If you co-sleep when you do not want to co-sleep, but your baby makes you co-sleep, then your night may go a little something like this. Although for your sake, I hope that it does not.
11 PM: Start the night with everyone in their own bed or crib, resolute to remain that way until morning.
12:30 AM: Get up to shush the baby back to sleep.
1:30 AM: Get up to rock the baby back to sleep.
2 AM: Get up to go to the toilet. Wish you had done your pelvic floor exercises.
2:45 AM: Get up to rock the baby back to sleep. Baby will not be rocked back to sleep. Feel cold and very tired. Bring the baby into bed; this will be the last time (which is what you always say).
2:50 AM: Follow safe co-sleeping protocol by protecting your eyes and vital organs from kicks, pulls and punches as the baby makes himself comfortable.
2:55 AM: Receive a heavy blow to the temple. How did his foot even get up there? Ever professional, remain silent and swear only in your head.
3 AM: Along with your partner, cling nervously to the edge of the bed and marvel how one tiny baby can take up so much room, and also grow extra limbs.
3:10 AM: In mime form, discuss your octopus baby with partner, and the lack of space for three of you. Watch him stumble a little gleefully to the spare room as the baby steals the space he left behind. Still cling to the edge of the bed.
3:15AM: As you wait for the baby to settle (stop assaulting you), feel grateful that you are at least lying down rather than stood in the nursery playing a desperate round of 'shush-pat'.
3:20 AM: Baby falls asleep so you immediately need to cough. Attempt to ignore this natural, involuntary impulse but let out a small strangled bark, much like a sick dog.
3:25 AM: Fail to loosen baby's vice-like grip from your hair. You are exhausted; you can sleep through this pain.
3:26 AM: You cannot sleep through this pain. Again, swear silently, but with gusto.
3:30 AM: Think these thoughts in a repeated cycle: Nobody else co-sleeps. Co-sleeping is natural. Co-sleeping creates dependency. Co-sleeping is right for us. I will regret co-sleeping. I wonder if my scalp is bleeding. We are almost out of bread.
3:55 AM: Gaze at your baby and enjoy the closeness of him curled up next to you. Listen to his rhythmic breathing and begin to drift off.
5:15 AM: Wake up, suddenly panicked that the baby isn't there. He is; with his head on your weak and tiny bladder.
5:20 AM: Ignore the desperate urge for the loo and try to fall back asleep. Consider if bed-wetting is an acceptable alternative to waking the baby. Are undecided.
5:25 AM: Dare to move your baby's head - success! Fall back asleep.
6:15 AM: Wake to your baby smacking you repeatedly in the face, and smiling. It has been another good night... for him.