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I have 4 children, a boy of 17, girl of 15 and two boys aged 3 and 18 months.
At this stage it really feels as if I have every parenting issue to deal with.

Let me start by saying I have always believed that your children are people, your very best friends. They are the ones you WANT to spend your time with and ENJOY respecting as the incredible human beings that they are.
It has come to my attention, over and over again, that not everyone seems to accept these parenting principles.

“Dont you want to have a night out away from your children?” No
“Dont you want your life back?” Errm I’m not too sure where you’re coming from here..my children ARE my life.
“Your children shouldn’t be your friends they wont accept rules from you” Respect is surely built on mutual respect..what nonsense!

…and now, as I get constantly asked “Are you STILL breastfeeding..?” Yes and there is no STILL about it!

The latest issue to cause stirring of disapproval is the fact that I cosleep with my 18 month old.
It is no secret to those that know me that I am an insomniac and have been for the last 17 years..coinciding of course with the birth of my first-born. From the early years half of me never really sleeps and I am “on guard” listening out for any sign that my child may be disturbed in any way.
To me this is quite normal. This is how it is to be a Mum. You are the guardian of these wonderful little people and you want to make sure they are comfortable and happy at all times. What on earth could be wrong with that?
My last two children have been bad sleepers with Reuben, 18 months, awaking on average every two hours.
I work from home and try to work around the children which isn’t easy but its my preference.
After so many years of limited sleep I started to feel really run down. I can only describe the feeling as mounting panic with palpitations and constant nausea thrown in for good measure.
Reuben slept in a cot in our bedroom and I found myself  hopping in and out of bed so frequently that I found it impossible to get back to sleep.
I’d feed Roo then he would fail to settle so I’d be up again. My body seemed incapable of falling back into a real sleep because it had learnt that as soon as it did so it would be woken up!
I was beginning to feel really desperate and actually near to suicidal. I think I was losing the power to reason and just turning into kind of soulless robot.
It is here that I will admit that part of the reason I hadn’t coslept before was the ridiculous stigma attached to it.
“You’ll never get him into his own bed”! WHY did I listen to this ludicrous statement?
I could have saved myself so much angst.
My local health visitor had already suggested that I leave my son to Cry it Out although I had repeatedly told her that I would not contemplate doing this. Indeed I am INCAPABLE of this method. It goes against all my instincts and natural parenting ideals.
I asked my husband  how he’d feel if I took Reuben into bed with us, making a neat little space for him between us.
At this stage it was obvious to all household members that I was becoming quite physically ill through sleep deprivation and my husband was only too happy to have Reuben in our bed on a more permanent footing.
The first few night were difficult. My insomnia peaked and I lay awake most of the night listening out for sounds I knew to signify Roo wanted a feed. It was almost as if I had to recondition my brain and body into not leaping out of bed every two hours.
On the third night something magical happened.
Reuben only woke twice..something unheard of for him!
It became obvious that he was sleeping more deeply sometimes awaking briefly only to snuggle up to my husband or I and settle back to sleep.
To me this feels like the most wonderful, nurturing, comfortable thing I can do with my child.
I breastfeed him throughout the night as required but now we all stay cosy and warm and the actual QUALITY of sleep is so much better.

We have been cosleeping for the last 4 months now and although before Reuben often came into our bed he rarely stayed there all night.
Now he wakes beside us and I feel his little hand batting at face, playfully hoping for my eyes to open.
What could be a more wonderful sight than that little face first thing in the morning?

I still endure sour comments from ignorant  people but my friends and family have been incredibly supportive.
My insomnia is still a lurking ghoul but there is no doubt about it…cosleeping saved my life!

Fizzylady – Sylvie Foxworthy

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