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  • Maia Dunphy

The M Word: Co-Sleeping (AKA another rod for for your back).

Updated: Nov 20

I knew nothing about co-sleeping before I had a baby (frankly, it would have been weird as hell if I did). But countless people asked me what my plans vis a vis the baby’s sleeping arrangements were whilst I was pregnant. I’d stare at them blankly and mutter something about a Moses basket and then moving him to a cot as soon as it was not-cruel to do so. I was told about co-sleeping baskets, clever fold out and attach systems, and other contraptions I still can’t remember the name of.

Basically, I didn’t have a clue. I think it’s painfully obvious from my blog posts that I did very little research into this whole parenthood lark in advance of the arrival of an actual baby. But my reasoning was that nothing can prepare you for motherhood, so why prepare at all? (I now realise this was a terrible attitude and do in fact advocate some preparation).

But back to the co-sleeping. It started out of pure practicality. I was exhausted, our room is in a loft conversion, and the thought of traipsing up and down narrow stairs at 4am was not appealing. When people asked, that’s what I’d say.

“It’s for convenience”

“I make sure it’s safe”

“It’s much easier for feeding”

All the sensible, functional reasons. Now that my baby is 16 months, it probably would be better for him to be in his own room, and he occasionally is, but more often than not, he ends up back in the big bed. I used to try and justify it any which way I could until a woman said to me recently “but isn’t it lovely?”.

And suddenly all the justification and explaining ceased to matter. That was the truth of it. It was indeed lovely. No one had ever said that to me before, but snuggling up beside this tiny, sweet-smelling, squishy little bundle was really lovely. And inevitably won’t be forever.

So I forgot about the excuses, explanations and rationale and just enjoy it for what it is. I no longer feel the need to explain myself to anyone. I know that one day he won’t be so tiny anymore and he will have his own room in a different house altogether. Maybe even in a different country (feel slightly sick at the thought). Now I ignore all advice of how I’m making rods for my back and should be getting him into his own routine etc etc etc. If I am creating problems out of good intentions, then they’ll be mine to fix.

Well, until last night when he head-butted me at 3am so hard my nose bled. Co-sleeping hockey masks anyone?

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