I received a beautiful wooden baby cot when I was pregnant. I would always imagine her peacefully sleeping in there. And for the first few weeks of my daughter’s new life, she did.
This was until the night we experienced our biggest chocking scare. See, my daughter had a very bad case of reflux. She started spitting up food through her mouth and her nose.
That night her struggle woke me out of my bed and I immediately jumped for her and started patting her back. She was fine. Luckily, we stayed in a one-bedroom apartment and her cot was right next to our bed.
I don’t want to imagine what would have happened if she wasn’t right next to us. I was a walking zombie at that time. So there was a chance that I was in a very deep sleep and that I may not have woken up when she began chocking.
Our second choking scare had us rush her to the ER. That fear saw the beginning of our co-sleeping relationship. Our daughter turns 2 in October, and according to her, she is not going anywhere.
I want to chat about some of the pros and cons of co-sleeping that we as a couple face and currently still experience.
It can be uncomfortable as all hell!
When I used to breastfeed, I would sleep with both my boobs out. She liked having the boobs in her mouth, sometimes even the whole night. This means that I would have to sleep in the same position the entire evening. At times, she would want to lie on my arm, and my arm would go numb. You know how we parents sacrifice our own sanity and comfort for the sake of our little ones? Yep. That was my life.
Now I sleep quite comfortably because we have weaned her off and can now face opposite directions. Dad is going through most of it at the moment. She constantly kicks him throughout the night. Apart of me feels very bad for him, and another part of me says “your turn”. Haha.
This means that the quality of your sleep is highly compromised when you share a bed with a child that does not sleep completely still.
She only sleeps when we do, and vice versa
We have always gone to bed together, so she got accustomed to sleeping when mommy is next to her. She, therefore, will never fall asleep if I am not beside her. There is an assumption that babies like this don’t sleep when they are with a babysitter, and mommy is not around. Contrary to popular belief, she sleeps earlier, and much better in our absence. She apparently even dozes off on her own when we aren’t around, which she never does with me.
Sex life, out the door
My partner and I struggled to keep the sparks flying for some time. This was because I would go and put her down, baby and I would pass out (I mean what exhausted mother doesn’t…right?). By the time he comes to bed, I am snoring like a curled up koala bear. This went on for a couple of months. My husband applied for a petition to evict the little one from our bed. It has been declined a couple of times because I know it is going to be quite an exercise.
So, every co-sleeping parent needs to get creative around how to try and still be romantic with their partner, while sharing a bed with their child.
I have already spoken about how easy breastfeeding was because we were sharing a bed. If she was in her own room, I would have to zombie walk to her room and feed. So I absolutely loved the convenience of not having to completely wake up for a feed. Even in the dark, our little ones know where the boob is. She would grab my breasts and shove them in her mouth like it was nothing. Oh, how I don’t miss those days.
Parents can also attend to distress much quicker. Children cry a lot in the first few months of their lives. They cry even more when they are not being attended. Having the child closer to you ensures that you can comfort the baby faster than having to run downstairs or into another room.
As much as I am now working from home, I don’t feel like I spend enough time with my daughter. Nighttime makes up for that. Plus, my daughter absolutely loves cuddling. She literally pulls my hand and puts it around her. It’s an awesome way to bond with your child, especially if you don’t get the opportunity to do so throughout the day.
Safety and comfort
Before birth, children are snuggled safely in a mother’s womb. So the closeness of their mother makes them feel comfortable and safe, like how they felt before being born.
Sleeping in the same position is excruciating, so I would swap sides, which meant she would sleep on the edge of the bed. Before you know it, she has fallen off the bed because she rolls. We have had numerous instances where she has fallen off the bed. Sometimes, she fell when she was alone, and dad and I are in the other room trying to have a relationship without her. We would get startled by a large thumping sound. I have no idea how she rolled from the middle of the bed to the floor. It happens though, and it is scary. The first time I felt like the worst parent ever.
The question is: do I regret co-sleeping?
The answer is definitely not. We struggled to get used to it at first, but slowly we adjusted. I still can’t wait until she moves to her own room, but I am enjoying the cuddles while they last. Our children grow up really quickly. Next thing she will be calling me weird for trying to hold her hand in public. So I will enjoy this phase for as long as I can.
Avoid sharing the bed if:
- If you are a heavy sleeper
- If you have been drinking alcohol
- If you take strong medication that makes you sleepy
Karabo Motsiri is a first-time mom, over-sharer, lover of life, chronic napper and married to her best friend. She loves a good party because the dance floor is her happy place. She enjoys good food, good conversations, laughs a little too hard, and cries during every episode of Grey’s Anatomy. She started her blogging journey because she wanted to share all the ups and downs of being a young modern mama in South Africa. Her blog Black Mom Chronicles has been featured on Ayana Magazine & SA Mom Blog. She has enjoyed airtime on Power FM and frequently writes for the parenting section of Saturday Citizen. She also works with MamaMagic on their Product Awards, Milestones Magazine, Heart to Heart blog, and the Baby Expo, which is South Africa’s biggest parenting expo.