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Co-sleepers do any of you tell the truth to midwives/health visitors?

(32 Posts)
lilysma Thu 25-Aug-11 14:12:40

DS is a month old tomorrow and we have co-slept from birth (i.e. he and I share my double bed and DH sleeps separately). Have just had a health visitor visit and as usual lied through my teeth about co-sleeping when I would actually have liked to have had a chat about the issues it raises (e.g. problems with daytime naps that are plaguing me and being confined to my bedroom from 8pm until morning!).

But I didn't feel able to tell her or the midwives because the whole tone of the questions around this issue is 'you don't co-sleep, do you? because it's very dangerous'. I felt like I would be reported to social services or at the least given a lecture if I 'confessed'. I find this quite frustrating given that the evidence re the safety of co-sleeping (i.e. in the same bed) versus cot/moses basket sleeping is quite mixed as I understand it.

Has anyone come clean about this to HVs or midwives? What happened??

Bet01 Thu 25-Aug-11 15:19:01

I cosleep too because DS won't sleep by himself. I told my HV but it was part of a bigger conversation about DS not sleeping, and she didn't dwell on it. So, hard to judge whether she would have if it'd been the main topic.
DS is 26 weeks now and we've coslept since 12 weeks. I might be able to give you a bit of advice based purely on my own experience?

HerdOfTinyElephants Thu 25-Aug-11 15:26:36

No, I've never mentioned it.

I've always put them down in something else at the start of the evening, though (e.g. I currently put DD2 down in her bouncy chair at the start of the evening and move her down to bed when I go to bed later on, while DD1 until she could roll I just put down in the middle of our bed with a baby monitor, and then once she could roll put her in an Amby hammock for the first part of the night)

greeneone12 Thu 25-Aug-11 15:37:19

I did and my midwife was amazing. Said that if it meant I continued breastfeeding then she was all for it. She did say thought that sleeping on sofa with baby was a big nono but was very supportive of co-sleeping. Maybe my borough is so desperate for BF-ing rates to go up that they will support whatever it takes (wink)

Maybe just be open - you might be surprised!

eightyone Thu 25-Aug-11 16:01:39

My HV suggested it for daytime naps, although I only do it when my son is very unsettled as I cant rest properly. She also said that sofa napping is very bad and that babies can be smothered when parents sleep with them on the sofa.

When we were in hospital a midwife told me to cosleep when he was very unsettled as well. She went through all the safety aspects beforehand.

lilysma Thu 25-Aug-11 16:18:48

Interesting...I just had the strong impression/message that it would be strongly frowned on.

I agree re sofa napping and one of the reasons I co-sleep is that with older DD
I found it hard to stay awake when getting up to feed her at night, which seems to me more dangerous.

Bet01 I would love to hear any tips you have...(need a desperate emoticon! wink)

Herdoftinyelephants the trouble for me is getting him to sleep anywhere other than on me or next to me with my arm around him. If I get up in the latter situation he tends to wake up! I'm okay sleeping with him from early at the moment as I'm so knackered I just need to sleep when he does, but obviously can't do it forever...

Bet01 Thu 25-Aug-11 16:55:28

Tips, hmm. Well the main thing I've learned is that it's easier to adapt to your baby than the other way round! DS needs to go to bed at 7.30pm or he gets very grouchy. That means we all go to bed at 7.30! But DP and I move the telly to the bedroom and once DS is asleep beside me we watch it until we're tired. We also have to eat dinner early.
It's quite nice really, all snuggled together, and I figure it's not forever so go with it. As soon as I realised I couldn't change DS it got easier.
Naps are always on the bed with me. We tried leaving him and we just got hysterics, so that's that for now. He will nap in his sling, so DP can take him. Will your DC do that?
Not sure what else to add other than not to worry too much, the little buggers change all the time so why waste energy trying to bend them to your will?!

Quenelle Thu 25-Aug-11 16:59:58

Of course. My HV gave me a leaflet on how to do it safely.

FWIW DS napped on my lap on the sofa or on my chest in bed until he was a year old. He still would now if I let him sleep during the day.

lilysma Thu 25-Aug-11 17:46:55

Thanks Bet01. That all makes sense but less easy to fit everything around the baby when you have an older DC. But I agree its difficult to do much to change them, especially when they're so young...

But how do you get anything done??

mollycuddles Thu 25-Aug-11 17:53:45

I did. Dd2 is my third and I'm way past caring what people think about my parenting choices. I don't get a lot done in the evening. But it's nice to rest as I'm always knackered. Working full time and still bf 15 month old dd2 who sleeps poorly. I get dd1 to lie with her occasionally. She is 10 and often lies with me and dd2 to chat to me anyway. So I leave her baby sitting and go and put on washing, tidy up kitchen etc. She loves lying cuddling her see sister so it's a win win. Failing that I get ds, dh and dd1 to do the housework because I'm busy.

DuelingFanjo Thu 25-Aug-11 17:54:37

I have never been asked and have never mentioned it.

RE getting stuff done, I tink ds was about 3-4 months before DS would sleep alone.

matana Thu 25-Aug-11 19:59:51

I told the HV and she was really good. She just told me you have to do what you need to get through sometimes and if that's co-sleeping then just do it safely. DS was very uncomfortable on his back at first and was very windy so we slept with him on our chests. It was the only way we could all sleep. I was wracked with guilt about the 'dangers' until i spoke to her about it. It was so reassuring that i wasn't a freak when she told me she'd spoken to others with the same issue.

JoinTheDots Thu 25-Aug-11 22:09:17

I told mine and she told me to stop or I would never get a good nights sleep. She also said to stop breastfeeding and let dd cry it out alone so I could reclaim my evenings for myself after I made a flippant comment about cluster feeding in the evening being a drag sometimes. Needless to say I have not taken her seriously since.

Ineedacleaneriamalazyslattern Thu 25-Aug-11 22:17:09

With dd and ds1 I did but the are I lived in co-sleeping especially in the earlier days was encouraged. In hospital when they put you on the ward actually tucked your baby up with you to help breastfeeding.
With DS2 i don't think anyone has ever asked but would tell them if they did.
I did eventually through perseverance and sometimes only 5 minute naps at first get them into going for day sleeps in the pram and being able to put them down in the evening but at a month old I just went with it and held them pretty much constantly and am suffering no ill effects with any of them now.
DS2 is 1 and now goes into his own cot at bedtime and stirs when we go up and comes in with us usually sometimes he doesn't and sleeps all night in his cot but it is still very much at the side of my bed. (I have usually co-slept until they choose their own bed/room) DD was about 18 months and started just wandering into her own room when I took her up and ds1 was a few days short of his 3rd birthday.

Ginger4justice Thu 25-Aug-11 22:21:31

My HV suggested it out of the blue and encouraged me to think about it. Maybe I was looking particularly tired though grin .

banana87 Thu 25-Aug-11 22:24:33

I co-slept with DD on the sofa, apparently a really dangerous move. But it wasn't really because I was able to prop myself up (I took all other pillows off the sofa) and the way in which I held her (arm cradled around her) meant that I couldn't roll over or suffocate her. Of course the HV had a field day with this and I have therefore promised to NEVER be honest with them again. Not that I plan on seeing them on purpose 2nd time around.

redbird79 Thu 25-Aug-11 22:45:46

Ive had mixed experiences. Some HVs/midwives are better than others. Some just toe the line and give you the official spiel- others will confess they co-slept and found it a godsend especially with BFing. We are still co-sleeping and DS is 10 months. We never planned to do it, or to carry on this long, but with our baby it was the only way we could all sleep. Regards naps, I let DS fall asleep in my arms then transfer him into reclined highchair lined with one of my jumpers or cot with blankets rolled up around him. We go to bed at night about 10pm so I at least get to watch britain's next top model! If you ever need co-sleeping advice, I found dr sears really good smile

MinnieBar Thu 25-Aug-11 23:00:25

When DD2 was born we ended up in hospital for 9 days after a homebirth (both of us with infections) and when she was eventually allowed back up with me after being in SCBU I got told off by a nursing assistant for co-sleeping with her - despite the fact there was a leaflet on the wall clearly outlining how to co-sleep safely !!
Plus the HV did the 'well you know you're not supposed to do it' wagging-finger thing.

I just shrugged and said I felt it was completely safe in our circumstances (10lb 11oz baby for one, I'm not going to roll over on her without noticing!).

KeepOnSwimming Fri 26-Aug-11 08:49:33

I practically ordered to co-sleep by my home visit midwife when she saw the state the two of us were in with no sleep... she then told DP how we should do it safely, and that was that! DD will NOT sleep alone...

Thumbwitch Fri 26-Aug-11 08:53:18

I co-slept with DS from the off - the MWs in the hospital must have know I was doing it and didn't say; and the MW and HV who came to my house weren't bothered. I think they did just reiterate the guidelines about not smoking and drinking, but apart from that, once I told them that DH slept elsewhere and that DS was not under the duvet etc. (i.e. I was following the guidelines properly) they weren't remotely bothered.

They won't involve SS. So long as you're folllowing the guidelines, which you can pick up off t'internet, you'll be fine whatever they think.

KeepOnSwimming Fri 26-Aug-11 08:53:38

Oh and the health visitor was fine with it as well... well the first one was, haven't mentioned it to the current one, it has never come up in conversation.

worldgonecrazy Fri 26-Aug-11 09:07:13

In response to the sleep question I would always answer, very confidently in a way that would brook no argument: "Of course she's waking a couple of times a night, she's only XX months old, but we're co-sleeping so it's not a problem". I always found the best approach with HVs was to just be super-confident.

Bet01 Fri 26-Aug-11 14:14:45

Lilysma yes definitely wouldn't work with older DC, that must be much, much harder.
As for getting things done, I don't really. I just about manage to bung on some washing while DS practices rolling over on his mat, then when I have lunch I bung him in the jumperoo for 15 mins. Anything else waits until DP gets home and does it, or on the weekend.
It is pretty boring, but it's not forever. Sigh...

lilysma Fri 26-Aug-11 18:40:39

Very interesting... I guess as with all these things experience varies widely! I just noticed that the discharge sheet from the midwives explicitly has a tick box saying 'informed of the dangers of co-sleepng' which is definitely not a positive way to word things...

Had a nap with DS this morning and treasured the moment - I know it will pass all too soon...

Reassuring that some of you found your DCs would sleep alone later on - I do treasure the moments but at the same time sometimes need to get things done and need to give DD some one-to-one attention without 'baby brother' on the shoulder/breast etc.

anangel Wed 31-Aug-11 09:44:09

I'm always open on principle, and have had mixed responses. I always argue my corner! My current HV is OBSSESSED with SIDS and has been very keen to point out the safety aspects, even ringing up the SIDS people to ask if i should be sleeping on an airbed (my futon was too hard and i was sick after having ds2) and gave me a leaflet with the bit about sheepskins underlined (apparently a no-no for sids). I pointed out that there is evidence to suggest that co sleeping reduces the incidence of SIDS (see three in a bed by deborah jackson) and to stop fretting already (ok i didn't actually say the last bit).

I get very impatient with HV's/midwives making judgements about my (very) well informed choices when they tend to be less well informed themselves, at least on those particular things. (co sleeping, breastfeeding in particular).

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