7 Reasons I Love (and Hate) Co-Sleeping (Hint: It Hurts)

* This one comes with a language warning*

One of my friends was bemoaning the fact that her three year old still sleeps in the marital bed at night, and it reminded me that lots of people actually consider this a nuisance.

I’ve spent the last five years co-sleeping with both of my kids, so it’s just how we roll around here and – if I’m being honest with myself – I know that a tiny part of me will die inside when my youngest no longer wants to co-sleep with his mama.

It made me think about the reasons I love co-sleeping. And the reasons I hate it.

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REASONS I LOVE CO-SLEEPING

  1. The look on their little faces when I wake up

My eldest always woke up beaming. As soon as he saw my eyes opening his little face would light up with a smile so ecstatic it made the Dalai Lama look like Cruella de Ville. He would literally radiate. No one has EVER been that happy to see me. Not even my own mother.

My youngest always wakes up scowling: cursed with a wicked case of existential grumps far beyond the emotional scope of any normal three year old. There are no salutations. Our mornings start with a curtly-issued set of commands for exactly the same breakfast every single day, like I’m a total dumb-fuck.

“MAKE my LUNCH, Mum!”

(He stubbornly insists that breakfast is called “lunch”. I’ve learnt that it’s best not to correct him)

“I want JAM, PEANUT BUTTER and BUTTER. On SOFT bread”.

Sometimes he can be utterly divine. My favourite days start with “GIVE me a HUG, Mum” (always with the commands, this kid) or the occasional “I LUB you Mum” with a kiss on the cheek. *swoon* 

  1. The warm, sleepy cuddles

There is nothing better than sleepy cuddles with your babies. NOTHING.

Anyone who says otherwise probably spends their free time crotch-punting teddy bears, scowling at rainbows and telling toddlers that Santa isn’t real.

Babies grow up way too fast. Co-sleeping sneaks in extra cuddles.

  1. The sound of their soft breathing

I love waking up in the middle of the night and hearing my babies breathe, in that total creeper way that mums have. It’s the sweetest sound in the world.

Bleary with nocturnal hormones, I’ll often have this surreal moment that makes me go “Woah, dude. You MADE that!”, like some sort of self-congratulatory stoner-epiphany. (Yes, my internal dialogue at midnight sounds a lot like a dopey one-liner from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure).

Not so sweet when he’s snoring, because it’s more like Samuel L. Jackson from Snakes on a Plane. “ENOUGH is ENOUGH. I have HAD it with this motherfucking SNORING in this motherfucking BED!”

  1. Everyone gets a better night’s sleep

Co-sleeping was the key to unbroken sleep for everyone in our house. For us it was preferable to camping out on bedroom floors, pacing the hallways or playing multiple games of “bed tag” with tiny midnight runners. And 3am runners. And 5am runners. I know it doesn’t work for everyone but it’s been a godsend here, and instead of enforcing who sleeps where we’d rather just sleep. My five year old started sleeping in his own bed when he was ready. I know that my three year old will too. And soon. *sob*

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REASONS I HATE CO-SLEEPING

  1. My child uses me as a pillow

Being used like a pillow is basically your kid’s way of asserting their inalienable right to treat you like an object for their convenience at all times, despite any discomfort it causes. To put it in animal terms, it’s like a dog pissing on a telegraph pole as a sign of ownership. It essentially means you will have a small child slumped over various parts of you like a dead weight all night long. Polar fleece does not breathe. Nor will you when your kid arches his lower back over your airways.

  1. Roundhouse kicks to the face hurt

There is nothing more invigorating than being woken by a onesie-clad roundhouse kick to the face. Unless it’s a perfectly-aimed headbutt that connects with the bridge of your nose. Or a viciously swinging arm that threatens to knock your teeth out. Co-sleeping often mimics the physical dynamic of a mixed-martial arts bout. When cuddles become choke-holds and snuggles give way to a swift kick in the guts, your shared space is more “cage fight” than “sleep tight”.

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  1. Being squished into a tiny corner of the bed

We’ve seen the memes: mum or dad tucked into a tiny corner while a pint-sized toddler commandeers the entire bed. That shit is funny because it’s true. And when I say that shit is funny, I mean that it’s not fucking funny at all. There’s only so many times you can wake up with your head slung awkwardly over the side of the bed like a chiropractor’s wet dream. I love that my kid loves me, but I wish it wasn’t the suffocating kind of love that squishes me into a corner while the remaining 95% of the bed is completely empty.

Co-sleeping: it’s like Baby Fight Club. With cuddles.

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106 thoughts on “7 Reasons I Love (and Hate) Co-Sleeping (Hint: It Hurts)

  1. Love this! I still co-sleep with my two boys. Not by choice mind, but because they sneak into my bed in the night like stealth ninjas and I don’t even know they are there until I wake up in the morning with a foot in the rib and squished so close to the edge of the bed that I am amazed I am not on the floor. And my husband is in the youngests bed or in the lounge on the couch. Every night. But I confess I quietly love those nightly snuggles and will miss them when they stop. Not so much my husbands opinion though! And I don’t often share links in comments because I know it is not the done thing BUT your youngest sounds soooo much like my little grump in the morning I think you would enjoy #3 in this post: http://maybebabybrothers.com/10-truths-about-little-boys/ – you are not alone!

    • Hahhahahha you pretty much described the way things work at out house! Except that I admit defeat and bring my youngest into bed with me rather than pretend he is going to sleep in his own bed. LOL. And yes, it sounds like we share the love of Mr Grump. It’s complicated. (awesome post, by the way!)

  2. I co sleep with my one year old, and co slept with my 3 year old before that. My little girl is the best teddy bear in the world, and I get that look of delight when we both wake up too. I just wish that she would sleep a bit better. I was not blessed with good sleepers. Still, I do pity the people who smugly refuse their children entry to their beds, they don’t know what a beautiful pleasure they are missing out on.

  3. Co-sleeping in my house is like lying down with a breakdancing bulldog. It’s not comfortable and he keeps me awake all night. We don’t do it a lot but he gets so excited when he comes into our bed that he does backflips and squeals and tries to choke me. But it’s preferable to standing next to his cot and patting his back for three hours. And I get that happy face in the morning. Awwww.

  4. I can’t do it. My bedroom is for sex and sleeping and kids wreck both of those things! I do love them coming in first thing in the morning for cuddles because that’s lovely and only lasts until the pillow fights start. That’s when I high tail out of there! Occasionally I do sleep with the kids but because I have 4 the other 3 get jelly if I do with one and not the others and there’s no way more than 3 of us can sleep together. Maybe in a a super-sized Californian king bed and if they stayed the heck away from me…. we might… LOL

  5. I must admit I’m not a huge fan of co-sleeping. Mainly because of all your most hated reason plus that fact that they all seems to affect only me and not dad!! However on the odd occasion that one of them gets in with us in the middle of the night I will never shoo them out. I do love those snuggles. Oh and my three year old barks those exact same demands at me – hahah, bless them!

    • Aaaah, yes. I had the same worry too, particularly when they were newbies. I always waited a three or months before we started. And 12 years with my husband and his snoring had trained me to filter out a lot of their annoying night time noises!

  6. I’m not a fan, unless they are sick, because of your hate it reasons. I find no one sleeps well when they are in there except the husband who can sleep through anything, snoring. They crawl in from around 6am anyway which to me still feels like the middle of the night!

  7. A perfect description 🙂 I started co-sleeping via the black door of reflux when she was up 15 times a night. It saved my sanity, almost 🙂

  8. Bub sleeps in her cot in her own room, but when she’s sick we co-sleep for everyone’s sanity. Then it usually takes a good 2 weeks to get her back to sleeping in her own cot all night. We’re currently in week 2 of this stage at the moment. I love it and hate it for all the reasons you’ve listed. I just wish we had a much bigger bed so I could still feel like I could move without squishing someone or falling off the bed.

  9. Baby Fight Club lol love it. I did a co-sleeping post back in the MFS days and used that perception/reality pic too. Haha too funny. But my post was all about how co-sleeping sucks sucks sucks. I actually don’t mind it so much these days. I don’t have to share my bed with another adult so there is plenty of room for the 3 year old on the other side and he generally seems to stay there. I sometimes just need my own space though so we have co-sleeping planned nights – it’s a Friday night special around here. And also a “I’m too tired to put the clean sheets on your bed” special too (that was last night).

  10. Will have to share this with my younger sister. She will relate completely. You still had me smiling even though I only co-slept the first 4 months. I am the WORST sleeper I know. Every movement or noise wakes me or keeps me from sleeping in the first place. That is exactly why I got Post Natal Anxiety – all the listening out to my baby’s cries, breathing or movements. ACK! WORST!
    I once left a family reunion at 12am to drive over an hour home to Newy just to be able to sleep in my own bed in silence. I was only a few months pregnant at the time so I didn’t know true sleep deprivation yet. Who does that? My husband’s relos would not shut up though. GOSH! I wish SO hard I could be a woman as incredible as you, Melissa! I reckon sleeping with your kid is like a freaking super-power!

  11. We all start off in our own beds at the start of the night but there’s some ‘musical beds’ action through the night. Sometimes all 4 of us end up in our bed, sometimes daddy escapes to Miss 3’s bed! The kicks to the head/back/groin are tempered by the all night cuddles 🙂

  12. Aw, I love those reasons for being pro co-sleeping. Our girls have never been keen on it. They’ve always preferred to sleep in their own beds, which suits me. My second is a grump in the mornings too. If you try to talk to her she scowls and shouts – I”M STILL WAKING UP!!!!!! Alright already 😉

  13. I don’t know if I could co-sleep. I’m not a fan of sharing the bed as it is lol. Not in an hate my husband way, just in the way that I’m a giant bed hogging sprawler.

  14. So glad it works for you but I can’t even sleep in the same room as my kids, they are so noisy with all their snuffles and grunts and chattering and constant movements. Night time is my sweet sweet quiet time without them clinging on to me.

    • LOL, I have to say that once my kids are asleep they are actually quiet thank god (apart from the occasional snore-fest). I don’t think I could handle it if they were snuffling and grunting all night!

  15. Yes! We’ve had so much more sleep since we completely gave in about a year or so ago. We’ve recently negotiated with our 5yo that he sleeps in his bed every second night (he’ll often still migrate to our bed around midnight or so, but sometimes sleeps through) and I’ll often end up in our 2yo’s bed at some point during the night, because it’s either that or we try to fit four people in our bed… no thanks! And yes, I’ll miss it when they’re all growed up:-)

    • Naaaw, that’s sweet. My 5 year old has been really good this year, and we only get the occasional “I’m scared” visit, which is cool (and a bit squishy!). But yeah. Will miss it too 🙂

  16. I feel like co-sleeping won’t be for me based on the fact that my husband has slept in the spare room since I hit about the halfway point during this pregnancy. He either takes up too much room (so more than a third of the bed), breathes too loudly or I punch and kick him in my sleep. He tried sleeping in the bed last weekend and apparently I kneed him in the balls. Twice. Probably not best to bring a child into that’s environment when it’ll be hard enough to adjust to having my husband back in the bed! I am trying to convince him that we need to upgrade to a king size bed to make things easier.

  17. I have all of this to look forward too! My eldest wouldn’t co sleep no matter how hard I tried to get him to like it. He’s nearly 2 now and very independent. Our newest addition of 7 weeks, however, is co sleeping with my and I am absolutely LOVING it. Mostly it was a decision made for ease of feeding at night, but now I don’t want him to move into his bassinet at all. I just love hearing his breathing beside me, and the fact I can reach out and touch him during the night.

    It came at a price though, my husband has been kicked out into the spare room (bed not big enough for the three of us safely). He wants to move back in eventually…. I may let him. Or maybe not :p

    • Oh how sweet! And the way I see it – we have the rest of our lives to share a bed exclusively with our husbands. Our babies are only young for such a short period of time and it was one of those precious things I wanted to experience. God, I’m sounding like a massive lame-wad again! I’m so not the hard-ass I thought I would be. Enjoy your beautiful sleepy cuddles – you will look back and remember them with such fondness x

  18. We all start the night in our own beds. By morning the baby is in bed with me, the husband is in bed with the almost three year old (getting king singles was a wise decision) and the almost five year old is the only one who sleeps alone! I’m an accidental co-sleeper. I’d feed the babies in bed and quickly realised it was easier to snuggle up with them and just attach them onto the boob when they needed it. Like you, I’ll enjoy it while it lasts!

  19. Sleep like babies is totes precious. I think you should get the best sleep whatever way you can and if you can claim some extra cuddles, well, that’s a bonus!

  20. I totally get it. I love their cuddles but I need my space in the end or a bigger bed. I have spoilt my younger boy and stay in his bed until he falls asleep. Its inconvenient but secretly I love it his cuddles and his squashy hands on my face.

  21. Oh I love the “I wuv you mummy”. They know right where to get you with that one. My tornadoes share a room and only occasionally try to sleep in our bed. I usually enjoy a cuddle and if I’m not completely zonked I will take them back to their bed. Between Handy Hubby, two tornadoes and our cat (who stretches out to her full length across the bed and under the covers), there’s never room for me and I get the worst night’s sleep. I’ve always been a bad mood bear in the mornings – a roundhouse kick to the head does nothing to improve that!

  22. My heart is crying because not one of my three apprentice humans will sleep in my bed with me!! Not one!!! I try to cuddle them in bed and they’re like get offfffffs me. I mean they’re teenagers tho…

    Lol ok so they’re not teenagers. But two three year olds and a 7 month old rejecting me stings a little. Own bed shmown bed, you will love me dammit! Or not. 😭

  23. I adore this, it’s a love/hate with me, when they were little I was worried I’d roll over and squash them so never slept and now they are bigger they roll all over me and squish me. That tiny breathing, their chubby cheeks, oh yes they grow WAY too fast. xx

    • I used to hate that saying before I had kids, until I realised just how bloody true it is. The days are long but the years go fast. Damn them! I want my babies to stay babies a bit longer x

  24. Ha ha ha creeper Mum. I’m picking up what you’re putting lady. 😛 We’ve had to embrace co-sleeping…. quite simply because the kids haven’t given us an option. They WILL NOT stay in their own beds at night. No matter how many transfers we make! Monsters apparently are the primary cause, so they explain to me. Those fucking monsters. I think they should have the pleasure of co-sleeping and then they might leave my kids alone so I can get some sleep! But those little snuggles are pretty damn cute through the night. When they’re not regressing and fucking pissing the bed. It’s one for the scrapbook, that night! x

  25. Yes I love/hate co-sleeping, too. With my older two boys they eventually went to their own beds by the time they were fivish. But the 6 yo still wants to sleep with me, and he won’t go to bed or sleep unless I’m next to him. I really want him to go to bed several hours before me so I can have time to myself. So it’s becoming a bit of problem now. But I still can’t resist those cuddles. *melts*

  26. Agree with every point. We’re in the process of trying to get both our boys to sleep and stay asleep in their own beds. Hubby is good with enforcing the bed sleeping rules, I’m still the sucker hindering the process (they’ve learnt to come to my side of the bed cause I’ll open the blanket and they hop in). I know they wont sneak into our beds forever (dreading the days they start sneaking out) so cherishing the period.

  27. I think I’d like co-sleeping more if a) it was a conscious decision rather than an ‘screw it – i can’t be bother with the tantrum of taking her back to bed’ decision, if b) we had a king size bed so i didn’t wake up stiff and sore each morning from balancing on the edge of the bed all night while Chublet and B enjoyed a spreadeagled sleep, and if C) i woke up to ‘I love you’ cuddles rather than Chublet and B bickering over blankets up or blankets down, which usually results in me getting headbutted in the nose or mouth as chublet winds up to struggle against her dad. yep, so much fun…

  28. We weren’t big on co-sleeping around here, but when Punky was a bay I would often bring her in to bed with me once Dave had left for work at 5:30am. Having her in bed with me meant I didn’t have to get up to get her for a feed, and she would often sleep much, much later, meaning some days we could stay in bed till 9am! And while it doesn’t happen often now, when it does it’s always nice to wake up to them in the morning. Punky wet the bed the other night and neither Dave nor I could be bothered putting new sheets on her top-bunk bed so in with us she came. Toddler fight club indeed!

      • Hahaha, it was sheer force of will that made it happen. She could wiggle and wiggle all she wanted but she knew I wasn’t moving. I am not a morning person in the slightest and both my girls have learnt that fairly quickly. We have a clock in their bedroom and they both know they can’t leave their room until the ‘sun’ comes up on the clock (6:45am). They know now the mood I’ll be in if they do isn’t worth it! Lol! Best clock we ever bought. They still wake up anywhere from 5 to 5:30am, but at least now they just play together in their room.

      • Aaaah yes, we tried the Glo-Clock, and both of my children showed a breathtaking disrespect for it. It’s great now though. They are both at that age like yours, where they get up and play for a little while without killing each other. Enjoying that while it lasts…

  29. Neither one of us were fans of co-sleeping. I don’t like being touched when I’m asleep, let alone kicked, punched and laid upon by a dead weight who thinks they own my bed. We were incredibly, amazingly blessed to have children who slept well. In their own beds. We taught the oldest one what 7am looked like on her clock, when she was about three, and then we just enjoyed morning cuddles before getting up to start the day.

  30. Yes, yes, yes! We have a 2.5 year old who thinks our bed is her bed & now a newborn who ends up in the bed too after waking from her big sleep in the cot (also. In our room). I can’t stand the thought of them not being close enough to see & hear. They are too little to be at the other end of our house. But thank you whoever invented king size beds!

  31. We put out foot down and our 3 year old no longer sleeps in our bed. Yeah. We drew a line in the sand… we said “Little miss, you have a big girl bed, and that is where you shall sleep henceforth.” and so now I sleep in her bed instead…. sometimes curled up at the foot of her bed because there’s not enough room, and I just want to sleep, and we stupidly got her a single bed and didn’t factor in that I would still be sleeping in it a year later…

    I also equal parts love and hate it. I also enjoy the argument of “Blah blah blah if you don’t get them out ASAP they’ll sleep in there forever” and I point out I slept in my mum’s bed (intermittently) until I was 19 and moved out of home, and then when I’ve visited her as an adult. We’ve even down three-generational-cosleeping since my kids have come along. I sincerely hope my kids have the same relationship with me when they’re bigger.

    • Naaaaw, that’s sweet. I’ve heard that argument too and I honestly thought that my 5 year old would be co-sleepng until he was 17 but he proved me wrong! He just needed that little bit of extra reassurance, and at 4 he was off and running on his own. We still get the occasional “I’m scared mummy!” nights, but mostly he is all good.

  32. I called co-sleeping with our first kid “sleeping in an H formation” because he’d be the “-” line in the H every night.

    Now we have 2, both start in their own beds and both end up with us at some point. It works for us. It gets cold here at nights, so it’s nice to have the extra body warmth.

    Our daughter was terrible when we tried co-sleeping with her. Literally woke up every 45 minutes some nights, demanding feeds. She was also a sleeping kung-fu expert. I’m amazed I haven’t been kicked in the groin more given our history of co-sleeping….

    • Hahahahhahahahhaha! I guess you could have always taken to wearing a box. I’ve seriously considered one of those soft helmet things at one point. It got that bad. Little blighter.

  33. I have two mini dachshunds, one who sleeps with us sometimes. So, yes, I get it. On a cellular level, I get it. However, my dog doesn’t co sleep with my husband and I, she sometimes jumps up and shares the bed. I cannot stand the term or the things it implies.
    When do you have sex with your spouse??????
    Why do you think it’s ok to teach your kids to share a bed that is meant for fucking????
    Did you give up on your marriage??
    Do you do it because your too lazy to teach and train your kids to be independent sleepers????
    This new term is so over used and frankly tacky… You share your personal space with your kid. (“Co sleeping” aka co dependent of my child)

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