We recently moved house and after four and a half years of co-sleeping, our little man was ready to sleep in a big boy bed all of his own.
We have just closed a very poignant chapter in our lives. We recently moved house and after four and a half years of co-sleeping, our little man was ready to sleep in a big boy bed all of his own.
I knew it would be bittersweet because it is all we have known for so many years, but I didn’t expect to feel quite so upset about it. I am somewhere between feeling unbelievably proud of our little boy for being so independent and enjoying his own space and feeling devastated that this chapter has closed.
For many people, co-sleeping with a four and a half-year-old
will seem bizarre. It’s been really lovely for us though. I won’t lie – it’s had its moments but you really do adjust to having a foot on your face and having someone sleep on your actual torso.
Co-sleeping is pretty much all we have known since we brought our son into the world. The really surprising thing is that it kind of happened by accident. An accident that would go on to become something that really changed the dynamic of our family. It made our experience richer in our case. We loved sharing a bed with our son and even though circumstances made the decision for us we enjoyed the closeness and the cuddles.
Co-sleeping was not something we planned to do. I was breastfeeding and we quickly learned that our son settled a lot easier when he was close to me. We also discovered that it was much easier to establish and enjoy breastfeeding when the baby was close by. It’s the very thing that made it so convenient. We always followed the safety guidelines when it came to co-sleeping and it was a really positive thing in our lives. It afforded us all decent sleep and I felt secure when my baby was close to me throughout the night.
As our son got older we adapted the sleeping arrangements as we needed to. We picked up a bed rail when he got mobile, used baby sleeping bags rather than our duvets and eventually set up a video camera and perfected the skill of sneaking out of the bed and room when he was in a proper sleep. It just worked.
As a toddler, he toyed with the idea of his own room often starting the night in his own bed but he would always retreat to our bed and we really didn’t mind. When he turned two we were given the opportunity to rent a small granny flat which would give us a chance to finally save for a mortgage deposit in the midst of sky-rocketing rental prices.
We accepted the offer knowing that it was a commitment for a couple of years that would benefit our future greatly. Cheap rent and an opportunity to save – it just doesn’t come around very often. The only “disadvantage” was the fact that there was just one bedroom and only room for one bed. We were essentially making the decision to co-sleep for another two years and if I’m completely honest we didn’t give it a second thought and grabbed it with both hands. The certain co-sleeping and lack of sleeping options didn’t strike us as an obstacle or even a big deal.
Co-sleeping hasn’t been perfect in some ways. During a gastric bug, the entire family bed has to be evacuated and dealt with. On warm nights you quite literally want to cry when you feel another warm body draped across you. Reading or relaxing in the bedroom is no longer an option and funnily enough, children grow so space gets smaller and smaller! But it was our normal for so many years.
A week into life without co-sleeping and I’m super proud, super happy for him and super sad to wave goodbye to a beautiful stage. I miss the cuddles during the night, his gentle breath and a chapter that made me the mother I am today.