Co-sleeping: Why sharing a bed with my baby saved my sanity

Shannon Kelly White gets real about parenting

November 08 2018

My first child was a false advertisement. He was a good sleeper. A ridiculously good sleeper. I was strutting around planet Earth thinking I had mad parenting skills... but then I had Herbie.

Ohhhhh, Herbie, what an absolute galah about sleep. He wasn’t having it. As a wee bebe, when we’d lower him into his cot he would carry on and scream as though he were being lowered into a fire pit. ‘Child, I’m not pepper spraying you! For the love of all that is holy, cool your jets, son!’. So we’d scoop him back up, rock him and shush him until his little eyes would close, and then we’d gently place him in his cot.

🎉 ONE 🎉 One whole year of baby Herbie. He has just slotted into our family like a missing puzzle piece and filled us with joy... I'm fucking with you, he is a huge pest. He has only slept through the night about four times, he is the size of a two year old due to his diehard commitment to sucking the life out of my titties, and he loves pulling the bottom dishwasher rack out just to fuck with me. Mr Shannon and I are so tired we perpetually look like we fell off the back of a ute. But, I can honestly say, we adore Herbie. We are fucking crazy about him. He is already cheeky and funny. He has been up against it most of his short life with back-to-back ear infections and an operation - but he smiles throughout it all. He loves cats which shows immeasurable resilience. He is loved completely, and this little flog belongs with us in this family of flogs. He is our guy. Happy first birthday, my baby boy. #butifyousleptmaybeiwouldloveyoumore #cantevenclaimyouasanaccident #goddamnityourecute

And let me tell you, it was more stressful than handling a bomb. For him to stay asleep the transition had to be seamless. Every tiny movement was done in slow motion and with the fine hands of a goddamn surgeon. We would let his body make contact with the cot sheet inch by inch — slowly and carefully we would guide him to the mattress in an effort to not set off his finely tuned cot-radar.

It was a long and tedious process to get him to sleep, and then the little knackerbag would wake up 20 minutes later. Repeat this process a dozen times a night and you’ll find yourself on a slippery slope to exhaustion and/or insanity.

After weeks and weeks of these torturous 20 to 45-minute catnaps, I developed a collection of new wrinkles and an attitude that could be described as ‘unpleasant’ so I decided to co-sleep with the little meatball. What a bloody blessing.

He would lie in bed with me curled up like a kitten. Or a tiny frat boy passed out. But, whatever, it worked for us — we both got plenty of rest and cuddles. Even though it was like sleeping with a suckling pig, I loved it. It saved us. And we carried on that way for a year.

👋🏾 I'm Shannon, I am a nurse, a knob and mum to two boys, who are beautiful despite their mother's lack of sense and decorum. I live in a town outside Melbourne, with Mr Shannon, the aforementioned tiny humans, three chooks, two dogs, and one old cat who is usually cute but is sometimes a huge cunt in that way old ladies nail and get away with. I'm studying nutrition but have had to pause it to care for all of those flogs I mentioned above. They leech from me. All of them. I have endometriosis which forces me to eat well. It sucks a lot of penis. Not nice penis either, more a "flakey, but moist in patches and sporting various scabs" kind of penis. Which is not ideal. Shannon's Kitchen is my hobby and my place to cook healthy shit without pulling my metaphorical hoity-toity dick about it. I am slowly chipping away at writing a ridiculous cookbook. Being a flog brings me great joy, and probably great shame upon my parents. Thanks for being here and for sharing my lack of fuck-giving 😎 You guys are alright, Shannon x #evenworsewithoutafilter #thisisthelittlefatoneHerbie

To co-sleep you have to*:
• Be sober as a judge. 
• Remove any pillows or soft things that could smother your baby.
• Ideally have the mattress on the floor so if bubs decides to pull a crazy stunt, they won’t be left dangling from the duvet like a scene from Cliffhanger.
• Be a non-smoker.
• Ensure nothing will go over bub's face. They really need air.
*Check the up-to-date guidelines and with your healthcare practitioner to avoid accidentally smooshing your baby.

Did I get judged for co-sleeping? Of course I did! Did I care? Of course I didn’t!

There’s no one-size-fits-all family plan. You’ve just got to do your own thing and do what feels right for your kids.
HOT TIP: If you have a good sleeper try to not rub other parents’ faces in it. Don’t say, ‘Have you tried...’ Just shut up. And wipe that smug look off your bloody face while you’re at it.

This is an extract from Parenting For Legends by Shannon Kelly White, now available for pre-order here. Shannon is also a nurse, mum of two, and author of Shannon’s Kitchen: Healthy Food You’ll Actually F**king Eat.