Thoughts on co-sleeping.

Thoughts on co-sleeping via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Thoughts on co-sleeping via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I’ve seen a few bits and pieces in the news lately about co-sleeping and it has really bugged me, especially this one about a woman who was arrested for ‘overlaying’ and causing a death to her newborn Grandson. The ‘scandalous’ article gives you very little details but insists we all need to know how terribly dangerous this co-sleeping business is. Well, I call bullshit.

We are what you would call ‘unintentional co sleepers’. I didn’t plan to co-sleep, I never did it with the boys however I do with Edie. Why? Because I will take sleep in any form I can get thank you very much! Edith is a little clinger – read my post about how much of a velcro baby she is here if you like – and as such it makes it insanely hard to put her down for a nap, to bed, anything. Just putting her down in the evening is something that takes the skill of a ninjago samurai, and I’m not exaggerating. She will usually go into her own bed at about 6.30pm until about 9-10pm… ok 8pm… 7.45pm… well, our patterns are very up and down but she will spend SOME time in her own bed at the beginning of the night. Some. When she wakes up for a feed I usually try to feed her in the rocking chair in her bedroom, if that isn’t working I will take her into our bedroom and feed her to sleep in our bed. If by some miracle she stays asleep between 6.30pm and my bedtime of 11.30/12am then I will go to bed without her and bring her into our bed when she wakes up.

I do it for a few reasons, but the main one is that I firmly and unequivocally believe that a happy mummy makes for a happy baby. I am happy when I sleep. I am desperately unhappy when I don’t – my family would call me a total bitch but I prefer to think of myself as an aggressive protestor of sleep deprivation. Do you see what I’m getting at?

There are some rules when it comes to co-sleeping and I’ll be honest, we ignore most of them. I do sleep with pillows, but they are kept away from Edith, who sleeps on an angle, usually part way into ager snuzpod. She sleeps under the duvet with me, but only her feet or if it is cold. The general advice for co-sleeping is no pillows, no duvet and certainly no medication, alcohol, recreational drugs or over tiredness. The last one is bull because if you can show me a parent that isn’t overtired I’ll give you a cookie (not really… maybe a virtual one?) but the rest of the points are just common sense.

Co-sleeping is not the devil, it doesn’t kill more babies than sleeping in a cot. It grasps the attention of the media more than SIDs because there is nothing more horrific than a baby dying at the hands of a parent, and quite frankly, it sells papers and generates clicks. We need to stop being so aggressive about it all – sleep how you choose to sleep and leave others alone. I read one comment from one woman on a co-sleeping debate that stated ‘I don’t care about other countries, it’s not safe!!’ but the truth is our lifestyle and the way we sleep is what makes it less safe than say in Japan where it is the norm and their infant death rates are super low. Did you know co-sleepers have actually got a lower risk of SIDs than those sleeping in a cot – provided it is done safely? Get educated and learn your statistics before you make sweeping statements about how dangerous it is. It isn’t.

Lastly, one of the less important (to me anyway, Adam might disagree…) arguments against co-sleeping is that it ruins your sex life. My only answer to that is that if your sex life consists exclusively around a bed, it’s already ruined… but high five to you for being energised enough to care!

What are your thoughts on co-sleeping? Do you do it?

Harriet xx


  1. Avatar December 14, 2015 / 12:45 pm

    We’re unintentional co-sleepers too and God knows how much I agree with every single word you said.
    My little Samuel too starts sleeping in his cot and ends up in bed with us at some point during the night.
    At first, I would stay up during night feeds just to put him down in his cot after 30-40 minutes. Now, after five months, I just know it’s better for me to fall asleep right after I picked him up.
    I suffer a lot from sleep deprivation too. It gives me horrible thoughts, I cry for everything, I pick silly fights. It’s not for me.
    In my world, sleep = happiness. And, yes, if co-sleeping makes me happier, I’ll do it for the next 5 years.

    Also, my baby is a little koala. He loves being held, so I practise a lot of high contact time. It wasn’t intentional but, again, at the end of the day it’s the baby deciding.
    Instead, we should talk about the damages of letting babies cry for hours to teach them to sleep in their cots!

    • Harriet December 14, 2015 / 2:59 pm

      Thanks for the lovely comment Beatrice, you sound just like me! Sleep is my friend, deprivation is my foe.

      I totally agree, the only time Edie cries in her cot is if I have reached my wits end and i need a few minutes away from her to calm myself… there are only so many times you can have your nipple bitten by a teething tot before you have to walk away. H x

  2. Avatar
    December 10, 2015 / 2:57 pm

    Well said, I totally agree. My eldest child clearly preferred her own space – and plenty of it! – from the get-go, but my youngest was a velcro baby. I didn’t intend to co-sleep either, but there came a point when sleep under any circumstances became a survival necessity. So I took to sleeping with the duvet over my legs only, wearing a dressing gown to keep me warm, on my side with my legs bent up to prevent Little Guy from migrating anywhere. He developed his own preferred position, pressing his back against my tummy with his head nestled under my chin. It was only as he got bigger that I got entirely comfortable with this arrangement, and persuading a velcro toddler to sleep in his own bed was a challenge in its own right.

    • Harriet December 10, 2015 / 3:58 pm

      That sounds similar to how E sleeps – though she is usually face to face so she can get to the boobie bar haha! She’s going to be a bugger to get into her own bed full time I think, but as long as she is safe and happy, we’ll deal with it! x

  3. Avatar December 10, 2015 / 8:48 am

    I could not agree with you more! After battling with the cot for months my daughter co-slept until she was at least 10 months (I forget exactly), she wanted to snuggle right and in and complained bitterly if she wasn’t toasty. She often slept under the duvet and yes, I had a pillow but just angled it away from her. She wanted to feed a lot through the night and this allowed me to get the most amount of sleep and therefore function as a half decent human.

    With baby 2, we tried the cot but initially it didn’t work. Well… It didn’t work for sleep. I didn’t even bother persevering and low and behold – we slept. But actually, he’s now 4 months and sleeping in his cot that is carriaged with my bed. He’s only an arm away but in his space. I guess he’s just different from Katie but then heir naps are different. Katie always wanted to be in her buggy whereas Thomas is falling for nothing but the sling or a walk about on his Dad’s shoulder!

    Definitely a good thing to write about. I remember worrying about it with my first and talking to a friend about my fears. She’s Nepalese and couldn’t understand why I was worrying at all. Think she was bemused that people were freaking out about these things.

    Someone once asked me if I was fearful that my child wouldn’t learn to walk if I carried her in a sling all the time. When you look at different cultures you really see the bull in this one!

    • Harriet December 10, 2015 / 11:01 am

      Thanks for the great comment Laura – that is a really valid point, I think that each child is different and we have to do exactly what we (as parents) feel is right for them. I know for a fact I could cope if I had to be up all night with Edith and actually awake.She will help herself to feed during the night and though I am aware of her movements and most sounds wake up up, it’s better than having to haul ass into her room every 2 hours (which is still how she feeds). I also agree other cultures do open your eyes to the truth of a topic – maybe we need to reassess how we do other things than just assuming the issue is co-sleeping/bed sharing.

  4. Avatar December 10, 2015 / 8:33 am

    This is a bit like the breastfeeding/bottlefeeding or working/SAHM debate – we shouldn’t care so much about the decisions of others, yet we obviously do in some ways.
    This is a lovely, positive Post and really, who hasn’t fallen asleep in bed with their baby out of sheer exhaustion.
    The only thing I would add though is that, as with almost everything in life, there is a risk. Unfortunately I do know someone who fell asleep with her 4 week old baby and he died. There was evidence he had been smothered.
    My own son had been stillborn 3 weeks previously and I was so jealous she had her baby, and then he died too – very bad things happen all the time. Unfortunately that is a sad part of living. However, when I was eventually blessed to have my daughters, except for times of total exhaustion when we all literally passed out, I never knowingly co slept. To me (and this is just my opinion!) it wasn’t worth the risk. I think your behaviour changes when you know the real people behind the headlines.
    I should add I know lots of people who have happily and safely Co slept but it must be remembered that the exceptions are real – these stories belong to ordinary people who did no different from anyone else.
    Claire X

    • Harriet December 10, 2015 / 11:04 am

      Thank you for such a lovely comment Claire and putting your point across. I am so sorry for your traumatic experience and terrible loss – I can’t begin to imagine. I do understand entirely where you are coming from, and I think had I had your experiences I may feel differently about my choices. I wholeheartedly agree with you, what works for one family doesn’t work for another. I don’t want to ‘promote’ co-sleeping, rather that I wish we could just respect each others choices more without slamming each other – again like the breast is best topic. I say, informed is best, happy is best and that will depend entirely on mummy and baby as individuals. xx

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