet. 

02:06 Ouch! Baby arm to my face. I wasn’t expecting that! 

03:21 I’m sweating again. Yuck. Oh, she looks so beautiful and peaceful. GO BACK TO SLEEP, HANNAH! 

03:56 Baby snuffle. Whimper. Back to sleep. 

04:13 Baby arm to the face again. Snuffle. Cry in sleep. Snuffle. Oh, the dawn chorus here is beautiful!

05:02 I’m sweating again. Baby movement. A wail. A small tummy rub and a kiss on the cheek and she’s back to sleep. I’m not. I really need to go to the toilet, but fear the creaky bed will wake her up. 

05:13 I wonder how many page views I got yesterday? Loading…loading…loading…loading… 

05:27 I’m still awake. Maybe I could creep out of bed? Let’s give it a go.

05:32 Back in bed! Success! Now I’m just going to rest my eyes… 

06:01 Snuffle. Baby movement. Big Busby smile. Oh good, we’re awake, just as Mummy was going back to sleep. 

I take my hat off to all of you ladies and gentlemen who co-sleep every night! I’m sure it gets much easier as you get into the swing of it, but I won’t be trying it again in a hurry. However, I must admit that the sleep deprivation the following day was completely worth it to see her first gummy smile of the morning… even if it was just after 6am! 
Hannah

22 Comments

  1. Vicky Charles

    19th May 2013 at 12:50 pm

    S and I have co-slept since she was about 6 weeks – because I was on my own with her and didn’t see the point in wasting precious minutes trying to settle her into her moses basket at 3am!
    I do still get the middle of the night wake-up with “omg where is the baby… WHERE is the baby…”before finding that she has crawled down to the bed to sleep across the bottom of it! We have a mattress on the floor and S is currently sleeping without a sleeping bag or blanket so I don’t worry too much if she gets under the duvet. One thing that doesn’t change, whether you’re used to co-sleeping or not, is the random face-punching. Now S is bigger, I also get her cracking heads with me in an attempt to share my pillow. The other day I woke to find she was on the floor at the head of the bed, head on my pillow and essentially asleep on her knees.
    woah long comment sorry. Love the blog though will be back soon!
    ps my blog:http://singlemotherahoy.blogspot.co.uk/

    1. Hannah

      19th May 2013 at 3:58 pm

      Haha! There’s no way I could do it every single night… but I suppose you get used to having them there after a while 🙂

      I’m now following via Bloglovin’ 🙂 Thanks for your comment! xx

  2. Victoriaaa

    19th May 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Rio climbs out of his bed now in the middle of night and I’ve started putting him between us..naughty mummy! He sleeps with his body over craigs face and his feet kicking me in mine !! Ooohh soo peaceful. He hates the covers so I’m always half way down the bed clinging on to it for dear life!

    1. Hannah

      19th May 2013 at 7:17 pm

      Oh dear! I’m not looking forward to Bea being able to climb out of her bed!! xx

  3. Karen

    19th May 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Sorry you had such a bad night but so well written I was really laughing.

    I co-slept with all 5 of mine as I don’t appear to breed lone sleepers, and the duvet lived in a cupboard for years – I just used the cover and blankets. It gets a lot easier with practice – but basically I was always too lazy to get up for feeds, so much easier not to move.

    1. Hannah

      19th May 2013 at 7:22 pm

      Thank you 🙂

      I get so cold at night – I don’t think I could cope without my duvet! xx

  4. Rachel

    19th May 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I’ve never done co-sleeping for this exact reason – I can’t stop worrying enough to actually sleep properly! Oh and Ivy wouldn’t stop pulling my hair, scratching my nose and patting my face long enough to sleep either!!

    Rach @ http://www.vicarswifeintraining.blogspot.com

    1. Hannah

      19th May 2013 at 7:24 pm

      Haha! Yes, I don’t think it will be repeated!

      Thank you for your comment – I’m now following on Bloglovin’ xx

  5. orangemush

    19th May 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Oh my god I love this post, made me properly laugh out loud.
    We have co-slept on occasion (generally when I am exhausted and the baba is still 100% up for it) and its pretty much the same as you’ve written…except I only half open my eye when I sense movement around 6am, realise shes awake and subtly roll over to avoide the enitcing gummy smiles and face grabbing hugs!

    1. Hannah

      19th May 2013 at 7:28 pm

      Haha! If we ever do it again (it’s inevitable that it probably *will* happen again) I’ll be sure to roll over and pretend I’m still asleep 😉

      Thank you for your lovely comment xx

  6. secretsofthesandpit

    19th May 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Wonderful post, exactly what I am experiencing at the moment! I’m sharing my old room at my parents’ house with my 7 month old baby and trying to finish an urgent translation job while I;m here (oh no, woops, I’m reading blogs instead!), so not feeling very motivated to settle her back to sleep in her cot when she wakes in the night. When the options are 1) crouching next to the cot with my hand on her tummy for an hour, creeping back into the creaking bed across the rustling mats on the floor and waking her in the process only to have to start all over again; or 2) sleeping in my bed with my hand on her tummy as she lies next to me, I keep thinking 2) will be by far the better options. What happens next is letter for letter exactly what you wrote, including being bashed in the head and being woken by the most amazingly lovely smile at 5.30am. This is def not becoming a habit when we go home, but just every now and again it is quite nice to snuggle up in bed with a warm baby – even if it is also very stressful and you don’t end up getting any sleep at all.
    xxJudith

    1. Hannah

      19th May 2013 at 7:54 pm

      Hi Judith – thank you for your lovely comment!

      Oh no – sounds nightmarish! Isn’t it funny how a hand on the belly sends them back to sleep – I wonder what it is about that?

      Good luck with the translation job – blog reading is great procrastination. I’m supposed to be writing a number of guest posts at the moment, but am being distracted by Bloglovin’ 😉 xx

  7. The Handmade Mum

    19th May 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Haha this made me giggle, it’s not quite as easy as they make out is it! I am always so uncomfortable when Sam has slept in our bed for a short while (only so many 5am feeds I can keep up with sat up in bed rather than lying down) because I sleep in a way I know I shouldn’t be able to roll/cover him with pillow or duvet etc…seriously don’t know how people do it every night, my back would be in agony! x

    1. Hannah

      19th May 2013 at 8:44 pm

      Thanks for your lovely comment Dani 🙂

      It’s not easy is it? Hats off to parents who do it every night – I can definitely see the benefits, as it was lovely to wake up next to her xx

  8. Coombe Mill

    19th May 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Little ones not sleeping well is a real dampener on holiday. I am afraid mine never sleep with me as I am such a fidget I need all the bed, except a little space for the Mr!

    1. Hannah

      19th May 2013 at 9:22 pm

      It wasn’t great! Especially when we’ve gotten used to sleeping through the night again. But hey-ho, we’re home now and she slept until almost 8am this morning 🙂

      Thank you for your comment xx

  9. My Two Mums

    20th May 2013 at 9:10 am

    This sounds like the first time we co-slept. It still causes me anxiety some nights. Nearly 10 months of co sleeping now and I don’t want him to move out of the bed lol.

    1. Hannah

      20th May 2013 at 9:30 am

      Oh bless! It will be such a shock when he first sleeps in his own bed 🙂 xx

  10. Pinkoddy

    22nd May 2013 at 11:23 pm

    We co-slept from birth – in fact we have the problem of moving into their own beds more lol. But the youngest is 4 now and we have the bed all to ourselves again.

    1. Hannah

      23rd May 2013 at 9:45 am

      I’m glad you’ve got your bed back! 🙂 xx

    1. Hannah

      24th May 2013 at 9:40 am

      Hi Rebecca, Thanks for your comment 🙂 I’ve had a look at your post – C is gorgeous 🙂 xx

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