The conversation was loosely about how she used to be so exhausted and how scared she was about falling asleep with her baby in her arms. I agreed that the concept was scary and swore I’d never pull my little one into bed with me, no matter how exhausted I was. I’d love to take a minute to laugh about that response because here I am 5 months into motherhood, swearing by co-sleeping.
It’s a controversial topic, and there are certainly lots of mixed views on it. All opinions aside I honestly think that co-sleeping is what has saved my sanity. But I want to take a minute to talk about the history behind why co-sleeping seems to come so naturally to us, despite some mums being incredibly afraid of it.
When we look back at the animal kingdom we see so many different types of infants (I’m going to use my own terminology here so bare with me). We’ve got the Babies that are born and immediately fend for themselves, think of animals like sharks; I’ll call these independent infants. They get out and they go, go, go. These mothers obviously don’t breastfeed.
Then we’ve got the bubs that are born and immediately walk, and follow their mother, animals like elephants and giraffes. Their natural instinct is to follow and suckle. These ones I’ll call follow infants (I know super creative).
Of course we’ve got the animals who burrow and hide their infants, these animals only return to their burrows once or twice a day so therefore their milk would be more filling as they feed less regularly. I’m not sure what to call these ones, but I’m at a point now where I kind of have to give them a name so burrow babies work I guess.
And then, there’s the babies that are born completely dependent on being carried. I’ll call them latch infants because they’re literally hanging on for life as they can’t walk at all or fend for themselves on their own. Animals like monkeys, chimps and you guessed it, humans. It is these babies natural instinct to be close to their mothers, they feed more regularly and sometimes for shorter amounts of time, mostly because they’re always attached to mum and able to get their milk as they please.
In the animal kingdom it is completely normal for latch infants to sleep on or with their parents/family. It’s in their instinct. And human babies are born with the exact same instinct. Just as a mother has the instinct not to crush or smother her baby in her sleep, provided she is not intoxicated, under the influence of drugs etc.
Of course there are further guidelines to co-sleeping to ensure that Bub is safe regardless of instinct. You can find them here; https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/breastfeeding-co-sleeping-and-sudden-unexpected-deaths-infancy please don’t overlook these guidelines as they really are important to making co-sleeping the safe and beautiful practice it is.
But to me, provided these guidelines are followed I feel completely at ease, actually I sleep even better when Violet is lying in my arms. When she wakes up, she finds the nipple herself, I might wake briefly to assist her, but this is almost second nature to me, to the point where I hardly remember doing it.
When we don’t co-sleep, she fully wakes, crying, and takes longer to settle and I even find she often has more wind after feeding because of it. When we don’t co-sleep, Violet wakes anywhere up to 7 times between midnight and 6am. 7 TIMES. And yes, sleep deprivation is part of being a parent, but when this is occurring every night for weeks on end, it is virtually impossible to be a normal functioning human being, let alone a mother.
So we do it, we co-sleep, not all night long but mostly between midnight and 6am, there are times when we sleep beside one another. And it’s honestly been the best thing I’ve done for us.
And unlike most people say about co-sleeping’ effects on a babies ability to sleep on their own;
She still self settles
She still is able to sleep in her cot by herself
She isn’t dependent on being held 24 hrs a day
She doesn’t need to be rocked to sleep
In fact, she sleeps better now, on her own, during the times of night that she is in her cot, then she ever did when I was getting up to feed her and putting her back down every hour or so.
And no, it doesn’t impact my relationship with my partner, it actually makes him feel closer to us both
PLUS I’m getting about 5 extra hours of sleep then I ever got in the beginning.
Co-sleeping works differently for everyone. Not everyone can do it, and I’m never going to be one to judge people for doing something/not doing something. But I say if you’re struggling to sleep at night because your baby is dependent on you during certain hours of the night, like Violet between midnight and 6am. You should never feel guilty for co-sleeping, because it’s natural and instinctual, and most importantly it works for you.
Thank you to everyone for your continuous love and support, it means the most to me, I love writing and for now it is my fondest hobby to capture my thoughts in time of this journey motherhood has taken me on. I’ve always known I was passionate about it, but having Violet has truly made me realise just how much I love it. All of my followers, friends and family help make this dream of having my thoughts heard come true every single day.
Love Emily @ Loving Little One