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Can I just start by saying that I know there will be people reading this who are already rolling their eyes and getting ready to tell me how dangerous cosleeping is. Please don’t. I understand that cosleeping is not for everyone and there are certain risk factors that may need to be considered in some cases and that’s fine. I fully understand and appreciate that. But it worked for us and my babies were always completely safe. They only ever shared a bed with me and I followed all the cosleeping guidelines to minimise any risks – which were already low to begin with.
That being said, I love cosleeping. Before the twins were born, we intended for them to sleep in a 3 sided cotbed that we attached to my side of the bed. I thought we’d cosleep without bedsharing – the plan was to lift them into bed with me to breastfeed and then put them back down to sleep in their cotbed. Ha! The twins had other plans. Very soon after they were born, Mr Becca was relegated to the sofa and the twins were promoted to our bed on either side of me, with a bed guard on the side of the bed that didn’t have the cotbed attached to it. The cotbed became somewhere to store nappies and wipes for those rotten middle of the night changes.
I’ve already talked about how the twins have always hated sleep and the first six months were easily the worst. There were nights where I was woken up every half hour, because they both woke hourly, but not at the same time. Bed sharing made that so much easier. It meant less moving and being less “awake”, so I was able to fall asleep more quickly between feeds. They settled more quickly, too. Whether that was because I was moving them less or because they liked being close to me, I don’t know, but either way, it meant I got more sleep. So it was awesome, because anything that meant I got more sleep was (and still is) awesome.
Eventually, I wasn’t just bed sharing because it was easier. I was doing it because I loved the closeness! When the twins were 18 months old, we moved them into their own room, because our room (aside from the bed) wasn’t toddler proof and it was getting impossible to stop two curious toddlers exploring. But I ended up moving with them.
I don’t spend every night in their room and I always spend at least some of the night in my own bed, but I have a mattress on the floor between their toddler beds and, if they need me during the night (which they often do), I have somewhere comfy to sleep.
I’m not ashamed to say that I love the sleepy cuddles. For a start, sleepy toddlers are the least wriggly kind, in my experience. Which makes them the easiest kind to cuddle. When we have children, people tell us that we shouldn’t cuddle them too much. That we should make sure they get used to sleeping on their own and not being held all the time, or they’ll never let us put them down. But that’s not really true, is it?
I’m 34 and I no longer need my mum to cuddle me to sleep. I get my husband to cuddle me before I sleep now and that’s somehow more socially acceptable than my babies needing a cuddle before they sleep. Have you ever met a mother who wished that she’d cuddled her children less? I never have. I have met lots who say they miss those sleepy cuddles, though, or that they wish time would slow down a bit so their kids wouldn’t grow up so quickly. Because that’s what they do! They grow up so quickly. Sometimes, it feels like it was just yesterday that we brought our tiny newborns home from the hospital, but all of a sudden, they’re proper little people. They can walk and talk and run and use cutlery and brush their own teeth (with a little help).
They’re not so little anymore and they’re getting bigger and more independent every day. Jack tells me a hundred times a day “on my own!” and “I can do it!”. How long will it be before he starts pushing me away when I try to cuddle him? How long before he doesn’t want those sleepy cuddles anymore?
And that’s why I love cosleeping. I’m going to make the most of being their favourite source of comfort for as long as I can. I’m going to cuddle them as often as I can and for as long as I can. I’m going to listen to the sound of their breathing change as they fall asleep and commit the feeling of their tiny hands holding mine to memory, because they’re only little for such a short amount of time. And I don’t want to miss a second of it.