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?

Fakebook Fri 05-Oct-12 21:16:13

I've co slept with both my children. It's very easy. For the first 3 months I kept them on top of a pillow with Muslim cloth under their head and their own blanket. I moved them side to side as I breastfed. DH and I just become more weary of our babies when they're in bed with us. My DS is 9 months and he comes under the duvet with us during the night now, when I breastfeed. I love co sleeping. It's always a bit scary the first few weeks but you develop your own style and routine. As long as baby doesn't overheat or is in a dangerous place, then it's pretty straightforward.

Fakebook Fri 05-Oct-12 21:17:15

Omg. MUSLIN cloth. Don't know what a Muslim cloth is!

PrideOfChanur Fri 05-Oct-12 21:26:34

And Facebook - "weary of our babies",or did you mean "wary"?? grin

as an ex-cosleeper,I reckon both were true for us at different stages!!

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Fri 05-Oct-12 21:26:53

It's really interesting reading the night time goings on in everyone's houses when they have a baby smile

We co slept and bfed, and with ds1 we eventually bought a specific bedside cot because the one I chose first was beautiful but completely impractical and that worked perfectly. It meant I got to be close to him but he was safe in his own little space, and exdp could sleep with us. We had three months of just getting through the night any way we could with the Moses basket was clearly failing before deciding to go with properly co sleeping.

By the time dc2 came along ds1 was two years old and in his own bed most of the time, so he went straight into the bedside cot.

I co-slept with my two. With dd it was because that was the only way to get any sleep. With ds, we thought, 'Well that worked last time...' I used to settle the to sleep in our bed, then leave them to go downstairs. We had a BabyBjorn bedguard on our bed (wouldn't work on a divan, but ours is a slatted mattress. They wore a grobag, so that they could sleep outside of the duvet. I slept mainly on my side, facing the baby, and yes, I was curled around them. The duvet went over me, but not over my shoulders. In cold weather I wore a warm pyjama top.

My mum was convinced I'd roll on them (I didn't, in the same way that I don't roll out of bed), smother them (I didn't) or they'd roll out (they couldn't - bed guard). They didn't wriggle much - perhaps because there wasn't much room, what with three of us in there.

The other thing people felt strangely led to ask me was, 'Where do you have sex?' Weird, because I never asked them the same question! I used to reply, 'We've more than one room in the house, you know.'

If your child sleeps fine then I wouldn't change things. Co-sleeping worked well for us, but it was something we did out of necessity, before tagging 'conviction' onto it later. wink In the highly unlikely event that I had another, I'd co-sleep again and would not bother with a cot, given how much my two apparently hated it and how little they slept in it. (Literally, less than a night between them!), but I'm not 'anti-cot'.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Fri 05-Oct-12 22:54:55

I coslept with DD until she was 4. With DS1 until he was 18mo. Never coslept with DS2, but that was because he preferred his cot. Still cosleeping with DS3, of a sort - he goes down in his bed, then when he wakes for his bottle he climbs in with me. And I can't be arsed to put him back tbh.

DS3 is 20mo. I know they all go to their own beds in their own good time. I suspect DD coslept the longest as a) I worked during the day and she needed 'mummy time' at night, and b) because there was a 4y1mo gap between DD and DS1. She moved to her own bed, through choice, when I was 8 months pg and, in her words "Baby kicking my back, I sleep in my very own bed tonight". And that was the end of cosleeping for her!

RainbowSpiral Sat 06-Oct-12 11:11:09

I only co-slept for the first few weeks of multiple night breast feeds. The reasons are:
1. I like to share a bed with my husband and have sex with the knowledge the children can't hear. If you ban your dh to the spare room you are changing your relationship, but if they need to go to work they may not want to be woken by every feed
2. I put my boys to bed a many hours before I go to bed and so it would be unsafe for small boys to sleep alone in a double bed, much safer in a cot
3. Both my boys loved to cuddle in the day but loved their cots for sleeping. At nap time they'd have crawled off a mattress on the floor, they were very active.

adrastea Sat 06-Oct-12 23:05:04

I co-slept with my son from birth until he was about 13 months or so and then on/off till he was about 3 - sometimes sleeping on a mattress in our room or sometimes in a bed in his room. I barely noticed him breastfeeding at night. When he was tiny, I would wake up in the morning and get a fright and be sure I had neglected to feed him overnight but H would say 'No, he fed about 5 times'. I just didn't remember because I didn't woke up properly and fell fast asleep again very quickly. He didn't properly wake at all to nurse, mostly he did it in his sleep. There are videos showing mothers and infants sleeping filmed in sleep laboratories and you'll see how their movements synchronise and how infants sleep when next to their mothers. Toddlers are more of a PITA to share a bed with!

To co-sleep safely you need a very firm mattress. H & I had separate duvets and DS had those gro-bags. We used, at different times, a bed rail/attached cot/him in middle when older.

In the evenings, he went to sleep with us downstairs and then carried him to bed when I went to sleep. When he was a toddler, I think we put him in the big bed on his own.

It's not right for every family, but we loved co-sleeping - it meant I was hardly sleep deprived at all and I felt as if I had 8 hours uninterrupted sleep 9 nights out of 10 from almost the beginning. Never had to consider sleep training or get out of bed or any of that stuff. He more or less slept through (as he nursed in his sleep) except for during the typical sleep regressions but they didn't last long.

Seenenoughtoknow Sun 07-Oct-12 00:13:24

I have co slept with my dc's from birth to a year and a half/two years. A king size bed with a side attached to stop baby falling out works for us. This makes life easier for breastfeeding.
I always go to bed earlier than dh to settle baby and feed to sleep.
We always kept the duvet to our waists and only a sheet higher until baby was about 10 months old - even after 10 months the duvet is no higher than elbows.
From birth to a few months I always slept facing baby with arm out above baby's head so it would be virtually impossible to roll onto baby.
No pillows for me during early months.
Alcohol is a complete no no for the years baby is with us - I would never forgive myself.
I read that during co sleeping baby and Mum become attuned so the heavy and light sleep patterns apparently happen at the same time, so you seem to wake naturally when baby wakes for feeds etc. This definitely happened for me. The only time this is apparently compromised is if Mum is seriously over tired (should try to nap with baby during day to avoid this) or has taken drugs or alcohol - a definite no no when choosing to co sleep.

Dh and I have loved having our babies in bed with us and wouldn't do it any other way.

mumnosGOLDisbest Sun 07-Oct-12 00:32:38

another co-sleeper here.

ds 'slept' in his cot and i used matchsticks to keep my eyes open.

dd1 had a cot but always ended up with us.

dd2 is 8 months and currently snuggled up fast asleep.

we have a normal double bed up against the wall. dd is always either between me and dh or between me and the wall. to begin with we had 2 quilts ( 1 for me 1 for dh) and dd had a blanket. now she comes under our quilt. she sleeps really well, no tossing or turning and we instinctively sleep around her without squashing her.

to me this is the natural way to sleep and what people did before cots smile

NellyBluth Sun 07-Oct-12 07:32:42

Didn't realise this was still ticking over.

There's definitely a few common themes here, breast-feeding being the main one, but also a bad sleeper. If you've lucked out with a good sleeper who likes their cot, then the thought of changing to co-sleeping is less tempting - probably one of the reasons why I find it a little baffling. If I was terribly sleep-deprived and stressed I imagine it would seem a lot more tempting.

Also, it sounds as if most people have done at least a something different to the set up in their room - bed against the wall, bed rails, mattress on the floor, or even DH in another room. Which confirms my suspicions that however well meant the suggestion is, people suggesting that sleep problems can just be fixed by suddenly starting co-sleeping when the bay is 9mo is not entirely practical.

Seenenoughtoknow Sun 07-Oct-12 08:00:33

Co sleeping was a choice my dh and I made before our babies were born.
I had read about SIDS and read it was less common in breastfed babies and babies who co sleep (as long as it is done properly with safety guidelines) so we chose to do it from the birth of our babies.
We have not regretted it at all.

NumericalMum Sun 07-Oct-12 08:24:07

I think the theme is you can't share with a partner, you can't drink, must breast feed and realise that any additional sleep you may get won't be "proper" sleep?

My DD was breastfed and up every 2-3 hours minimum for 9 months plus. I desperately wanted to co sleep to help my sanity but I found having her in bed meant I slept even less, waking with every murmur and I really missed being able to give my DH a cuddle in bed. Perhaps we were the ones where co sleeping wasn't for us.

adrastea Sun 07-Oct-12 09:18:49

I think the theme is you can't share with a partner, you can't drink, must breast feed and realise that any additional sleep you may get won't be "proper" sleep?
Where do you get that from? Yes, of course you can share with a partner and the additional sleep you get is 'proper' - I felt perfectly rested.

I found having her in bed meant I slept even less, waking with every murmur
Yes, it doesn't work for everyone. Although there's no reason for you not to have been able to give your DH a cuddle - not sure why you couldn't.

There's definitely a few common themes here, breast-feeding being the main one, but also a bad sleeper.
Hmm, why bad sleeper? How are you defining 'good' or 'bad' sleeper? I think my son was a brilliant sleeper? Yes, co-sleeping is only recommended as safe for breastfed babies.

people suggesting that sleep problems can just be fixed by suddenly starting co-sleeping when the bay is 9mo is not entirely practical.
Well, there is a big sleep regression at 9 months. It's pretty universal that sleep goes to pot at 9 months so I don't there is a 'problem' that can be 'fixed'. Co-sleeping is not going to 'fix' something completely normal. I have no idea how I'd have managed to get through the bad sleep phases without co-sleeping, and I think it can definitely help to try it in the early days but probably not much later on as mother/baby won't be used to it.

MainlyMaynie Sun 07-Oct-12 09:31:09

NumericalMum, I co-sleep and DH has always remained in the bed too! I also have a drink, but just one several hours before bedtime. I sleep fine and get to cuddle DH!

Nellybluth, my DS is a good sleeper as long as he's in my bed! He was also great in a hammock until he got too big at around 6 months (he's massive).

BertieBotts Sun 07-Oct-12 09:45:28

I planned it before birth as well and had a fairly good sleeper. Just if I'm honest, liked the idea of not having to get out of bed. I hate getting up when it's cold and moving/walking about usually wakes me up beyond the point of no return.

It's not for everyone but for me it makes perfect sense.

NellyBluth Sun 07-Oct-12 09:56:11

adrastea, you're right, "fix" is probably the wrong word to use in referring to any issues like this! And of course 'good' sleeper is also a relative term for every family.

You're later point is kind of what I'm referring to, about mother and baby being used to sleeping separately. I'm sure if you cosleep from day one its very natural and you ease in to longer, deeper sleeps while your baby is in your bed. But its when it is suggested for older babies going through sleep regression that I suppose I get 'baffled'. If DD has the 9mo regression (and you can all laugh at me if I'm back in a few weeks going "aaargh!" smile) then because she is very used to her own cot and her own room my natural instinct would be to try some of the sleep training methods first to try and settle her, and cosleeping would pretty much be the bottom of the list. I feel it would unsettle all of us and result in less sleep all around. Also, I've read how other people manage it and I look at our bedroom, our house, and also DP's shift work, and can't see how it would realistically work (hence my use of the term logistics earlier on).

It is probably one of those things that comes down to both gut feeling and experience. For example, I could wax lyrical for hours about the benefits of a dreamfeed and how that radically improved sleep for everyone. But some people will just instinctively feel that they don't want to unsettle their baby at 11pm, or feel unsure/nervous about feeding a baby who is asleep, or they will try it and find that it doesn't work.

BertieBotts Sun 07-Oct-12 10:25:07

That makes sense Nelly smile

mumnosGOLDisbest Sun 07-Oct-12 11:05:24

agree with nelly. its best to do it from the start but with ds he did sleep with us at various ages when he was under the weather, teething etc. he still slept well and we didnt need to get up for him in the night. i did sleep lighter as i wasn't used to it. also want to say we've coslept with dd2 from birth. didn't move or add furniture, dh sleeps with us, have an occasional wine and all sleep brilliantly.

1789 Fri 19-Oct-12 16:14:21

Co-slept from birth with both - accidentally with the first and with conviction with the second! DD1 slept in a sling or moses basket in the evenings until she was about 5 months and then I would take her up to our bed when I was ready to go to sleep. I did try the cot a couple of times - but always gave up the second she needed to feed - and I always slept better when she was cuddled up next to me and I wasn't worried about listening out for her to wake up.

We are lucky because we have a spare room with a double bed so now DD2 (23 months) goes to sleep there (with bed guards) and then I just join her when she wakes up in the middle of the night (usually around 4 or 5am) although she has started sleeping through the night recently (I think because the mornings are darker). This actually makes me so sad because I miss our cuddle time when she is just waking up!

As someone else said, if we have a third, I am definitely not even bothering with a cot!

HearMyRoar Fri 19-Oct-12 16:48:46

We cosleep and have done on and off since dd was born. Dp has always been in the bed too and has never slept in a different room. I would have dd on my side of the bed on the earl days and because I could feed her before she started crying he often didn't even notice that she had woken in the night. Now she is 7 months and I am back at work she sleeps between us so dp can help settle her more if she wakes.

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