figuring co-sleeping out...please help with advice

Amie - posted on 02/11/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )

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hello,

we have a 3 week old and my husband and I are very interested in co-sleeping but are a little apprehensive because 1) we have no idea how to do it safely 2) people keep telling us it is unsafe and we can hurt the baby.

Please give me advice on how to sleep with our daughter in a safe manner.

Thanks
Amie

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Crystal - posted on 02/11/2009

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I kept our temp in the house up so that I only needed a sheet at the most, i kept only 2 pillows on the bed (if my husband had been home it would have been three but he was in Korea for her first year) one pillow for my head and one for my knees. I'd hold my daughter in the crook of my arm (the same way I would while I was nursing her) and i'd just fall asleep and so would she. Neither of us would move during the night and we slept much better than we would have if I tried to put her in her own bed.

Alessandra - posted on 02/11/2009

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We co-slept from day one...tried a "sleep positioner" for a little while, but it became clear it sort of defeated the purpose for us...my daughter loves contact and so do I! In the early months, before she could move much on her own, we used a "sleep sack" made of flannel and terry to keep her reliably covered and "short sheeted" ourselves to prevent blankets from getting near her. I also used the end of a body pillow instead of a traditional pillow so I could not worry about where the pillow might land. As a first time parent things made me nervous that wouldn't now, but it's a matter of finding your comfort zone. My daughter was born in June, so that helped, too...I wasn't worried about covers for myself in mid summer. By the time the weather got cooler, she had enough mobility to move her head and protect herself. OH...also, we have a "bed rail" on my side of the bed so she could sleep on either the outside or between me and my husband...also made it possible for me to roll over to nurse and not worry about keeping her between us. Hope this helps! Happy to offer advice on specific questions if there's anything else. PS...at 19 months, she still sleeps with us...that part wasn't anticipated, but we've embraced it as it's clear it's what she needs.

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Carol - posted on 03/11/2009

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my son and I sleep together almost every night. what I can reccomend is sleeping on your side with the little one on his/her side as well, either facing or not facing you. I dont move when I sleep with him, my hubby is the heaviest sleeper in the world (he'll literally sleep through a crying fit) but the two of them can have naps together and he wont move.



 



as most ladies have said, dont believe everything about it being unsafe. if you're a smart woman you know whats best for your baby. one thing I can say (and I hope its not nessecary) but never drink or take heavy drugs then sleep with your baby. you wont wake up if they move.

Mary - posted on 02/20/2009

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Amie,



I'll thow my 2 cents out there, as well.  My first child slept in her crib very well.  I would bring her to bed with me when she woke up to nurse in the middle of the night.  I did not sleep as well with her in the bed (a queen size with no bedrail).  With my second child we got one of the co-sleepers that Dr. Sears recommends.  My biggest disappointment with that was that the co-sleeper is not designed to be level with the bed.  The matress is a few inches down.  This was disappointing because I wanted to be able to nurse my son to sleep with me in the bed and him in his sleeper but that was pretty-much impossible.  Now with our third  we have a king-sized futon matress on the floor.  It is wonderful.  It is pretty firm and there is plenty of room and even if the baby does roll off, the 4-6 inch drop may startle him, but will certainly not do any major damage.  Of course we have it in the corner so if he wanted to roll off he would have to go all the way across me and my husband or all the way down to our feet - hah.



As for people telling you it is unsafe. . . a set of sleep-deprived parents are more likely to be unsafe in general.  Be cautious, but don't feel guilty for following your instincts.  You know your baby and how it sleeps best.

Amberlynn Sage - posted on 02/15/2009

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Amie,
You can do it, it is safe, don't listen to them. I too have heard all the advice in the world about how it's not safe to sleep with my son. He's almost 15 mos old today, alive and well and has never had his own bed. I have slept with him next to (or on top of) me since he was born. I have never rolled on him (Though My husband has a few times)...You *will* wake up, I promise. It also makes it much easier to nurse at night, and even diaper changing is a breeze when you leave the stuff you need on the night stand...
If you are worried about it, look into getting a side-sleeper or co-sleeper bed that remains next to your bed and against it, but gives you both your space. They are a little expensive, but worth the effort if you get one that can convert to allow them to sleep in it for their toddlerhood. {Note: I don't recommend getting any co-sleeper, as it really is perfectly safe to sleep with your child. I had no experience, read no books, and the only equipment I used was a bed-rail that had arms that tucked under the mattress to prevent him from falling off when I wanted to sleep next to my husband.}
I was nervous at first too, so we had a bassinet next to the bed in case I felt it was ever too scary I could put him to sleep in the bassinet and go back to sleep, but I only used it twice... when he was younger than four weeks old. Now he gets onto and off of the bed safely on his own, so the rail has been gone for about 8 months. Let me know if you want to talk about it more, but really, its fine. Try it and see how you feel.
Be well,
Sage

Su - posted on 02/15/2009

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also remember that you need to not smoke/drink/take medication that makes you sleepy/have slept more than 4 hours

i wear a v necked long sleeved top in bed so that i can have the cover low and not over baby and i can just pull the top over to breastfeed

hubby will take time to get used to baby being there so dont levae baby in the middle for a while

Brenda - posted on 02/14/2009

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You can check out the Attachment Parenting International website, too, they have a whole list of ways to help moms co sleep/bed share safely.  The general thinking on this issue is slowly turning around.  Believe it or not, your mommy instincts will be the best safty there is.  Basically, make sure you have a firm mattress, not a lot of pillows, block all possible hazards with rolled blankets (like at the headboard) and use a bedrail.  Baby should always sleep on the side of mom (till it is older), and block all cracks between the rail and the bed with rolled blankets/towels.  A baby is not a passive creature that will just lay there and not do anything to protect themselves.  They are capable of squirming, turning their head, and other things to protect themselvs.



I never had a bedrail, but I would fall asleep with my son in the crook of my arm at the very edge of the bed (we had only a full size bed), and would wake up the same way, with my knees pulled up and if he so much as wiggled I'd wake up.  We did have his crib next to our bed because the be was so small, and I'd usually put him in it after he was asleep.  Either co sleeping or bedsharing can be a safe and rewarding experience for both of you!

Amie - posted on 02/12/2009

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I used this http://www.target.com/dp/B00012CHFI/ref=... when she wasn't sleeping on me, so that I didn't have to worry as much about pillows and sheets. We used it until she was old enough to get herself out of it, and at that point pillows and blankets weren't so much of a concern as she could then wiggle her way out from under anything that might be harmful. When she wasn't in this she was in my arms or nursing.

I've co-slept with both of my babies and they are both happy, healthy, wonderful girls! Most parents practice some form of co-sleeping. Take a nap on the couch with baby in arms? Co-sleeping. Bring her to bed the third time you have to wake up and walk down the hall? Co-sleeping. The point is that those situations are more dangerous than making a decision to do it full time, properly preparing your bed and yourselves, and then creating a safe, loving family bed.

I would suggest a bedrail, or pushing the bed up against a wall. Keep the pillows to a minimum, no heavy or poofy blankets. Make sure there's no gap between the mattress and the headboard or footboard or bedrail, if you have really long hair, sleep with it up. Don't take any drugs (prescription, OTC, or otherwise), or alcohol and co-sleep. And, last but not least, enjoy!

Here is a very informative article by Dr. Sears all about co-sleeping :
http://www.askdrsears.com/html/7/T071000...

Crystal - posted on 02/12/2009

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My husband was a heavy sleeper also, but he used to fall asleep with the babies on him and he wouldn't move either, and he'd wake up if the baby moved too much.

He adjusted really quickly.

[deleted account]

You need to start out not having the baby sleep next to your husband.  It is really true when they say as the mom you will just know things when you are sleeping that your husband won't.  I don't know how to explain it.  You really do get a "sense" of the baby.  The dad's just don't have that.  I'm not sure why.  My advice is to read a cosleeping book maybe Dr. Sears.  We always wanted to cosleep but my husband is a heavy sleeper.  My daughter wouldn't sleep unless she was on me so we had no choice.  We kept her away from my husband for a long time.   We did try a snuggle nest, but my daughter refused to go in it.  She wanted to be on me.  Be honest with you we found it best not to share our sleeping arrangements or any parental decision with most people.  Judgment is everywhere and it just wasn't worth the frustration for us.  You can't take any medication that would make you tired or drink at all while cosleeping.  Cosleeping is wonderful.  There is nothing better than cuddling my little girl.  I will say that if you have plans on moving the baby  to her crib/own room in the near future I wouldn't start cosleeping.  It is pretty hard to stop cosleeping once you start.  The baby loves the comfort (most of the time -- some babies end up needing more space) and doesn't like sleeping by herself.  If you are more comfortable you can get a bedside cosleeper which connects to the side of your bed.  I think that would make it easier to move the baby to a crib later on, though I didn't use one.   www.askdrsears.com should help you.  You can type in "cosleeping" and get a lot of information.

Amie - posted on 02/11/2009

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Quoting Alessandra:

We co-slept from day one...tried a "sleep positioner" for a little while, but it became clear it sort of defeated the purpose for us...my daughter loves contact and so do I! In the early months, before she could move much on her own, we used a "sleep sack" made of flannel and terry to keep her reliably covered and "short sheeted" ourselves to prevent blankets from getting near her. I also used the end of a body pillow instead of a traditional pillow so I could not worry about where the pillow might land. As a first time parent things made me nervous that wouldn't now, but it's a matter of finding your comfort zone. My daughter was born in June, so that helped, too...I wasn't worried about covers for myself in mid summer. By the time the weather got cooler, she had enough mobility to move her head and protect herself. OH...also, we have a "bed rail" on my side of the bed so she could sleep on either the outside or between me and my husband...also made it possible for me to roll over to nurse and not worry about keeping her between us. Hope this helps! Happy to offer advice on specific questions if there's anything else. PS...at 19 months, she still sleeps with us...that part wasn't anticipated, but we've embraced it as it's clear it's what she needs.


Thanks so much for the advice!  Where did you purchase a "bed rail"?



 



Amie

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