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Parents Panel: How did you decide where your baby should sleep?

Night feeds, room-sharing – and a menagerie of soft toys in the bed.

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AS PART OF TheJournal.ie’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. With that in mind, we’ve launched TheJournal.ie Parents Panel.

This week, we’re asking our panel about cots, cribs and having three in the bed… How did you decide where your baby should sleep?

There are plenty of potential parent-and-baby sleeping arrangements, from bed-sharing, to using a sidecar crib attached to the bed, to using a cot or giving the baby their own room.

Of course, safety should be your primary consideration when choosing where your little one should sleep. Official HSE guidelines on the topic of safe baby sleep can be found here.

Here’s what our panel had to say…

Parents Panel All 7

Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly.

My sons were in my bed every night for six months
Both my sons slept in my bed with me from day one until they were six months old, because it made breastfeeding much easier. I took lots of precautions like cocooning them in a blanket or using blankets as little barriers around them.

- Suzie Kelly

My toddler sleeps with me, but it’s tough going
I am co-sleeping with my toddler, not through choice but because it is the only way I can get any sleep. If I try to leave the bed, even just for the bathroom, she seems to sense that I am not there and she’s awake straight away. It is very hard as I’d sometimes love five minutes to myself after she goes to bed, and with co-sleeping you don’t get that.

- Denise Cumiskey

shutterstock_574687228 Source: Shutterstock/seirceil

We didn’t co-sleep. In hindsight we should have
We, very intentionally, did not co-sleep at all for the first six months so that we wouldn’t have a toddler who needed to be in our bed to sleep. But if we were to have another child, I’d do things differently. Feeding Charlie in bed and then putting him back in his cot resulted in a lot of getting up and out of bed unnecessarily. I would have been much better rested if he’d just been sleeping beside me (and based on some of the research, Charlie probably would have slept better as well).

- Kait Quinn

It was so sad finally moving them to their own room
Both of my children slept in a co-sleeper cot attached to our bed until they were six months old. I missed them both terribly when I eventually moved them into their own rooms. The first big separation. I don’t know what I’ll do when they eventually move out!

- Denise

He sleeps in our room, but for us it’s normal
When Tymek was born he slept in a Moses basket beside the bed and now at 19 months he’s in a cot at the other side of the room. Once a week he might come into the bed for a cuddle. We don’t mind having him in the room for now. In Poland, children share their parents’ room for much longer than Ireland, sometimes up to three years old.

- Marta Lisiecka

shutterstock_530633872 Source: Shutterstock/Andrii Spy_k

We have a regular 5am visitor – complete with soft toys
Our son has been in his own room since he was three months old, but most nights he arrives in our bed around 5am. It’s not ideal but we are still trying to cherish these moments. One of the best things you can have as a parent is a kingsize bed, because a toddler takes up an awful lot of room; especially when he arrives in with multiple soft toys! Usually he gives each of us a soft toy when he comes into the room and insists we say thank you.

- Olly Keegan

I co-slept with my first, but knew better with my second
With Daniel, my eldest, I fell into a bad habit of letting him sleep in our bed after I had gotten up to give him a night feed, because it was easier and quicker, and I was desperate to get back to bed myself. Overall though, it led to even worse sleep for me, as Daniel would do more twists and tumbles in his sleep than an Olympic gymnast. Lessons learnt, we tried our best to avoid letting our younger son sleep in our bed at all costs.

- Ken Hyland

Co-sleeping made night feeds so much easier
I co slept with all of my kids, and my youngest two still come into my bed during the night. When they were still babies, it was the only way I could guarantee a full night’s sleep for everyone, and it was so handy for night feeds. I could just lie there all cozy in the bedclothes while the baby had a feed. Obviously you don’t do it if you are a drinker or smoker but for the majority of parents it’s a fantastic way of ensuring a restful night for all.

- Susannah O’Brien

Official HSE guidelines on the topic of safe baby sleep can be found here.

Parents Panel: How do you keep your kids active during the colder months?

Parents Panel: What potty training tactics worked with your toddler?

Want to win a night of luxury in the sumptuous surrounds of Clontarf Castle Hotel? Enter here. Don’t forget to like TheJournal.ie’s Family Magazine on Facebook and Twitter too!

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