Us moms are usually the ones our babies nuzzle the most, the first ones up and the last ones to fall asleep, and usually the ones feeding the baby, especially if we’re breastfeeding. Then there’s that whole we-just-gave-birth thing and the still-healing thing. So, yes, it's important every mom sets aside time for self-care — especially if you're co-sleeping. Co-sleeping can be a wonderful thing, to be sure, but it can also be exhausting. I know there were plenty of things I did for myself when co-sleeping, and frankly, I regret nothing.
Honestly, co-sleeping in and of itself was something I did more for myself than my baby. I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from losing my first child and experiencing two traumatic births (including my son’s). I could barely stand to be away from my son once I finally had him home, and the thought of having him sleep in another room sent me into a tailspin of relentless emotions. In other words, part of my self-care process as a new mom was choosing to co-sleep.
I also knew that, at least for my partner and I, it would just be better to have my son close. So we co-slept and, eventually, we also bed-shared. Regardless of our sleeping arrangement, though, or the reasons why it was the right one for my family, I didn’t forget to treat myself to some extras whenever I had the chance. So, with that in mind and because no mom should be on the bottom of her own priority list, here's how I took some time out for myself while co-sleeping.
I Snuck In Solo Naps
When you co-sleep, sleeping by yourself is a damn luxury. When I had the chance (like if my mom was watching my son), I totally snuck in the occasional power nap. Yes, it was glorious.
I Snuck Out Of Bed Early For Solo Time
I never used to understand why my dad would wake up at 5:00 a.m. every morning and even on his off days when I was a kid. I get it now, though. The man just wanted some solo time in his house, without having to hear us all moving about and yammering on.
I Made The Bed More Often
Honestly, co-sleeping kept me changing the sheets and keeping the bed looking nice more often than usual. Something about it made the experience a bit more pleasant. Plus, it’s just a good habit to have.
I Purchased More Comfortable Bedding
I figured if the bed has to be used by all of us, it might as well be extra cozy, right? I totally went out and bought a higher thread-count bedspread. No regrets.
I Used Extra Pillows
I didn’t bed-share until my son was older and it was safe to use pillows. Having said that, he started taking up a pillow and suddenly I was feeling the need for more. Damn right I treated myself to a few extras (again, when it was safe to do so).
I Did Yoga Before Bed
Bedtime yoga helps me wind down for the night. I don’t always remember to do it, but I would do it occasionally while we bed-shared as a family. It was definitely for my benefit only.
I Used Headphones
Sometimes I didn’t really feel ready to fall asleep. I’d use headphones to listen to a podcast or watch a TV show or listen to some music. I guess this was technically for everyone’s benefit.
I Picked Which Side Of The Bed I Wanted First
Sometimes I liked being up against the wall. Sometimes I wanted to be between my son and husband. Other times, the edge of the bed was best. Either way, and while my husband was also cool with it, I made sure to carefully select my side every night so I’d have the most comfort throughout.