Saturday, 15 September 2018

Ashamed to Admit I Bedshare

This post has been languishing in my drafts for months now; it's been one of the most nerve wracking posts that I have published as I know full well a lot of people's views do not reflect my own. Heck, if I had read this post three years ago, I too would have judged about how "irresponsible" it was.

This post is about my experience with bed sharing, not co-sleeping, which is what every parent is actually recommended to do for the first six months of a babies life.
So, what is the difference between co-sleeping and bed sharing? Co-sleeping is the practice in which babies and young children sleep close to one or both parents, rather than in a separate room. Parents are encouraged to co-sleep with their newborns up until the age of six months of which it is then deemed acceptable for them to have a room of their own.
Bed sharing is the practice of falling asleep on the same surface as your baby; it is often confused with co-sleeping.
When my eldest was a few days old, I remember suddenly jerking awake in the early hours of the morning and realised I had fallen asleep feeding her. Thankfully she was still in my arms and completely sound asleep, content and snoring away. That moment put me into panic mode and I vowed never to let it happen again. Over the course of the next six months, she never slept in my bed with me. We had a routine established very early on and she would self settle in her bedside crib every evening and happily sleep for hours.
When she got a little older, there were occasions where she did join me in bed; this was mainly when she was poorly. In these instances, I would wait until she fell into a deep sleep and gently move her back into her own room.
Bed sharing was never an option for me and I will openly hold my hands up and admit that yes, I did judge parents who participated in it. I thought it was reckless, irresponsible and many other things.
Fast forward to Summer 2017 when Florrie arrived. I genuinely believed that getting her into a routine would work just as well as it had done with Aoife, but I seemed to forget the part that I would have to deal with a toddler who hated her little sister too.
With my husband working away in the week, there was no time for day time naps whilst Florrie slept as I had Aoife to look after too. Due to a screaming toddler, Florrie rarely napped in the day and only did when she was on top of me; once she was removed all hell would break loose. Eventually I invested in a wrap which made the day times somewhat bearable.
Night times were an issue from the start - she just did not want to sleep unless she was touching me. This proved difficult in trying to have her sleeping in her own crib at the side of the bed. We tried a Sleepy Head on top of the duvet and have her holding my hand, but this didn't last long at all.
After a week, I gave in to bed sharing. After extensive research on how to safely bed share, I threw all of my previous judgment out of the window and didn't look back.
It took me a long time to admit to people that I was bed sharing, purely because I know what my thoughts were on it a few years prior. However, for me it became a survival method - with my husband working away it was up to me to ensure that I was well rested for the day ahead. The best way I could do this was by bed sharing.
Before we bed shared, Florrie would last about ten to fifteen minutes maximum before she woke screaming looking for me. Once we started bed sharing she was lasting a good few hours and would only wake for a feed.
Florrie is almost thirteen months now and I will admit that we are still eighty per cent bed sharing. She moved into her own room at around eight months old, but so far has only managed to last around four full nights in her own room. Most of the time she won't come into my bed until around 3am, however if she isn't well or if I need an early night, she will come in with me from the start of the night.
I know that a part of me does hold on to the bed sharing as she will be my last baby, and the fact that right now, it is the easiest option for me.
If bed sharing is something you are considering, please make sure that you research thoroughly for your little one's safety. I am in no way trained on this so do not want to be providing advice for this; everything can be found online.

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2 comments

  1. We've bed shared from day 1 with both boys :) I'm not ashamed, I love it and so do they! It won't be forever; my almost 4 year old rarely comes in any more sleeps through in his own bed and I'm not ashamed to say I miss him! I will be sad when my littlest leaves my bed for good!

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