real life

Don't judge me, but... I can't stop co-sleeping with my baby.

I am doing something which I had no intention at all of starting…

Today, I reached a milestone in my newborn son’s life – the 6-week mark. But like all newborn stories, it hasn’t been a walk in the park. Every day and every night is a battle to get him to sleep contently for a few hours in either a bassinet, baby carrier or pram.

Most of the time I resort to him sleeping in my arms. Sometimes I don’t mind this because I like being close to my baby, listening to him breathe (he had breathing problems when he was born and was admitted to the NICU) and smelling his hair. But at the same time, it is stopping me from doing even the most mundane of tasks like cooking for my family and putting the washing on the line.

The nights are the worst though. When he won’t sleep in his bassinet and I’m too exhausted to sleep upright with him in my arms, I am doing something which I had no intention at all of starting – sleeping with him in my bed. And now I don’t know how to stop.

I am well aware that co-sleeping is frowned upon by SIDS experts and I feel guilty every time I do it, which is happening almost daily. But it’s working. My baby is getting his much-needed sleep and, just as importantly, so am I.

I can hear him breathe and monitor him more closely than I ever could with him in his bassinet. It is also so cosy for the both of us and has made me bond with him better than anything else I've done in the past six weeks, including breastfeeding.

Yes, I know there are dangers of him rolling out of bed, me rolling on him or having the sheets cover his face. That is the part of me that makes me feel very guilty. But I can't stop putting him in my bed. And if I'm really honest, I'm not sure if I want to try right now. The 'cry it out' method really doesn't appeal to me, especially at 4.30am.

I don't drink or smoke, take medication, have indoor pets nor am I severely overweight - factors which can increase the risk of co-sleeping with a baby.

I should mention that I'm in bed alone with my baby. My husband is currently sleeping in another room purely so he can rest as much as he can before work while I get up for feeds during the night (I breastfeed).

I should also mention that I never, ever co-slept with my now 4-year-old daughter. In fact, the thought never even crossed my mind. Maybe this is because she actually slept in her cot (we didn't use a bassinet with her).

I don't know when I'll stop co-sleeping with my son. I guess he will make that decision when he eventually (hopefully) starts to sleep soundly on his own. But if I accidentally harm my baby I will never forgive myself and I'm most certain my husband won't either.

Am I wrong to co-sleep with my baby? Am I just hanging on or is it completely normal to co-sleep with a 6-week old?

Please go here for the SIDS and kids' safe sleeping guidelines

If, like this reader, you have a dilemma that you would like advice about, please email: [email protected] with "Don’t Judge Me" in the subject field.
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