The 5 real hazards of co-sleeping the experts don't tell you about
Haven't yet decided if you want to co-sleep? Read this mum's co-sleeping adventures and personal experiences!
As every internet-savvy new mum knows, even sleeping arrangements become a complex, hot-button issue when the little bub arrives. To sleep or not to sleep on the same bed – that is the question. Some experts say yes, some experts are unequivocal in their rejection of the practice.
From the professional first-hand experience of a mother who has co-slept for the past 5 years (i.e. me), let me offer my humble opinion – No, do not co-sleep. Do not even start, because it is a slippery slope that you might never get out of. The various drawbacks might be very real and scientifically researched and all the jazz, but let me tell you what the real problems of co-sleeping are.
1. You will only ever get 10 percent of bed space
It doesn’t really matter how large your bed is, or how small your baby is. You will get only a tiny corner on that mattress no matter how neatly you position your baby during bedtime. At some point during the night, your child will think it is absolutely crucial to do a spread eagle in his sleep, or that the best spot to nuzzle his foot is your face – on your face.
Ten percent, that’s all you get.
2. Restful sleep becomes an oxymoron
You will wake up with aches from squeezed up muscles that you never knew existed. Depending on which part of your body contorts as it instinctively tries to make space for that intrusive hot little potato that has found its way under the sheets with you during the night, you will know exactly how an arthritic old lady feels before a storm – except your muscles will feel stretched every.single.night.
See above point for why.
3. Child does not wake during your favourite adult activities = achievement unlocked
Didn’t climax? Who cares, as long as no one catches the both of you in a situation that might be potentially trauma- inducing for your child. In fact, better not to hit the big O in case one of you can’t keep the noise under control!
Sex – not so fun when co-sleeping. But I suppose we should be grateful we even manage to get it on at all, with some creative maneuvering .
4. Dealing with the bed-wetting problems butt-first
Oh, the joys of being woken up by a puddle of warm liquid spreading under your butt first thing in the morning….and having to change the sheets even though all you really want is another 10 minutes warm and snuggly in your beloved bed.
5. Kiddy nightmares
I once had a majestic green bruise on my thigh when the little one kicked out in her sleep in anger during a nightmare. My husband swears her feet have some sort of magnetism to his nether regions such that she always manages to deal the most pain with her sleep movements. Ouch.
Add that on to the abovementioned muscular aches, and you basically feel like you have been through a MMA (mixed martial arts) tournament in your sleep by the time morning rolls around.
Despite all that though, I think the most dangerous thing about co-sleeping with this incredibly dangerous mini human is that I might just never wean myself off her smell (which is a mix of baby shampoo, toddler perspiration and milk breath), or her little arms as they wrap around my neck and she whispers “Good night, I love you Mummy”. Or her crazy Fido Dido bed hair when she sits up and looks around in a sleep stupor. Dangerously addictive, this practice!
To the next 7 years of co-sleeping or beyond – for as long as she will have us.
Mums, do you have any interesting anecdotes to share about your co-sleeping adventures? Let us know in the comments below!