The Mama Diaries: Is Co-Sleeping Safe?!

As I write this, I’m feeling pretty smug. Because my eight week old baby slept a whole load last night – I only had to wake up once to feed her. The thing is though, that smugness is tinged with a very real feeling of foreboding because tonight could be completely different.

And, in fact, it probably will be completely different. It might be better (she slept through the night really early on) or it might be worse (on Monday night she woke up every hour to feed until 3am!) so there’s absolutely no point in second guessing it.

Co-Sleeping

Really early on I decided I wanted to co-sleep. What’s co-sleeping? In it’s purest sense it’s simply sharing the bed with your baby at night. If that sounds horrifying to you (what if I roll over and crush my baby?!) you’re not alone. There are plenty of people who think it’s a bad idea.

But for whatever reason, I knew — in the same way I knew I wanted a home birth — that I would co-sleep. It was just instinctual I guess. But similarly to my home birth plan, I did my research afterwards — mostly to feel armed with facts if and when I was asked to justify my choice.

I did my research after reading Holly Willoughby’s Truly Happy Baby book (no link, because I think it’s crap) and being left feeling upset, ashamed and scared. She regularly rejects co-sleeping for being too risky and says she’s never do it with her babies….which, I know, I shouldn’t worry about. After all, as my lovely friend Milou pointed out: why was I taking parenting advice from a former model and TV presenter?! Yep. Good point.

So why was I heeding Holly’s advice? Well, I mean…I didn’t heed it as such. Not for long anyway. I just felt judged. And frightened. SIDS (or cot death) is a real possibility, albeit a rare one. Rare or not, I felt I couldn’t roll the dice on my precious little baby.

But I loved co-sleeping with Anaïs so much. I loved snuggling up with her at night, being woken to feed in the gentlest of ways (and getting to lie down while doing it) and waking up to a cute, smiling baby is THE BEST.

So I asked my tribe on Instagram, and started doing some serious research. In that research I found it was totally safe as long as you followed some basic principles. Don’t go to bed drunk (obviously), don’t smush your baby with pillows and blankets and make sure your mattress isn’t too soft: tick, tick, tick.

I also found out co-sleeping regulates your baby’s breathing as they match yours — helping to reduce SIDS (my doula and awesome friend Emily shared this with me). Babies also regulate their temperature better when in bed with you (another risk factor in SIDS is baby being too warm).

But there are cons. I sleep pretty lightly when she’s next to me because I don’t want to roll over and smush her (VERY unlikely…but it’s a fear nonetheless). Oli and I can’t really snuggle…..so it’s definitely got a time-limit. Anaïs loves a good fart in the morning, so…yeah. That’s not the nicest.

We have a really cool Snüz Snuzpod cot that attaches to the side of our bed with it’s side down, like a little extension. We really love it and would massively recommend it to anyone keen to co-sleep but a bit wary of having their baby in bed. It’s a three in one situation, so you can use it as a standalone cot as well as lifting the base off to use as a bassinet – great for daytime napping.

So for me the benefits totally outweigh the cons. So I’m gonna carry on regardless.

L x

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8 Comments

  1. 11th June 2017 / 11:22 am

    Love this! Currently in my 32nd week of pregnancy and we are planning to opt for the sleepyhead/snuzpod combo like you seem to have done, glad to hear it works well for you and fingers crossed our little one will like it too! Xx

    • Lucy
      Author
      14th June 2017 / 6:22 pm

      India, I have to tell you the Snuz is dreamy. Your little one will totally love it, especially with the Sleepyhead (which is super handy for carting round the flat and using like a Moses basket). L x

  2. 12th June 2017 / 3:59 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I find it baffling that there is such an anti co-sleeping attitude. Wouldn’t it be far better for everyone to be told how to do it safely and then people can make their own decisions? I’ve read quite a few people say they would never co sleep because it’s so dangerous but then they are so tired they sleep on the sofa with baby which is far more dangerous because it’s a smaller space and baby can get trapped. There is something called the “safe sleep seven” (sure you know) which is basically the guidelines for how to do it safely. And I found sleeping on my side with arm extended above babies head means I can’t role over anyway! Like you, we don’t want to do it forever and I’m sure baby won’t want to either (which is another misconception. Ugh yeah what teenager wants to sleep anywhere near their parents?) and actually we hadn’t set out to do it, but it ended up being what worked for us. We have a co sleeper bed thing (really wanted the one you had but we currently like in California and they can’t ship to the US because of some stupid US rule on baby beds) and also the sleepyhead thing and found using a mixture of that and “proper” co sleeping worked well for us.

    • Lucy
      Author
      14th June 2017 / 6:25 pm

      Thanks for your comment. I completely agree with you – instead of demonising people for being ‘risky’ just give us the safety advice so we can all do it safely! Also, I didn’t know about the safe sleep seven but funnily enough sleep like you do anyway! Yay! L x

  3. 12th June 2017 / 5:24 pm

    Both our NCT teacher and my midwife have given the a-okay for co-sleeping (with the guidelines you mentioned) so it’s definitely something I think we’ll do! The Snuzpod was one of my must-have baby kits and we’ve just put it up. At the moment, there’s just Ewan the Dream Sheep sitting in there staring back at me, but I’m excited to have our little one so close once he finally makes his appearance! I think you have to trust your instincts (with a little bit of research to back them up) with this parenting lark – people have been doing it for years without books/Google so there’s got to be something to be said for the things you ‘just know’.

    • Lucy
      Author
      14th June 2017 / 6:28 pm

      My midwife was really sensible and experienced, and she encouraged co-sleeping. It’s pretty natural, and that’s exactly what we did in the hospital too as they love you to be super snuggly with your baby anyway (ps – you’re gonna hear so much ‘SKIN TO SKIN’ shiz you will probably scream!)

      Someone bought us a Ewan! He is so weirdly demonic with the red light don’t you think?! L x

  4. Kate Shaw-Treseder
    14th June 2017 / 8:07 am

    My very wise midwife pointed out to me that other mammals don’t leave their babies on the other side of the room and go and sleep elsewhere… I didn’t co-sleep because of my husband’s powerful drugs he has to take it was too risky, but I love the side extension cot, defo one of those next time! xxx

    • Lucy
      Author
      14th June 2017 / 6:29 pm

      I love the sound of your midwife, she gave you (and therefore me) so much sound advice. You would love the Snuz, it’s a really nice design too xx

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