Note from Naomi: Todays post is an interview with Louise from Little Hearts, Big Love about her experience of co-sleeping. This 37 year old mummy blogger lives at home with her husband and two daughters. She has been blogging for about ten years but started blogging more when her eldest daughter was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. She uses her blog as a way of keeping family and friends up to date with her story, as well as a space for her to share her own thoughts and reflections. Make sure you check out her blog over at Little Hearts, Big Love.
How many children do you have and how old are they?
I have two children.
Jessica, who is five and was born with a complex congenital heart defect; and Sophie, who is heart-healthy and turns three at the end of October.
How would you define co-sleeping?
Personally, I would define co-sleeping as sharing a bed, but I believe the wider definition includes parents sharing a room with their child.
What is the difference between co-sleeping and bed-sharing?
I usually use the two terms interchangeably.
However, co-sleeping is technically a broader term which also includes: bed-sharing; having a sidecar attachment on to the parent bed; sharing a room with your child; or the child being welcomed into the parents bed if they usually have their own room.
Have you co-slept with both of your girls?
I have co-slept with both my children; both in regards to bed-sharing and the broader definition.
My eldest daughter regularly slept in our bed as a baby - when she wasn't in hospital - and my youngest daughter occasionally slept in our bed as a baby, although she tended to settle better in her cot.
While Jessica did have her own room from around 18 months to 4 years, Sophie has never left our bedroom.
We now have a family bedroom with both the girls' beds being in the same room as ours.
What made you decide to co-sleep?
With Jessica, it was partly because it made night feeds much easier but also because having her close to me was more reassuring with me being able to check on her easily overnight. She was in hospital several times during her first year of life for heart surgeries and I think there was also a sense of wanting to keep her close to me as much as I could when she was home.
With Sophie, I would have happily had her in our bed overnight to make night feeds easier, but she settled much better if she was in the Moses basket next to my bed.
Jessica always liked to have my hand resting on her if she slept in the Moses basket whereas Sophie seemed to prefer to be left alone.
We had intended to move both the girls into their own rooms but when we moved Jessica into a bed, she started coming into our room more in the night. We found that we all slept better if we just tucked her in bed with us, rather than having to settle her back down in her cot.
Eventually we reached the point where she wanted to go to sleep in our bed, and stay there all night. As Sophie was still sleeping in our room at that stage, we decided to move Jessica's bed in too, as she seemed to sleep better in her own bed if she was sleeping in the same room as us.
Jessica still comes in our bed during the night if she wants to, but she always starts off in her own bed. Sophie usually only comes in to our bed in the mornings if she wakes a little early, but it's rarer for her to want to be in with us during the night.
When do you plan to stop co-sleeping?
We're planning on trying to move the girls into their own bedroom together next year, but they'll still be welcome to come in to us if they wish during the night.
Have you ever had to deal with jealousy when co-sleeping with either of your children?
It's never been an issue.
Both children are equally welcome in our bed and they both sleep in our room. I do wonder if Sophie being in our room was a factor in Jessica wanting to come back to our room though.
Do you breastfeed?
Not now but Jessica was breastfed for 17 months and Sophie for 2 years.
Did you found that co-sleeping helped with breastfeeding?
I found it made night feeds much easier. I could latch Jessica or Sophie and doze while they fed.
Does co-sleeping affect the relationship you have with your partner?
No. Occasionally if both girls are in the bed it is a bit snug; and one of us might go and sleep in the spare room if they are being too wriggly; but on the whole we all sleep well.
In terms of intimacy - well, there are other rooms in the house and we do have a spare bedroom!
What type of co-sleep items do you use (e.g. Moses baskets; cribs; cots etc.)
We had a Moses basket next to the bed when the girls were tiny babies and then they moved into a cot which was still in our room.
Now we have their beds in our room.
What is your favourite thing about co-sleeping?
The cosiness of being close together and knowing that I am near if the girls need me in the night.
What is the top piece of advice you have for anyone considering co-sleeping?
Do what works for your family and what feels right for you.
Just make sure that you're aware of the advice on how to bed share with a baby as safely as possible.
Would you do it again?