WHY I DON'T CO-SLEEP
Co-sleeping is a topic I can most definitely talk and give my opinion or judgement on, because I've been there. I have been the Mum at 5am that just willed her baby to sleep for one more hour, so brought him into our bed and felt utter relief when he dropped off. But I've also been the Mum that experienced months down the line that her baby slowly but surely managed to get into her bed earlier and earlier every single night - and I don't want to be that Mum again. When Noah was a baby, though he wasn't a terrible sleeper, he wasn't exactly great either, we'd spend sometimes over an hour rocking him to sleep for him to wake minutes later and the cycle begin again, often our whole evenings were taken with getting him down. Even when we cracked that, thanks to bronchitis it all got disrupted and we had several wake ups every single night, it was tough and thankfully when he was around 9 or 10 months and moved into his own bedroom, things got better and we all felt that bit more human. Noah would often wake at 5 and I'd bring him in with us, till we all woke around 6:30, then before I knew it he was waking at 4, then 3, then 2, and before long he was spending most of our nights sleep in with us. People have a perception of co-sleeping as snugly, loving and peaceful but for me it was more uncomfortable, disruptive and worrying. I never slept properly as I always cradled him in my arms scared to let him free for the risk of a covers-over-head situation, which also meant I rarely slept with covers on me at all. Noah was no tiny boy, my arms through to my shoulder blades would ache, and even in a huge kingsize bed there just wasn't enough room for us all to be comfortable. So, swap that now for our mere double bed, there definitely isn't enough room for comfort and safety.
So, now it comes to Patrick. Aside from knowing that co-sleeping wasn't comfortable for us, I was more than aware that the risk of SIDS is hugely increased when you co-sleep, and only when I actually looked into it did I see that in fact the statistic is 5X as likely, that was enough to completely terrify me. Given that Patrick already had some check boxes next to things that increased his risk, such as the fact he was a boy and premature, I really didn't want to chance anything and add something else to the list. Of course there are so many ways to safely co-sleep but none of them reduce that risk of SIDS and I just truly couldn't cope if I'd chosen that route and the worst happened. I was so keen with Patrick to get him into a good sleep routine from the start, he slept through from five weeks and he's pretty good at self settling now, I didn't want to mess up so much hard work and perseverance by just chucking him in with us when we hit a rough patch, how could I expect him to suddenly go back to his own bed with ease and his old routine if I'd chosen to disturb it so drastically. I'm thankful I've pushed through our little bump in the road (again, not so little) and everything seems to be back how it once was, I know that although bringing him in to co-sleep might have fixed a short term problem it most definitely would have created a longer term issue, I speak from experience with Noah. Quite recently when discussing the issue with a friend, she explained to me that co-sleeping can increase a better bond, I had to giggle a little, nothing could strengthen my bond with my boys, I love Noah as much as I love Patrick and we've had two totally different sleeping situations with them, I think it would be crazy to insinuate that being closer to someone strengthens a bond. Wives have husbands who work in the military, no way would I think my bond with John is stronger as he is home every evening. I don't think love works like that. Though I do think I'm more likely to be more excited for the day with my baby if I'm not waking with aches, pains and dead arms every morning.
So there you have it, my reasoning and story why we don't co-sleep. A little disclaimer as you always have to be careful when discussing parenting techniques and what works for you, just because I don't feel comfortable co-sleeping, certainly doesn't mean I frown upon others doing it. I've been there, I've worn the t-shirt myself and I can only speak from my experience, I know so many who've managed to co-sleep well and had no issues and if it works for you that is great. But unfortunately, co-sleeping just doesn't work for us.