I want to sleep closely with my little man, but I am terrified.
I wake with a start. “Where’s the baby?” I cry out loud.
I look to left where he should be laying next to me. Here’s not there. I look to my right, he’s not there either.
I frantically search the rest of the bed under and on top of the doona. The blankets are flying everywhere.
Oh my god, where is he. Hubby must have rolled on him.
I push my husband over in his sleep. “Where’s bubby” I say out loud. He groans.
Then I wake. For real this time. I had been dreaming. But everything I dreamt I did, I had done. Everything I dreamt I said, I had said. Yet this was an all too familiar dream.
My anxiety around co-sleeping has been ingrained into me. In a former life I worked with families at risk where co-sleeping was heavily frowned upon and discouraged. For these babies the risk of SIDS due to co-sleeping was very high as the parents had substance addictions, smoked and/or were drowsy from being highly medicated. There is an ample amount of research to back this up.
So of course, these children would be at greater risk than children whose parents didn’t fall into this category. But I ignorantly felt this applied to all children. I would see friends of mine post photographs on Facebook with their partners co-sleeping. At the time, I thought “Oh my god, you’re putting your baby at risk. Why would you do that?” I just didn’t understand.
After I had my baby, while I was still in hospital, the midwives encouraged me to have lay down feeds with my babe throughout the night. They said this way I was able to get some sleep too. I loved these lay down feeds as I felt so close to my baby, which is exactly what I wanted being a new mother.
I did this for several nights, but after I put bubby back into his bassinet I would wake up in a panic thinking I had rolled on him. It was worse when hubby put bub back in his cot not me as I would wake up not being able to remember putting him back, which of course I didn’t, hubby did.
When we returned home the nightmares continued. I can remember one dream where I sat straight up in bed and saw the pile of clothes breathing on the bed. I thought bubby was underneath them struggling to breath.
Another time, I was sleeping during the day while hubby had bub in the other room, when I jumped out of bed, tore all the sheets off the bed and tore all of the sheets out of the bassinet trying to find the baby. I rushed into the lounge room and found them playing happily together. Hubby took one look at my frazzledness and demanded I go back to bed. I can just imagine my frizzy hair all a mess, stumbling through the door way, wearing a lopsided sloppy joe and track pants. What a look! I thought this anxiety was a normal part of being a new mother. But then I realised, it was because of those lay down night feeds that I was worried I would fall asleep with bub next to me.