Sleeping like a baby? Why even a six foot bed isn't big enough

It's sleep month here on TalkMum; here's Laura, with five baby sleeping positions that may sound familiar to most parents.

Watching your baby or small child while they sleep is a real delight for any parent. Your heart swells with pride, joy and love as they lie in their beds curled up and content. Peaceful and angelic.

That is until they venture into your bedroom.

Maybe it’s because they had a bad dream, maybe they simply woke up earlier than normal and are in search of a cuddle. Whatever the reason, a child venturing into your bedroom can only mean two things…

…A full night’s sleep for them. A terrible one for you.

Children have an uncanny knack of knowing how big a bed is, even when they appear sound asleep. Since becoming a mother I’ve discovered that they seem to love nothing more than laying claim to that most precious parental sanctuary - your bed. Within minutes of welcoming a little child under your duvet you can find yourself banished to the very edges, teetering on the brink between comfy mattress and cold, hard floor for the rest of the night. Even a six-foot bed just isn’t big enough.

But how exactly do they do it? I’ve come to realise that every child has some sort of ‘automatic pilot’ when it comes to co-sleeping with mum and dad. It’s this that makes them a less than perfect bedfellow where parents are concerned. Here are five sleeping positions, all designed to limit your own peaceful slumber, that I've had the misfortune to experience.

1) The Starfish

We all enjoy it when we can stretch out in bed and, from what I can fathom, this starts at an early age. I don’t know any child who hasn’t clambered into their parents’ bed, loved the extra space and stretched out every limb to enjoy it, just like a starfish. Bliss for them, not so much for you.

2) The Log

This is when your child decides the only way they an possibly get some shut-eye is to lie horizontally between you and your partner across the middle of your bed and then not move even one inch all night. And if you try to move them, they just crawl right back into position.

3) The Contortionist

This is pretty similar to ‘The Starfish’, the main difference being that they will spread out and contort their bodies into all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes. Combine this with your child tossing and turning all night and it can mean a double heap of of misery. There’s been many a time I’ve woken up to find a foot in my face!

4) The Rollover

You’re asleep. Your child is sound asleep. You’re all sharing the bed space equally. It’s a perfect scenario. But then you turn over from your back to your side towards the side of the bed and BAM, your child has instantly rolled over into the space you were occupying just a second before and is now nestled into the crook of your back still fast asleep. The trouble with this manoeuvre is that you can’t easily move your child without rolling back to do it, but you can’t roll back because your child is lying right behind you. So you remain trapped on your side for the rest of the night and terrified of moving even the slightest inch.

5) The 'Cuddle'

This has to be one of the most sneakiest moves ever. They inch over to you and wrap their arms around you in a loving embrace. Your heart melts because of the gesture... and then you realise your little 'darling' is fast asleep and has managed to trap you right by the edge of the bed while they enjoy the rest of the space.

Can you identify with any of these? Do you have any more to add?

Laura is a full-time working mother of two fabulous but sometimes fiendishly cheeky young children. When’s she’s not chasing her brood around the house or wiping chocolate off the furniture, Laura works in PR and also as a freelance journalist. She pens the award-nominated parenting blog, Chez Mummy and in 2012 founded Working Parents United, a website to support working mothers and fathers across the UK.

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