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?

OvOntToSuckYourBlood Fri 05-Oct-12 16:46:00

My blubber kept me warm. grin

Sorry, it's me OvO, just slipped into my Halloween outfit. wink

I dunno, I was fine. Hot water bottle for my toes and I was toasty. And I'm talking about Scotland in winter and no heating on. Thinking about it, I'm clearly a freak. Or reeeeeeally blubbery. Maybe a bit of both!

SeveredEdMcDunnough Fri 05-Oct-12 16:51:52

That's very good, Ovo. I am thinking shortlist for you...oh yes smile

greenbananas Fri 05-Oct-12 16:52:58

For those who are wondering about the logistics of co-sleeping, we have a double mattress on the floor with a single mattress pushed up next to it. Even if baby does fall out of bed, it is only a few inches to the carpet. I share the double mattress with DS1 (and also with the new baby when he arrives in 4 weeks time) and DH sleeps on the single mattress right next to us. Our bedroom looks a bit weird and 'hippy', but it works for us and we are lucky to have the space.

I think breastfeeding makes a big difference to co-sleeping - breastfeeding mothers are more conditioned to respond to little wriggles and tiny noises. Co-sleeping/breastfeeding mums don't go into that very deep cycle of sleep which is hard to wake from (sleep research has shown this by hooking mums up with lots of little monitors, but I can't remember the names of the researchers blush )

DS is a wriggler who likes to sleep like a starfish, but I have learned the art of pulling him back under the blankets without really waking up properly. On the other hand, I am awake very quickly if his breathing becomes laboured (he has suffered from asthma in the past). DH says that one night I slept through a load of shouting in the street and a full-on and noisy fight between two drunken blokes followed by half an hour of the police helicopter directly overhead, but that I then woke up instantly when DS coughed and reached for me.

OvOntToSuckYourBlood Fri 05-Oct-12 16:54:40

Thanks Ed, but I actually won <insert fake modest blush here> last year with this name and they don't let you into the comp with the same name. Woe. I'm so hard done by.

wink

SeveredEdMcDunnough Fri 05-Oct-12 17:00:45

Did you? Oh my. See, I clearly have good taste grin

It is a very good name.

You'll have to think of another one this year then.

BoffinMum Fri 05-Oct-12 17:04:40

I think co-sleeping and bf go hand in hand, really. Having one without the otehr doesn't quite work.

That's a good one, I have no idea what to change to for halloween

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Fri 05-Oct-12 17:53:14

A question for those whose DH's sleep in another bed (and to reiterate I'm asking nicely and am just nosy curious), do you find that ok in the long-term? Do you feel it has an affect on your relationship?
In the long term DH will be back in bed with me. Him sleeping apart is only short-term while DS is teenie.

greenabananas Prof Helen Ball perhaps?

hairytale Fri 05-Oct-12 18:08:01

My previously sleeping through baby (8 months old) seems to have become unable to settle for more than an hour in her cot. So we have the side down and when she wakes, I have her in with me. We've all got a better sleep since we started to do that.

greenbananas Fri 05-Oct-12 18:28:39

Teenstrop - yes, it was Prof Helen Ball who did that research. Thank you!

wheresmespecs Fri 05-Oct-12 19:39:14

DS was about 10 months, I think, when we STARTED properly co-sleeping. I'd had him in a bedside cot, then a cot in the same room, then tried to move him into the next room in the cot....

Problem was that he woke multiple times during the night, and took ages to resettle. He was EBF but would take a bottle of breast milk, so night duties could be shared a bit - but we were both horribly horribly sleep deprived.

My mother said just to take him into bed with me - best solution. Rather than waking and screaming and getting upset, he still wakes (no longer BFs, he's over 2, stopped of his own accord) - but he just fidgets, mutters, puts an arm out to find me, or I put my arm round him, and he goes back to sleep.

It's like he just wants to know I'm there. He still gets a drink of milk during the night if he sits up and asks for it - then goes back to sleep. I have obviously got used to waking up during the night, but being able to stay in bed and fall back to sleep as soon as he does.

i have no idea how to persuade him to sleep in his own bed now! and DP spends most of his night in the spare room, but we all get enough sleep and that's so much better than stumbling out of bed and sitting in a chair or beside a cot 5 times a night.

We use a bedrail. DS sleeps under the duvet with me if he's cold, or on top of the duvet if he's warm. He kicks it off if he doesn't want it, fidgets over to where he wants to sleep - occasionally we argue about whether or not he is allowed to sleep on top of me, and I have to plonk him on the other side of the bed.

I find it very reassuring, tbh. Lying in bed with my little boy sleeping soundly. It makes me happy.

filetheflightoffancy Fri 05-Oct-12 19:53:09

When you co-sleep, what does your child do for daytime naps? Do they just go in your bed in the day with a bed rail or something?

I know that co-sleeping is definitely not for us. Any time that DS has ever come into bed with us I have never been able to sleep properly, I just lie there totally rigid, terrified that I will either roll onto him or my moving will wake him up. I also get pushed more and more to the edge of the bed as he kicks and squirms about and I dont want to shove him back into the middle!

SeveredEdMcDunnough Fri 05-Oct-12 20:05:41

Mine used to sleep in a cot in the kitchen, or on the sofa, or in a little crib or whatever.

Plenty of alternatives.

I have a cot this time, again, which I plan to use during the day so he will be safe when I'm not next to him and can't fall out etc.

wheresmespecs Fri 05-Oct-12 20:30:12

My DS never napped in a cot. I think when he was tiny, like about a week, he slept in a moses basket occasionally or in a rocker thingy - but otherwise he would only sleep on people, or in a buggy.

There are 'travel' bed rails which attach in seconds to pretty much any bed - make a bed a bit like a giant toddler bed - and I'd be quite happy leaving a wriggly baby on a bed with these on either side.

An unexpected bonus of co-sleeping has been travel, in fact - toddler plus mum or dad will sleep in a double bed or big single, if you just pack a bed rail. No need to worry if there's a cot, and will it be comfy and will DS sleep in it etc - no need to take a travel cot. He just comes in with us.

Hmm, put Ds to bed in his cot with him standing up at the bars, bashing poor teddy's brains out on the edge. He falls asleep two minutes after the lights go out, but I don't think a bed rail would keep him in!

Shagmundfreud Fri 05-Oct-12 20:39:05

Lord knows how billions of people have managed to co-sleep with their babies since time began. I mean, the logistics! hmm

MarzipanAnimal Fri 05-Oct-12 20:44:43

Mothers have an amazing instinctive awareness of their babies even when fast asleep. DS came into bed with me at just over a year old when DH was away for a couple of nights (didn't normally cosleep, though did a bit more when he was younger) - I was sound asleep next to DS (but not touching him) when he rolled over and fell off the edge of the bed. I caught him before he hit the floor and he didnt even wake up! I was well impressed with myself! grin
Nights when he's been suffering badly with teething, the only way we've been able to sleep is with him attached to my boob. It's a lifesaver! I do generally prefer my own space at night though so I'm glad he sleeps happily in his cot most of the time.

sunflowerseeds Fri 05-Oct-12 20:48:22

How long do you carry on cosleeping? I know someone (single SAHM) who slept with her son until he was 10. I don't think she bf all that time.

maddening Fri 05-Oct-12 20:58:31

I wear my dressing gown when it's cold so no cold shoulders or back

NellyBluth Fri 05-Oct-12 20:59:43

Marzipan, I'm impressed with you too, those are some good reflexes!#

Shag, thanks, but as I mentioned in my OP I was on about high beds, duvets, pillows, electric lights (and thus people staying awake for a lot longer than they ever used to), things that we haven't had since time began, and all the things you get warned about as risk factors with babies.

Teenstop, yes, you're right, it is only for a short time. Things can feel like such a long time, though, when babies are small <thinks back to how long those few months of waking every 2-3 hours felt at the time>

Does anyone know what percentage of parents do cosleep, has anyone ever looked in to that? Obviously with a thread title like this the overwhelming number of people replying are going to be cosleepers. I think it would be really interesting to know.

OHforDUCKScake Fri 05-Oct-12 21:03:12

Greenbananas (fellow allergy mum I think?) we do exactly the same as you, double and singlr mattress etc.

Ds doesnt move about the bed much, not like DS1 dud. Its probably because he's always had to share with an adult though.

DuelingFanjo Fri 05-Oct-12 21:03:53

for naps ds sleps on my (our) bed. we have a fancy video monitor so if he wakes i can see if he's going to leap off the bed.

I still co-sleep with DS, who is 3. I think you get very tuned in. When he was poorly, a year or so ago, I was able to lurch out of sleep and get him sat upright to a handy bucket just before he threw up. Still no idea how I did it, I was definitely asleep until seconds before.

BertieBotts Fri 05-Oct-12 21:13:57

I think the breastfeeding connection is fairly obvious - the main draw is being able to feed in your sleep grin Of course the snuggling up is nice too and the fact they seem more settled in general but if you're bottlefeeding you'd have to sit up to do that anyway so surely it wouldn't make much difference.

We used to have a sidecar cot and at first I found I slept curled around DS in the "C" shaped position and used to get sore hips, but after a few weeks I found I could scoot him away from me a bit to change position if I needed to.

I don't drink much so didn't miss drinking at all, on the odd occasion I wanted to drink I put him right into the cot part so I couldn't roll on him. Once he was a year or so I didn't worry so much about the odd glass of wine but would always sleep apart if I felt "drunk".

I like a smoke now but didn't smoke at all from finding out I was pregnant until when DS was 18 months old. I did still have him in my bed for just under a year after then but I tried to minimise the effect by never smoking in the last hour or two before I went to bed (it makes me feel too wired to sleep anyway), always staying in the garden away from the door, staying out for a few minutes after finishing and I'd wash my hair and hands after the last cigarette and brush my teeth, and never smoked in clothes I wore to bed, any outside clothing I smoke in stays downstairs too (coats etc). Also I stopped having my face close up to his when he was asleep in case I was breathing out chemicals etc.

I stopped when he started developing annoying duvet habits! Also I noticed around that time he slept better if I slept elsewhere. Now sometimes he comes in in the night (rarely) but mostly we can't sleep together as we annoy each other. He likes his bed and I like mine!

When he was little I used to let him snooze on and off downstairs on me or near me and then we'd just take him up when we went to bed. As he's got older and had a "bedtime" I've just lain with him and/or fed him to sleep and then got up and gone about my evening. Or fallen asleep. As sometimes happens when I'm very tired.

Daytime naps again just used to happen wherever he was... buggy or car seat, sling, on me, or baby bouncer or on the sofa. I think I had one of those mythical babies who just falls asleep when they're tired with no enticing though...

BertieBotts Fri 05-Oct-12 21:14:42

Ha, I've experienced the sick-predicting thing too! It's a handy talent grin

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