This Is What Co-Sleeping Is REALLY Like

by Yvette Lamb
Originally Published: 
Robert Lang Photography / Getty

How to co-sleep when you do not want to co-sleep (but your baby makes you co-sleep):

11 PM: Start the night with everyone in their own bed or crib, determined this is how you will remain.

12:30 AM: Get up to shush the baby back to sleep.

1:30 AM: Get up to rock the baby back to sleep.

2 AM: Get up to go to the bathroom. Wish you had done your pelvic floor workouts.

2:45 AM: Get up to rock the baby back to sleep. Baby will not be rocked back to sleep. Feel cold and very tired. Bring the baby into bed; this will be the last time (which is what you always say).

2:50 AM: Follow safe co-sleeping protocol: protecting your eyes, hair and vital organs from the baby’s kicks, pulls and punches as he makes himself comfortable.

2:55 AM: Receive a heavy blow to the temple. How did his foot even get up there? Ever professional, remain silent and curse only in your head.

3 AM: Along with your partner, cling nervously to the edge of the bed and marvel how one tiny baby can take up so much room, and also seem to grow extra limbs.

3:10 AM: In mime form, have conversation with your partner about your octopus baby and the lack of space for three of you. Watch him stumble — a little gleefully — to the spare room as the baby steals the space he left behind. Still cling to the edge of the bed.

3:15 AM: As you wait for the baby to settle (read: stop assaulting you), feel grateful that you are at least lying down rather than standing in the nursery playing a desperate round of “shush-pat.”

3:20 AM: Baby falls asleep and you immediately need to cough. Attempt to ignore this natural, involuntary impulse but let out a strangled bark, like a sick dog.

3:25 AM: Fail to loosen sleeping baby’s vice-like grip from your hair. You are exhausted; you can sleep through this pain.

3:26 AM: You cannot sleep through this pain. Again, curse silently, but with gusto.

3:30 AM: Think these thoughts in a repeated cycle: Nobody else co-sleeps. Co-sleeping is natural. Co-sleeping creates dependency. Co-sleeping is right for us. I will regret co-sleeping. I wonder if my scalp is bleeding. We are almost out of bread.

3:55 AM: Gaze at your little baby and enjoy the closeness of him curled up next to you. Listen to his rhythmic breathing and begin to drift off.

5:15 AM: Wake up, suddenly panicked that the baby isn’t there. He is — with his head on your weak and tiny bladder.

5:20 AM: Ignore the desperate need to go to the bathroom and try to fall back asleep. Consider if bed-wetting is an acceptable alternative to waking the baby. Are undecided.

5:25 AM: Dare to move your baby’s head – success! Fall back asleep.

6:15 AM: Wake to your baby beating you across the head with his pacifier, and smiling. It has been another good night – for him.

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