Lucas was on full cuteness mode last night. Between 12 and 2am he was wide awake but not grumpy and tired with it. He was snuggly, smily and chatty. His teeth are really bothering him at the moment and when they do, he either cries uncontrollably, latches on to feed and doesn’t let go for the rest of the night or he lies awake looking around, prodding me awake occasionally. Last night he snuggled into me and started chatting, his eyes so full of love and contentment. He spent about 2 hours snuggling, chatting, rolling around with a giggle. If I could have bottled those moments of all 3 of us lying there whilst Lucas chatted away, giggling and gently touching both of our faces, I would and I would treasure it forever.
This made me think about the benefits of co-sleeping for us, I know there are so many reasons against co-sleeping, the biggest being safety but for us, it has worked and was the only way to get Lucas to sleep in the first weeks of being home. We ensure it is a safe environment, we have a king size bed, Lucas is on the side against the wall so he can’t fall out, he doesn’t share bed covers, he wears a sleeping bag with the suitable tog rating for the temperature. We don’t drink alcohol, smoke or take medication.
- Strong bond, Lucas falls to sleep next to me and wakes next to me. He isn’t in a room on his own, he knows I am there if he needs me.
- Less interrupted sleep, I don’t need to leave the room to check on him, feed him or comfort him. He gets my attention for a feed so I shuffle over to him to feed, meaning he doesn’t need to cry or shout to make sure he’s heard and neither of us need to fully wake and fall back to sleep more easily. If he wants comfort, he rolls over to me for a snuggle.
- Ease of breastfeeding, as above, Lucas is 17 months and I am still feeding throughout the night.
- Long term emotional health and reduced risk of SIDS, Harvard psychiatrist Michael Commons has discovered that babies who sleep alone are at increased risk for SIDS and stress disorders. Co-sleeping babies sleep in physiological harmony with their mothers. The proximity of the mother and infant actually regulates the infant’s breathing, sleep state, arousal patterns, heart rates and body temperature. Babies who are left to cry alone experience elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes damage to the developing brain. “It makes you more prone to the effects of stress, more prone to illness, including mental illness and makes it harder to recover from illness,” explains Commons.