Words and Picture from Millie @raisingherbarefoot
This photo here shows you one of the many reasons I absolutely adore co sleeping. It’s hard bringing a child up in a world where co sleeping in frowned upon. The sigh I’m hit with when I proudly say “she’s still in with us”. From the minute Indie was born, I have experienced precious moments like this every night. I’ve been lectured many times by anti co sleepers about the danger I’m putting my child in and I’m a terrible parent for not wanting to change our sleeping arrangement.
We upsized to a king bed right before Indie was born instead of purchasing a cot. I grew up unaware that it was even a thing to sleep in the same bed as your child, so when I met my partner Josh who comes from a co sleeping family, I was desperate to give this 24/7 slumber party a crack. I think there isn’t enough coverage on the actual reality of sharing a bed with your child. I see all too often, stories with headlines “another baby dies while cosleeping”, which brings tears to my eyes because it shouldn’t have ended that way. Bedsharing can be made either safe or unsafe and there is a very very slim line in between.
When done safely, the effects on the mother-infant bond and wellbeing are remarkable as well as lowering the SIDS rate by one half!! In countries such as Japan, cosleeping is considered the norm. Which makes sense as it is biologically appropriate, unlike placing an infant in a room to sleep by themselves. The way I explain it to people is that co sleeping has been bred into our DNA, from thousands of years ago. Cavemen and women cuddled their babies to increase survival rates. This insured the child was kept warm, protected from predators, and easily fed when hungry. The human race would have died out if mothers placed their children in a cave next door and left them to cry, which is sadly the new normal in today’s society.
The most asked question I get about co sleeping is definitely “so where do you have sex?!”. “Well! Who says you and your husband are restricted to a bed?” I reply. Co sleeping introduced my partner and I to a whole new world of exciting sex. Getting to set up the baby monitor and creep out of our room quietly is such an intoxicating feeling. It’s helped us to be far more creative than your standard missionary bed sex. We’ve done it everywhere. In the kitchen, in the shower, on the couch, on a dining chair, on the bedroom floor, on the edge of the bed, in the spare room, in the laundry.....you name it, we’ve most likely made love there!
Of course there’s been times that co sleeping has gotten in the way of our sex life and been a bit of a 'cock blocker', but I just think, if my daughter needs me to settle her a little longer right now than that’s far more important than my personal pleasure. This is where the other popular question comes in “does co sleeping get in the way of your relationship?”. Hmmmm. Yes and no. Believe me, there’s been a few times I’ve thought “oh screw this! I wanna be like those mums that put there babies down in their cots at 6pm, no issues, and don’t see them again till 8am!!!”.
There’s also been times I’ve thought “I just want to cuddle my partner without a baby hanging off my boob!”. The best advice I’ve ever been given is “always out your partner first.... because if your relationship breaks down and your family falls apart then your child will be effected the most not having both parents around”. I have felt guilt, anger, and frustration many many times, and that’s ok. My partner has felt neglected at times too, which is also ok.
We have learnt to not make plans because someone will always be left disappointed. I’ve lost count of the nights that I’ve turned my partner down when he’s hinted sex. I’ve also lost count of the times that I’ve promised him sex and then cancelled last minute because I’d rather snuggle up to my daughter. That takes a toll on our relationship for sure, it would on anyone’s.
But...you work through it, take each day by day, night by night. It has gotten a lot easier over time and I know it will continue to get easier. Struggles aside, my relationship is thriving with both my daughter and my husband. We all get a better quality sleep and I feel safe knowing I am right at Indies side if she needs me throughout the night. Our bond is bound together so tight it could almost squeeze in bed with us!