Why We Still Co-Sleep With Our Four Year Old
People are often surprised when I mention that our four-year-old still sleeps in the same bed as myself and my husband. I don’t tend to mention it much though. I suppose I’m not looking for approval these days and when something feels normal to you there really is no need to highlight it. It’s just your normal, isn’t it?
However, on the rare occasion that it does pop up in conversation, I am usually met with a look of shock. It’s quite hard for some people to imagine how and why that might work for us. I might be eye-rolling about football taking over the TV when I want to watch Love Island. A friend will suggest watching it in the bedroom and I’ll mention that I can’t because our son would be asleep in there at that time. The same goes for late night showers (unless I’ve left out my clothes in the living room and can avoid using the hair-dryer which wakes him up).
I’ll start by saying we were always co-sleepers. It made sense for us when he was born. He didn’t like the Moses basket and I didn’t like having to get out of bed twenty times a night. He was happy in the bed with us and we all got better sleep so that just made sense to us. A decision of clarity in the newborn fog of confusion and change. It worked. I was also breastfeeding and many people will attest to the fact that co-sleeping while breastfeeding is really helpful. We found comfortable (and safe) ways of feeding while lying down and night time feeds were not a big ordeal with lights on and pacing around the house or room. We fed, we changed and we slept.
As time went on co-sleeping was always something we gravitated towards. It was just the three of us and despite having bouts of time where the cot was frequented for a couple of hours at the beginning of the night, he always ended up nestled in between us getting his best sleep. As a parent, you will naturally be attracted to the option that involves the most sleep for everyone.
By the time toddler-hood was upon us we chanced a toddler bed. The novelty factor worked to an extent but he would always toddle back into our bed and we were fine with that. By the time he was two and a bit we had just stopped breastfeeding and I’ll admit to enjoying having him close by despite the fact that our special feeding relationship had come to an end. Again it was just easy. We would still get our couple of hours of adult time in the evening because we had mastered the skill of laying beside him until he nodded off and then creeping out of the room. He truly slept great when he was in our bed and everyone was pretty happy.
And then came a big decision. When he was two and a half we had to move house. We were given the opportunity to rent a small granny flat which would be a once off chance to save for a deposit to own a house. However, there was just one bedroom and just one bed. We had been co-sleeping up till now so that was no big deal but there was something a lot more intense about making that decision for a year and a half to two years. Co-sleeping because it makes sense is one thing but actually not having another option for such a long period of time was a bit daunting.
In the end, we jumped at the opportunity as in the current rental market we just wouldn’t get an opportunity like this again to save. So here we are eighteen months into co-sleeping in the granny flat. In truth, he’s only getting bigger and the bed is only getting smaller but we make it work. One day soon we will hopefully have our own house and little man will have his very own bedroom. It will be a big transition but genuinely not one that phases me too much. Co-sleeping is something I will never regret. In fact, I have so many things to thank it for.
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.loveofliving.ie.