I want to co-sleep but have some questions...

(119 Posts)
Ginni Sat 20-Sep-08 17:44:01

My partner and I are keen to try out co-sleeping to help us bond with our daughter (btw she's still in-utero, due in Jan!). My main concerns might sound silly, but I would really like some advice if possible. I'm worried about the bedding. I know newborns aren't supposed to have a pillow or duvets at all, so how do you make up your bed so there is a spot for your baby while you and your partner can remain warm under the covers? Is it simply a case of putting her at the edge of the bed (the edge which is pushed right up against the wall!) with no pillow and duvet over her, and then making an effort through the night to make sure the duvet doesn't cover her. Also, if she was in a cot I know the advice is to put her so her feet are at the bottom of the bed with room around her head to circulate. So by the same logic is it advisable to put her about a meter from the top of the bed?

I am aware this question might sound silly as I am writing it, but I am genuinly concerned and want to make sure i'm doing the right thing to ensure her safety.

steph101 Sat 20-Sep-08 18:51:36

Hi Ginni

I think that advice regarding putting a baby so that her feet are at the bottom of a cot is more to do with safety reather than air circulation!! Babies tend to wriggle and thefore if placed at the bottom of a cot they can not suffocate under a duvet/covers by moving down under them as they are already at the bottom of a cot. I also think that any health visitor would advise against sleeping in the same bed as your baby as it is dangerous for a couple of reasons. I dont want to put you off however have you thought about putting a cot with a drop down rail nest to your bed so you are still with your baby but not actually in the same bed!? Also tip for the future - once you have a baby in your bed full time you can create problems for yourself when you want to put them in their own room - Dont get me wrong i have done it on numerous occasions just to get some sleep however she wasnt newborn nor did we do it full time!! Sorry if I sound negative but prehaps you should speak to your midwife about this? Good luck in whatever you decide. x

gagarin Sat 20-Sep-08 18:54:32
FeelingLucky Sat 20-Sep-08 18:59:12

hello
We didn;t co-sleep with out DD but wished we did and have been thinking about it for next DC ... until I read this in today's Family section of The Guardian
The last letter has really made me think twice.

Psychobabble Sat 20-Sep-08 20:26:25

feelinglucky - what a sad letter sad

Ginni - first of all, you should read Three in a Bed by Deborah Jackson. It goes through all the evidence on co-sleeping and debunks some of the myths, it's a really good read. I co-slept on and off with ds (and he still comes in my bed occasionally aged 3) and still co-sleep with dd aged 17m. We have always used grobags (I think they are ok from about 6 weeks?) so they have either been lying on top of the duvet in the grobag, or to the side of you away from the duvet. You are right about needing air to circulate around their head AFAIK, but if you are bf, then baby will be at breast level so not at the top of the bed. You will need some warm pjs or a nightie with long sleeves, preferably nursing ones so you don't have to pull your top up. This way you don't have to pull the duvet right over your shoulders at night, and you can keep it below babies head level IYSWIM. I'm probably not explaining it very well, but if you read the Deborah Jackson book it will answer all your questions!

FWIW I think co-sleeping is great for babies (if done safely), and makes for confident, independent children. I think I am right in saying that in countries where co-sleeping is the norm, SIDS rates are much lower than here. Your hv or midwife might not be supportive, I found that some positively encouraged it, but not all. Good luck with it.

wahwah Sat 20-Sep-08 20:26:36

.FeelingLucky, co-sleeping wasn't the reason for her child's death, so what are you worried about?

Ginni, we practiced co-sleeping in desperation when ds wouldn't be separated from me for a second and a very wise hv gave me the Unicef advice.

I originally had ds in a grobag on the bed, but after finding that I'd pulled the duvet over him one night, decided it would be safer if I brought him inside the bed where I would be a bit more 'tuned in'.

We used a light summer duvet with another quilt over the bed and drawn up to waist level. Ds wore a short sleeved vest and slept in the space between my arm and knee as I slept on my side. I used to wear a cardi to keep my arms and back warm.

It worked well for us and meant that I got to get some sleep (ds fed all the time and only went through night at 2y) but with dd, I have been very happy when she's slept in her Amby some of the time!

Psychobabble Sat 20-Sep-08 20:27:41

oh, and if you are bf, it is great to be able to feed without getting up, once baby has got the hang of latching on you will barely wake, and might go back to sleep whilst baby feeds

policywonk Sat 20-Sep-08 20:31:25

You can try putting your pillows about a foot or so from the top of the bed, and putting the baby right up at the top (head and shoulders well above your pillows) with his/her own blanket or gro-bag.

Three in a Bed is fantastic - do read it if you're thinking about co-sleeping.

Be warned, a lot of midwives and health visitors can be rather negative about co-sleeping so you might want to take their advice with a pinch of salt.

TinkerBellesMum Sat 20-Sep-08 20:39:01

In response to the guardian letter, IIRC it isn't safe to co-sleep ad hoc - not putting blame on that poor mother because there was no evidence her child was suffocated. When you have a child in all the time you are used to them being there, but when they're not used to being there you risk forgetting in your sleep.

We used to have a double quilt pulled up as far as we could and I had a single (I have Raynaud's and get very cold in the night) over me.

teafortwo Sat 20-Sep-08 20:51:11

policywonk - I second three in a bed - We started co-sleeping accidently and all liked it very much... but we were afraid it was bad for dd. We read this book and it gave us the confidence to carry on!

www.amazon.co.uk/Three-Bed-Benefits-Sleeping-Your/dp/0747565759/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=12219 39594&sr=8-1

Where we live we have to take dd to the drs for check ups rather than a midwife visiting your home all the time... and.... reader I lied. I said "Yes, she sleeps in a cot." - It was for an easy life! You see when I loosely mentioned that dd slept in her sling in the afternoons the drs reaction made me feel like a naughty 1950s school kid in the ht's office. So I thought mentioning co-sleeping might have her at best reaching for her whip!!! blush

FeelingLucky Sat 20-Sep-08 21:24:41

wahwah - my worry is that although there wasn't any evidence that co-sleeping caused the death of the child, there wasn't any evidence to the contrary either. Simply not knowing would want me to play it safe because I'm a paranoid parent. Still can't stop thinking about that poor woman's story now and I shudder at the thought of what happened.

mamazee Sat 20-Sep-08 22:01:03

feelinglucky...the rate of SIDS in countries where co sleeping is the norm is LOWER.
the sears website (i think thats where it was anyway) has lots of links to research happening to understand why this is and has come up with some interesting reasons why it is the case.
i see co sleeping very much as 'playing it safe'.

ginni
i have co slept with my ds since he was born.
it is a wonderful thing to do and i am still co sleeping 18 months later
do read 3 in a bed it is lovely...and go to the doctor sears website.
the rate of SIDS in co sleeping babies is actually much lower than in babies sleeping in another room or separately. i know many people who do the bed cover thing in different ways but , for us, we have a cover just for ds and then a duvet over all of us...but low down.
we use a bed guard my side of the bed and i sleep next to ds and my dp next to me IYSWIM.
if you plan on bfeeding it is a godsend. when i fed my ds at night i barley woke up.
it was also lovely for my dp to have some cuddle time as he was at work all day.
we have a mattress on the floor and another single next to us since our ds is a strapping toddler now. when ds started rolling/crawling i felt more comfortable that he only had 2 inches to fall.
i have no regrets at all about co sleeping and my friends who have co slept and whose children are older have never said anything about difficulties getting children to sleep apart...in fact most of them knew when their dc's were ready and it was very very chilled.

my dp did worry about rolling over hence why , most of the night ds was next to me
at the beginning.

also really important stuff like

-don't drink alcohol or do drugs when co sleeping...even night nurse is best avoided...anything that puts you in an artificially deep sleep.

-make sure your bottom sheet is tight fitting.

-get a night light so you can see when you are feeding...we use ikea ones and they are perfect.

it is all in 3 in a bed

it is not dangerous IMO and the most natural way to sleep with a child.

my ds is very independent, confident, hugely loving and cuddles everyone.

For me it is also about 'the family bed' it was symbolic of us becoming 3 and ds experience of bed time and sleep is warm, cosy and communal.

don't worry about sex (our non co sleeping friends always ask about this !!) it can help by making you creative about where you choose to do it.

my experience has been wonderful...i no longer tell health visitors etc because i know they have to quote thing they are told to but i do know that many people co sleep and lie

TheProvincialLady Sat 20-Sep-08 22:12:10

Fellinglucky babies die in both cots and beds. My cousin died in a cotsad

You can get lots of advice about safe co sleeping, including from La Leche League (a breastfeeding help organisation) who do leaflets. You are right to want to do it safely. I have always loved sleeping with my DS and will be doing the same with DC2 when he puts in his appearance. My last MW was very supportive, in fact it was her who recommended I try co sleeping!

teafortwo Sat 20-Sep-08 22:17:14

People who don't co-sleep imagine all the bad sides.

My friend bottle fed and slept separately from her son. She told me one day about how all the getting up in the night to make bottles up and feed him made her physically and mentally really on the edge.

I explained to her that we co-sleep and that I actually slept the best I have ever slept in my adult life in my daughter's first year!!! You see,Ginni, I felt so well with dd and dh next to me, slept topless so she could just help herself with me barely knowing if she woke up and spent my days walking with her in the sling talking with her about the World so I felt physically tired by the end of the day too.

My friend was really amazed. She said she had no idea that that is what co-sleeping is like at all!

There are some people it is worth explaining this to and others you should nod and smile at when they ask about your cot!!! wink

Tryharder Sat 20-Sep-08 22:44:25

I am currently cosleeping with DS2 (aged 3 mo) and co-slept with DS1 (nearly 4). We had a few problems getting DS1 into his own bed but nothing unsurmountable. DS1 still comes into bed with us at night from time to time and tbh, I don't mind.

I have a friend who said she would never, ever, take her baby into bed with her and I tbh, I found her stance really, really cold. There is nothing nicer than your lo putting his/her arms round you at night for a cuddle.

We were given a cot for DS2 and I tried putting him in it once but he just looked so small and alone (and lonely) in there so swiftly got him back in bed with me.

Would definitely recommend cosleeping to anyone.

teafortwo Sat 20-Sep-08 22:56:23

The whole nuts and bolts of co-sleeping you sort of work out naturally it is the reassurance that you are not alone that is nice with threads like this!

Ginni - if you feel you want to do it - GO FOR IT!!!!

TinkerBellesMum Sat 20-Sep-08 23:14:16

If you are breastfeeding you automatically adopt the cuddle curl position and that protects the baby from either parent rolling onto them. I also used to insist that TBD faced inwards and didn't turn his back on us.

Just remembered, I didn't go under the double, I used it to support my back and legs (like a maternity pillow) and covered myself with the single.

sasamax Sat 20-Sep-08 23:18:24

OK - my tuppenceworth:

Get a waterproof undersheet - try not to get a crinkly one. This is because of exploding nappies and also falling asleep while feeding and leaking milk all over the place.
If you leak badly, you will also need to sleep on a towel.
Either switch to covers or only bring your duvet to your waist and wear long sleeved nightwear. Your baby can have her own blanket.

I got an armsreach cot (see these on Dr Sears) which DS was in about twice and DD not at all, but it means there is no danger of her rolling out of bed - a bedguard would be just as good.

We switch sides at each feed and when she is in between DH and I, I always actually cuddle her just in case of DH - I don't think they are as aware as us mums - I don't move an inch when asleep - I'm sure most co-sleeping mums are exactly the same.

I sleep below the pillow so that apart from feeding, my face is very near hers and I can listen to her breathing - this puts my mind at rest. I don't think I'd get a wink of sleep if she was any further away from me.

Nightlight is a must, just lie to the HVs as they act like they are going to remove your children if you mention co-sleeping.

I've never read 3 in a bed but it sounds great - need to get a copy now!

Good luck!

TinkerBellesMum Sat 20-Sep-08 23:18:40

We've not had any problems getting her into her own bed. We started the night putting her into her moses and when she woke the first time, usually around the time we went to bed anyway, we would bring her in with us and she would stay the night. The longer she slept the more she stayed in her own bed so moving her was a very gradual process that only finished when she was sleeping through the night without the breast.

sasamax Sat 20-Sep-08 23:29:45

Oh and I am sure I read somewhere that it's not safe if you have memory foam on your bed - it creates dips and hollows I think.

I got that Unicef leaflet in hospital when I had DS in 2006, but this year there was no sign of it and none of the midwifes had ever heard of it. So glad for the link!

mamazee Sat 20-Sep-08 23:36:01

good point sasamax and no water beds (that always makes me laugh for some reason) i really believe that co sleeping has made me much more receptive to my ds and strengthened my instinct.

i get woken every morn by a 'mummy mummy' and a wet kiss on my mouth or a forehead on mine.i don't like sleeping alone so why should we expect a tiny baby too

good luck with it all ginni

teafortwo Sun 21-Sep-08 09:11:49

Actually since toilet training started we have been laying a big shammy leather thing under dd. It is great - we were given it by a friend. It is the size of a big towel and soaks up all moisture. If I had known about it I would have used it from the start for her and me. So much nicer than laying on a towel or plastic sheet!

The thing is - it has no trademark on it so I have no idea where she got it from! Just look out for them. They are brilliant!

Since being very very tiny my dd hates being covered up with blankets... so we sleep on the inside of the covers and she sleeps on the outside of them in the middle of us in close to the nooodie in the summer and thick feeted pjs in the winter and all sorts of things inbetween! I think co-sleeping babies and children wear less to bed as three in a bed is quite toasty in the first place!

I really think all the safety aspects sort of happen anyway. When we read three in a bed we both said "Oh yes we are doing it right!". Having said that dh was away for two and a half weeks this month and one night I found it next to impossible to stop dd from catapulting herself over the stacked up pillows and out of bed obviously looking for his body to cuddle upto in her sleep.

"Mummy cuddle" is my wake up call.... well sometimes. More often it is... "Mmmmmmmiiiiiiiillllllllltttt"!!!

sasamax Sun 21-Sep-08 09:48:37

That leather thingy sounds good - need to keep an eye out. I know - has anyone slept on waterbeds since the 80s?
grin

Ginni Sun 21-Sep-08 13:26:24

Thanks for your sharing your experiences and ideas - we're even more keen to do this now, I think it will be great for our relationship with our daughter. I'll certainly get hold of the Three in a Bed book too.

x

teafortwo Sun 21-Sep-08 14:08:01

www.liegelind.de/go/liegelind/home/betteinlagen/wasserdichtebetteneinlage.xhtml

This is the shammy leather thing. It isn't leather - but best describes it.

They are very good!

Can't seem to find an English site to buy them from though!!!

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