to be utterly baffled by how cosleeping works?

(121 Posts)
NellyBluth Fri 05-Oct-12 12:06:23

Firstly, this is absolutely nothing against cosleeping. I think it must be a lovely thing to do if it works for your family, and I'm sure it is much more convenient if you are b/f and the baby feeds several times a night.

But I've just always struggled to get my head around the logistics!

How does it actually work, having a baby in bed with you? I was thinking about this the other day after one of the sleep threads where people were recommending cosleeping to solve some problems. DD has never coslept with us. When she was very tiny she occasionally came in with me after she woke at 6 or 7am, but I would have so sleep in a very strange position so that I was wrapped around her and felt confident that I couldn't roll over, and it wasn't a position I would feel able to sleep the whole night in. Ditto the very, very odd occasion when I have just fallen asleep napped with her during the day on the bed.

I can kind of see that if you have your baby with you from the beginning, especially if you have them at home for the very first night, you might snuggle up in bed and then it sort of develops from there. But how does this work as the baby starts getting older? Do they sleep alone in the bed until you go up a few hours later, or do you and the baby go to bed at the same time? How does it work with the duvet and pillows? What about if one parents wants to go to bed at a different time? And how on earth do they not either fall out of the bed or end up under the duvet when they start wriggling around (or do I just have an odd 8mo who moves constantly and loves to sleep pressed against the bars of the cot?!)

Quite often cosleeping is suggested on here as a fix for sleep problems, but I can't help but think that if your baby is 6, 7, 8mo and happy in their cot, suddenly cosleeping might cause more problems than it fixes. But maybe that's just because I can't figure out how you share a bed safely with a little one. DD would fall out the bed within about ten minutes grin. AIBU to be baffled by this? Am I the only one who is baffled?

SamSmalaidh Fri 05-Oct-12 12:49:25

Lambzig - yes, formula fed babies are at a slightly higher risk of SIDS in any case, and breastfeeding mothers sleep less deeply and are more responsive in their sleep to their breastfed babies than non-breastfeeders. This is also why it is important that babies are only positioned next to their mothers and not their fathers (or anyone else).

EdMcDunnough Fri 05-Oct-12 12:49:26

Vivienne, I think I sleep better than if I had to get up whenever a baby cried.

It means I can just breastfeed, without having properly to wake up, and much less get up, which would force me to reach a higher level of wakefulness than just staying put and giving the baby my breast.

And imagine when the baby doesn't go straight back to sleep! Horrifying to have to just sit there, upright, or walk around jiggling them.

Also if you are breastfeeding, where do you then feed the baby once you've gone to it? I suppose a nursing chair or something? I haven't room for one of those so would end up back on the bed anyway.

Meglet Fri 05-Oct-12 12:52:37

I am unable to sleep with the dc's in the same bed. I can't relax at all, I just lie there terrified to move!

MainlyMaynie Fri 05-Oct-12 12:55:42

We have 'my' side of the bed pushed up against the wall and DS sleeps between me and the wall. He sleeps in a grobag with the duvet well away. I do sleep a lot of the night facing him, but some of the time on my back. If I want a drink I have one a good few hours before I go to sleep. But we didn't co-sleep when he was newborn and I didn't have anything to drink until he was over 6 months old. I feed him to sleep and he still has little feeds during the night, but none of us really wake for them.

None of mine have been good sleepers, especially ds3. if it wasn't for him being so prem I'd probably have tried co sleeping at some point out of sheer bloody exhaustion!

porcamiseria Fri 05-Oct-12 12:57:49

when we co slept DS was on one side of double, me on the other. I did worry to start wth, but frankly as he fed very 2 hour I did not get into a deep sleep anyway!!

I read something about BF mums and co-sleeping (on her I suspect) that really comforted me

I LOVED it, poor DS1 was in his own room and cot by 3 months sad

NellyBluth Fri 05-Oct-12 12:58:29

Lambzig, though there is a slightly higher risk of SIDS anyway for ff babies (and I remember your other thread about ff, I also had to ff from birth so I hope you don't get worried by this thread), I was thinking more that if you are ff you need to get up to make the bottle, rather than just rolling over and feeding while you and the baby are half asleep.

Ed, I guess this debate comes down to how well baby sleeps anyway! We have been very lucky with DD who, while day time naps have been a battle since day one, she has slept well at night. So even from about two, three months old we were able to do a dream feed and then one feed at about 4am. I would get up, take her next door in to her nursery, and feed her in a dim light there. But then DP does a physically demanding, shift work job so his sleep was more of an issue than mine was at that stage. But if the baby is up several times a night for months, then I can see how cosleeping is far more attractive.

And thumbwitch, I stick in the same category as being baffled by how people do things with electrics and wires, or cook extravagent meals - I just look at it and think, "eh? what what?" smile

MangoLangoTango Fri 05-Oct-12 13:02:02

I love waking up to the sound of DS chattering and giggling and now that it's getting colder it's like bringing a wriggly hot water bottle to bed. I am frankly lazy and if I had to get out of bed at each time DS woke up I would be the worst grump in the world. With him in bed he just helps himself to boob then rolls over and carry on sleeping. I put him to bed at seven then join him about 11. We have taught him to safely climb down the bed bum and legs first and he sleep on the side of the bed next to the wall, or between DH and me.

I've always just sat up in bed when bf, although again that would be my fear of him being prem and falling asleep with him.

Ds3 never took to bf and I expressed so had to get up anyway. Now that I did find a pita especially 2-3 hourly feeds taking an hour each time and then having to express inbetween.

PeazlyPops Fri 05-Oct-12 13:06:10

We co-slept from 4-6 months, as 4 month sleep regression kicked in and DS would sleep right through the night in our bed, but woke hourly in his crib at the bottom of our bed.

DS slept in the middle, with DH one side, me the other. We were under the duvet, DS was on top of the duvet in his gro bag.

We stopped a few nights ago and DS now sleeps in his nursery, as he rolls and wants to sleep on his front, and I'm worried about him burying his face into the duvet.

PeazlyPops Fri 05-Oct-12 13:07:25

Forgot to add that we FF, but we are both still very in tune with DS.

aufaniae Fri 05-Oct-12 13:08:19

A super-king definitely makes it much easier.

But I reckon there's soem strange biology going on which helps ...

DP says DS and I were weirdly in tune in our sleep, our movements would mirror each others.

I've always been a really heavy sleeper - but still to this day I wake with the slightest murmur from DS, but can sleep through any number of loud disturbances.

I found we'd get about an hour more sleep when DS was a baby, once we started co-sleeping. (We didn't do it from the beginning as DP wasn't sure at first). Before co-sleeping, DS would wake about 7, and be up for the morning. Once we started co-sleeping, he'd roll over at 7, have a feed then go back so sleep for an hour. Great smile

FreudianLisp Fri 05-Oct-12 13:20:07

I've been co-sleeping with my 23-month-old twins for the last few months because they've been ill quite a bit and waking up (and then waking each other up - it's almost impossible to get them both to go back to sleep.) Husband gets exiled to the spare room and I've pushed the bed up against the wall. The twins sleep between me and the wall and I try and keep the duvet away from them. This would work really well if it weren't for the fact that they massively disturb each other. I'm frequently woken by hysterical giggling in the small hours as one of them has decided to tickle his brother... I still love it, though, even though I'm a sleep-deprived zombie.

GoSakuramachi Fri 05-Oct-12 13:20:43

I don't get the confusion. You sleep, in the same bed. Thats pretty much it.

Lambzig Fri 05-Oct-12 13:37:15

Thanks Nelly and Sam. I was just genuinely interested as I did co-sleep sometimes with DD despite ff and didnt know it had increased risk. Never got out of bed to get the bottle as DH always always went to get it for me (not sure quite how I managed that one), so would just pull DD over from her cot next to the bed (so no need to get out then either) into bed with me, cuddle her until DH appeared with the bottle and then sometimes she stayed in bed with me.

Does leave me with the dilemma as to whether I do that again with this one now I know its increased risk.

(oops dont mean to hijack)

NellyBluth Fri 05-Oct-12 13:37:48

Freudian, that sounds so cute!

GoSakuramachi - um... my confusion was about duvets, and pillows, and babies falling out of bed, and babies wriggling under duvets...?

I wonder if there is a chicken and egg element to this. So, if you cosleep from newborn until, say, 8mo (as this is the age DD is and the age I can't imagine safely sharing a bed with) then your baby maybe doesn't move around as much. But the baby is in a cot from a young age, they move more because they can. Not sure if I've explained that well, but I guess I mean that I can't imagine sharing a bed with DD now because I know she would roll, fidget and wriggle to find the edge and... straight off. But that's because in her cot she can roll, fidget and wriggle and just ends up pressed safely against the cot edge.

NellyBluth Fri 05-Oct-12 13:40:07

Lambzig, by all means do some reading - I'm sure someone on here will have links to helpful research on this - but as with all baby decisions, its up to you to decide. If you feel you are low risk anyway because you have reduced the rest of the SIDS risks then I personally wouldn't let the slight increase in risk for ff babies put you off cosleeping if that is what you want to do.

KenLeeeeeee Fri 05-Oct-12 13:44:52

I've coslept with all mine from day 1 to when they were about 1-ish. As they got old enough to sleep through a portion of the night, they'd spend that time asleep in a carrycot downstairs (until 6 months, then in the cot upstairs) and then when they woke for a night time feed, DH scoots downstairs to our sofa while me and baby share the bed.

The bed is in the middle of the room, so no risk of getting stuck between the bed and wall. We've ditched duvets for blankets and keep pillows well away from baby. I lie on my side with my knees bent up below baby and arm stretched out above so I form a sort of wall around to stop any wriggling away.

Gradually, the time spent sleeping in the cot gets longer and longer until they sleep right through by themselves. Easy peasy!

GoSakuramachi Fri 05-Oct-12 13:46:06

you just find a position that is safe and suits you. You sleep more lightly anyway, and are somehow aware of where they are even when you are asleep.

carabos Fri 05-Oct-12 13:46:53

Co-slept with DS2 until he was weaned at 27 months. It was hell. None of us got a decent night's sleep. Looking back now, I think the reason he was waking for comfort feeds every 45 minutes every night for more than 2 years was because being in with us disturbed him so it was a vicious circle. I stopped BF because I wanted my body back thought he was ready when he went to nursery and the minute he went into his own bed he never looked back.

He's never been back in our bed since apart from late night chats after the pub and Xmas morning and apart from when we are away (he's 20 next month).

CrunchyFrog Fri 05-Oct-12 13:57:17

I co-slept from birth with mine.

They are 9, 7 and 3 now. The oldest has only slept in with me once in the last year, the middle one only about once a fortnight, and the little one still every night, but he has his own bed now and can sleep there if he can find it under the toys chooses.

They never fell out, I slept curled round them. They all BF but continued co-sleeping after weaning from boob.

I didn't smoke or drink at all for several years. I do now, but limit the drinks when DS Is going to be sleeping with me (is with XH 2 nights a week.)

maddening Fri 05-Oct-12 14:00:05

I never intended to cosleep but started at 10mths when going back to work and ds was sick a lot from starting nursery. Df sleeps downstairs on an aerobed (which he likes as he has tv and Xbox) and until recently ds and I were in a kinhsize bed - we are still bf (ds is 20mths now). He fell out twice in 8mths but we had cushions down on the floor. I went to bed when ds did.

You can get bed rails but never got any as the cosleeping was meant to be temporary haha.

We are now on a mattress on ds' bedroom floor as we try and coax him into his bed - next step is to turn the cotbed into a bed so it is up against my mattress and if ds can go in his bed I might try gradual removal but no rush really. The mattress also means I can leave ds with a stairgate on his bedroom door and.go downstairs woohoo!

NellyBluth Fri 05-Oct-12 14:00:43

Carabos - I think the reason he was waking for comfort feeds every 45 minutes every night for more than 2 years was because being in with us disturbed him so it was a vicious circle - I think that's something that has always intrigued me about cosleeping, the possibility that that was happening. Or the possibility that babies are waking for feeds because it is easily there. But there isn't really a way of finding that out, and if the baby is waking because it genuinely does want food then it would just be sheer hell for everyone to try moving them to another room before they are ready for it.

I know from our experience that all three of us slept better when DD went into her own room, and she immediately dropped one of her wakings which suggested it was a matter of her either being disturbed by us, or us responding to a light wake that she would happily settle herself from.

But of course every baby and every family is different, this thread is certainly showing that! If you're happy cosleeping you probably can't imagine having to go and see a baby in a different room; if you've never coslept you struggle to imagine how it can work so smoothly.

Also, it seems some adjustment to the bed and room is needed, which looking at our current set up is what defeats me!

Allegrogirl Fri 05-Oct-12 14:13:08

I often wonder this too. I did it for the first 3 months or so with DH in the nursery due to frequency and duration of bf. I would be curled on my side with baby snuggled next to me but it was more of a doze than real sleep. Once the feeds got quicker and they were more settled generally they slept in their own room and I got up 3-4 times a night for a quick feed. This was still less tiring, for me anyway, than having them in bed with me.

Love the idea of co-sleeping but too exhausting for me long term.

Spuddybean Fri 05-Oct-12 14:13:36

i'm reading all these with interest. DP and i agreed no co sleeping before DS was born (that feels so nice to type - still gives me butterflies smile ). But, as we were in the hospital for a while after he was born (there was horrible bright strip lighting above the cot and i was too poorly to keep getting out of bed) he started sleeping with me. This has continued since i got home and now he is just over 3 weeks.

We are unsure what to do now. Atm i am in the super king in the nursery with him, and DP is in our bedroom. Ds sleeps on top of the duvet and i sleep under it next to him. I have tried the moses basket but am constantly checking on him so tbh i sleep better knowing he is just beside me. This morning i woke to his big eyes just happily looking back at me. It was one of the happiest moments of my life!

I do miss cuddling DP tho.

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