Please don’t hurt me: The reluctant bed sharer

Parenting and life

I was never planning to, but I did co-sleep with my kids when they were small.

They were both reflux babies who screamed a lot and breastfed every 45 minutes for months on end, and the only way they’d go back to sleep and for me not to die of sleep deprivation was if I fed them lying down. If I so much as tried to pick them up they’d wake up and it would take hours of pacing back and forth – HOURS – before they’d succumb, and then it was 50/50 whether they’d transfer. No thanks.

I fully subscribed, and still am now, to the parenting philosophy handed down to me by my own mother; ‘do what you have to do to get by’. Both of my children therefore spent a lot of time in my bed in the early days.

Once they were successfully night weaned and, some months later, ‘sleeping through the night’ (or close enough) that was it.

They were shipped off to their own beds in their own bedroom, never to return again. Job done.

HA HA HA. Just kidding.

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Because that’s not exactly how it works is it?

Actually it pretty much was that way with child number one; she was good in the way that first children tend to be to trick us into being smug and thinking our parenting is good enough to withstand round two.

I can actually count on my fingers the number of times that she has been in our bed since the baby days.

She tends only to venture out of her own bed when she’s been sick and I can’t be bothered to remake her bunk bed in the middle of the night, or when she needs me to be close at hand with a bucket. There’s the occasional nightmare and once in a while we have a sleepover just for the fun of it.

However in the main, when she’s not puking, she’s in her own bed.

Child number two has always been more difficult where sleeping is concerned.

He took ages to show any inclination for sleeping through the night, it was years before he was happy to self-settle and he’s always been a ridiculously early waker.

At three, he’s still fairly likely to wake in the night and demand to come into my bed, usually by lying in bed and shouting until someone goes in. Sometimes he just flat out refuses to go to sleep in his own room for any number of stupid reasons (‘I’m too tired in my bed’, ‘My covers are not nice in my room!’).

My husband and I are weak, and we want to go downstairs and have dinner and watch TV, so most of the time we give in and we let him go to sleep in our bed and then draw straws on who gets to share with him.

co-sleeping

I really wouldn’t mind so much but he’s not the world’s most agreeable bedfellow.

I’d probably be more open to bed sharing if there was more… sharing. If I didn’t then spend the whole night being kicked in the head and pounded in the spleen by a teeth-grinding sleep-flailing three year old who insists on sleeping at a right angle to me and can somehow taking up the entire king size bed despite being just over three foot tall.

Meanwhile I’m clinging to the edge like, well, a mother clinging to her sanity.

As the nice lady at Weight Watchers (or WW as it’s now called) said today, sleep is very important and if you sleep less than six hours a night then you’re at risk of all sorts of nasty things like, I don’t know, getting fat and heart attacks and stuff.

I was trying not to listen. It’s never good to dwell on one’s fate.

I’ll be honest, my biggest bedroom fantasy right now is a huge bed in a dark room, and being left the hell alone to sleep in it for 8 hours straight.

Or at least, not to wake up in pain and feeling more tired than I went to sleep.

Is that too much to ask?

I live life on the edge

Agree? Disagree? Never felt so much unbridled rage? Leave a comment!

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