When I was a baby, I slept on a cot, away from my parents. The same happened for two of my younger siblings. Back then, the awareness for baby-friendly breastfeeding was not yet common, so being mostly bottle fed meant there was no reason for my mum to co-sleep with me.
Fear vs need
Then I had my son. In his case, I chose to breastfeed him exclusively for six months. I tried to put him in a cot for the first few months of his life. As a young mother, I was conscious of the risks that came with it. To mitigate some of the perceived dangers such as ‘cot death’, I made the cot plain – keeping out pillows and stuffed animals.
Sadly, it did not work for either my baby or me. Between my son’s large appetite and my then light sleeping habits, I became somewhat of a wreck from having to wake up too frequently.
I was at a loss for how to navigate the issue. I did not want my baby falling out of my bed, and I certainly didn’t want to roll over and smother him to death. Considering that I was once a deep sleeper before my son’s birth, my fears were not unfounded.
So, it was only after a lot of consideration that I decided to try co-sleeping with him. Suffice to say, it was such a success that I’m now struggling to kick my son out of my bed two and a half years later. Lol.
The immediate benefits were that: I slept relatively better and responded to my son’s cries faster. Thankfully, I also did not smother my son in the process. To make sure he wasn’t falling out of the bed, I wedged him in with a pillow.
Healthy mum, healthy baby
I hear some mums say they want the bed/room to themselves. Others worry about intimacy with their partners. To the second, I’ll say there are ways around the intimacy issues, but that is a post for another day.
If on the other hand, you simply want the bed to yourself, then co-sleeping with your baby may not be necessary, especially if you are a light sleeper and can hear when s(he) cries.
At the end of the day, the decision to co-sleep or not to co-sleep really depends on you and your child. Both options have their pros and cons. It’s up to you to decide what’s most important. After all is said and done, being a healthy mother and having a healthy child are the ultimate goals.