Co-sleeping practicalities?

Anne - posted on 03/24/2010 ( 7 moms have responded )





I have only recently become aware of the whole attachment parenting thing and I was wondering what counts as co-sleeping. Do you have to be in contact with your baby the whole night? We have taken one side of my baby's cot and pushed a bed up against it. I lay propped up in the bed next to her and when she wakes up (every hour) I lift her over to me. The night is divided between me holding her and her sleeping in her cot next to me until my mom takes over. My mom does a shift so I can get some sleep because with my baby waking so frequently I don't manage to get more than an hour while in with her. Is this co-sleeping or not?

Also when you are co-sleeping and nursing in bed what do you wear? Do you switch sides and move baby to the other side of the bed in the night? Where do you put your arms - under baby or on top of her head?

Interested about how it all works.


Brenda - posted on 03/25/2010




I have a bedrail. We snuggle all the night. In fact don't even own anything else!

As far as nursing clothes, I took two old t shirts and cut the front out of them, so I can still have my back and shoulders covered.

Geralyn - posted on 03/24/2010




Yep, you are definitely co-sleeping! Its wonderful to have your mom take her so that you get some rest. I used to move to switch sides and just roll my little one over.... If I slept on my side with my knees pulled up and my arm under my head or pillow, I always felt like I could not possibly "roll over" on my baby. Also, it was great for nursing. Now that my son is older and weaned (how sad for me...). I just sleep next to him.

Jenny - posted on 03/24/2010




With my first baby I woud start her in her crib and when she woke up to nurse I'd bring her into bed. With my new baby I've had her in my bed since day one. I'm so much more rested and as a result much more relaxed and enjoying her more.

At first I had her about a foot away from me, with her head at about my shoulder height but she always scooches over until her head is snuggled against some part of me, so now I just place her right beside me. She nurses every 3 hours or so and i just move her from one side to the next. I also put a pillow behind my back for support. Before I go to bed I put a pillow on either side of the edge of the bed so when I roll to the other side I don't have to switch my back pillow.

As soon as Emma starts to stir I help her latch and then usually drift back to sleep. She doesn't even really wake up and I barely do.

I've had a lot of comments that I'm just asking for trouble later on, or I'm spoiling her, or making her too dependent, but this is what works for us and I would do the same thing again. I love the cuddling!

Minnie - posted on 03/24/2010




Like Traci said, cosleeping is simply sharing the same space- typically the bedroom. Bedsharing is when you sleep in the same bed.

Basically, do what works for you and keeps your baby feeling secure. That's all :)

I sleep in bed with my 17 month old and have since she was born. I usually wear a stretchy tank top and just pull my breast out the top. Since I block feed because I've always had oversupply I usually get two or three waking/nursing sessions out of one side. When the first breast is empty I scooch her over to the other side.

I usually put my arm under my head. I use a body pillow behind me so I can lean into it, and I also curl it under my knees for support.

Try sleeping while she nurses. You'll get more sleep!

Erin - posted on 03/24/2010




Hi AnneMarie,

Co-sleeping is "mother and baby sleeping within arm's reach of one another." So yes, you are co-sleeping! The purpose is to be able to respond to your baby's needs as quickly as possible, and once you're accustomed to it, you don't even necessarily wake up completely - and better yet your baby doesn't have to either. I firmly believe part of my child's very calm demeanor stems from her learning early on that she didn't need to cry to get our attention and have her needs taken care of - day or night. I can't tell you how many comments we heard that people were amazed she never cried (after a few months old).

Our daughter also woke approximately every hour during the night for the first 3 months or so, and nursed for about 40 minutes of every hour during the day. As for what I wore at night, about 2 weeks after she was born I gave up on shirts altogether - day and night. I was just going to take it off within minutes of putting it on, so why bother!? My husband and I have also always slept naked, so aside from underwear (post-birth necessity), that was how I slept for at least 9 months. Once we cut out nighttime nursing, around 14 months old, I started wearing a shirt to bed. But I quickly learned that the shirt needed to have a mid-to-low neckline so my daughter could still snuggle against my chest in the morning. No skin to cuddle and she'd wake right up. As for location I kept her in the middle of the bed (we didn't have a cosleeper at the time) and learned to adjust myself so she could nurse from both sides. My bedside arm is always over her head when I'm on my side facing her, and my other arm drapes over her hip/bum. As she nursed less I could move to my back, stomach, and even face away from her when she wasn't nursing to switch up the positions.

Here are a couple of links from my two favorite doctors to explain the benefits you're giving your baby!:

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Anne - posted on 03/27/2010




Thanks all of you. I'm glad to hear that we are officially doing the co-sleeping thing (useful links thanks) because I have heard so much about the benefits. I wish I could do the whole night instead of my mom doing part of it. I am very lucky to have her help I know. My baby is very close to her granny but I know she would prefer me to be there the whole night. I've been trying to get her back in to nursing - I started exclusively pumping milk at 6 months and she is now 13 months but unfortunately she's not taking to it so we will have to stick to bottles. I was hoping that if she went back to nursing I could do as you have all suggested and sleep through it! Wish I had been more informed from the start. Great job you are all doing btw :-)

Traci - posted on 03/24/2010




AFAIK, co-sleeping means simply sharing the same space. I scooch away from Reagan at night, so she will not have to be close to me all the time (though, at times I do sunggle her up into my arms and sleep that way.)

I used to wear a bra to bed, until I started getting really deep painful bruises from the underwire. Now I just wear a t-shirt. And I can't begin to explain how to nurse or where to put your arms, you just have to figure out what is most comfortable for you. I usually have her about a third of the way down my torso, and put my arm under my head. I think. I don't know, I'm usually half-asleep when this happens ;)

Here's a page on how to turn your crib into a co-sleeper...

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