DW asleep in bed with newborn

(45 Posts)
Commodore Wed 14-Nov-12 12:08:02

My DW and I have a beautiful 6 week old son, born prematurely at 34 weeks, so he's pretty much term now.

My problem is that DW gets very tired and has had DS in bed with her while she is sleeping. I am very much against this from a point of general safety as well as the heightened risk of SIDS.

I have seen DW asleep with him in bed four times now:

~ Properly asleep on one side of the bed with DS on the other. He was uncovered, but - in my view - could easily have been should DW had rolled over with the duvet.
~ Found that DW had fallen asleep while breastfeeding him lying down - they were both facing each other, with DW's breast in front of DS's face, which could have smothered him if she has rolled.
~ Found that DW had fallen asleep while sat up in bed with DS asleep on her chest - DW did not have hold of him and he could have rolled off into duvet or off bed and onto the floor.
~ Watched DW fall asleep sat up in bed while DS slept on her lap - he could have rolled off into duvet, or had his head pushed into chin.

DW doesn't see the problem and says she is comfortable with co-sleeping, saying people have done it for centuries and it's important for bonding. She says it is safe, and that she would hear/feel/sense that something was wrong with DS if he stirred. I don't disagree that it is an old practice and good for bonding, but what if DS is not in the position to shout out - for example if DW had rolled slightly while asleep after breastfeeding, as his face would have been covered. Also on two of the above occasions I have moved DS back into his cot and DW has remained completely oblivious to this.

I am worried sick and having regular night terrors whereby I wake up thinking DS is in bed and has died somewhere amongst the covers. sad I make sure I remain awake during all the night feeds (I'm up anyway to change him) until I know DS has been put back into the moses basket, which I know DW is not impressed with.

Advice and experience please. Am I worrying unduly?

Cosleeping is safe, particularly for breastfeeding mothers. Falling asleep sat up isn't a great plan, but lying down is fine. This is evolutionarily normal!

Are you generally an anxious sort of person? Just because cosleeping is safe, doesn't mean your anxiety isn't unpleasant for you.

I think it is fantastic how hands on and concerned you are for you DC, I also think you are worrying a bit too much, your wife is correct, in that co-sleeping has many benefits and a long history, however, I understand you are concerned about SIDS. Maybe you could do some research together on co-sleeping, and agree the safest way to do it.

I had a baby that woke up to 5 times a night until he was almost 3, and co-sleeping enabled me to continue to BF him and not go mad once I had returned to work. I think it can be done safely.

Good luck

kige Wed 14-Nov-12 12:15:41

In three of your points, your DW has fallen asleep whilst...

She is clearly severely sleep deprived so if you are not comfortable with these scenerios, you need to help to arrange for her to get some sleep sometime so she doesn't fall asleep when you feel worried about your DS's safety.

I think that for cosleeping in general, you are probably worrying unduly. Done correctly, it is safe and beneficial. However, in the scenerios where she's fallen asleep with your DS in a position that he could fall from, then sort that out.

Co-sleeping is perfectly natural and can regulate the breathing of the baby and help them settle.

SIDS can happen anywhere, moses basket, cot, parents bed etc... So I wouldn't be more worried about higher SIDS risk.

You seem very anxioussad

FreckledLeopard Wed 14-Nov-12 12:19:47

I co-slept with DD from birth. In general, so long as guidelines are followed, then co-sleeping is absolutely fine and certainly the norm in evolutionary terms.

Basic things: co-sleeping far safer if exclusively breastfeeding.
Mattress should be firm - and co-sleeping should only take place on a bed (not a sofa).
Baby should be on the side of the mother next to edge of bed, not in middle (if, that is, you're also sleeping in the same bed).
It might be worth using a bed side rail to prevent your DS falling off the bed.
Ensure that pillows are not near your DS.
Sheets and blankets might be better to use, rather than a duvet.
If either of you smoke, DO NOT CO-SLEEP.
Similarly, don't co-sleep if under influence of drugs or alcohol.

The warnings about co-sleeping tend to stem from the unfortunate fact that it can be dangerous if formula-feeding or falling asleep on a sofa.

MrsHoarder Wed 14-Nov-12 12:27:21

How about discussing safe co-sleeping positions. The safest of the ones you've described is the lying on sides having each other. When bfing its very uncomfortable to lie on your front anyway. You might want to get rid of the divert for a while though.

Possibly if she's not trying to stay awake she will get into safer positions. Most "co-sleeping" deaths happen when a parent takes the baby to the sofa to try and stay awake rather than lying side by side with appropriate bedding.

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Wed 14-Nov-12 12:33:02

co-sleeping is normally fine - the dangerous bits are her falling asleep on the settee or sitting up.
the way our bodies are designed makes it safe for her to sleep lying down with him.

if you are worried, then please hang around your DW when she's co-sleeping.
keep an eye on her - keep bringing her things so that you can check they're okay.
keep her topped up with food and drink and things to distract her.

but yes, she's safer in bed (without a pillow or covers near the baby) than on a chair or settee, and if she's tired like that you must send her to bed.

Commodore Wed 14-Nov-12 12:33:55

Gosh, that was quick. shock

I feel more reassured now, thank you. I'm not normally an anxious person at all, but this has freaked me out somewhat. It's my first child (DW's second, she has a 13 y/o), and I'm not sleeping which probably isn't helping either.

DW is having trouble sleeping during the day, so goes out like a light in the evening. I do as much as I can during the night, but am at work during the day...

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Wed 14-Nov-12 12:34:52
CaptainBarnaclesDaddyman Wed 14-Nov-12 12:37:08

DW did this with both kids and they're fine. My biggest worry was when one of the kids was in the middle of the bed, that I might roll over on them! Never happened though! grin

Startail Wed 14-Nov-12 12:37:28

Go and snuggle up behind her and go to sleep!
DD2 spent part of most nights BFing and snoozing in the crook of my arm on the outer edge of our bed.

Her on one side DH on the other is one of the nicest memories of babyhood.
(And toddlerhood as she BF a very long time).

The present hysteria about co sleeping makes my blood boil.

Go to bed hug your DW and stop worrying.

JustFabulous Wed 14-Nov-12 12:38:40

It doesn't really matter that co-sleeping has been done for years, if you are unsure about it then you are unsure about. He is your baby too so I think your concerns and choices are valid.

I think your wife should respect your views and both of you come to a compromise.

I never co-slept with mine except for on 2 occasions (for a few minutes only as I woke up as couldn't settle) as I just didn't want to take a risk.

stargirl1701 Wed 14-Nov-12 12:41:33

My DH felt like this about himself. The midwife did mention that Dads are less attuned to their newborns while asleep than Breastfeeding Mums. I would certainly say that I sleep very lightly if LO is co-sleeping than if she is in her Moses basket. My DH doesn't tend to waken until she cries whereas I waken as soon as I hear her stir for a feed - long before she cries/wakens.

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Wed 14-Nov-12 12:45:31

she probably can't sleep in the day because she's worrying about looking after a newborn on her own.
while she's still tired, i would set up a station in the bedroom for her - a table with everything she needs - a tub on the floor with all the baby paraphernalia and make sure she's got a tv with remote control etc.
and tell her if she feels tired in the day to take herself to bed for a while. smile

beatofthedrum Wed 14-Nov-12 12:45:40

You sound brilliantly involved with nightfeeds. Your anxieties sound perfectly understandable to me as it is overwhelming having a new baby and suddenly being responsible just the two of you. Especially when he was premature, I can quite understand why he will seem fragile and you are suffering this anxiety.

I do agree with all the above. Co-sleeping is a safe choice if done properly. If it is a conscious decision (and not dropping off by accident) then you do it responsibly, following all safety guidelines. I can see why you are worried about her dropping off when he is in an insecure position. Maybe make some definite agreements about what is ok/not ok to you. And support her with sleep catch-ups naturally!! I co-slept for a while from when my baby was 8 weeks, but I can see how it might seem a bit scary with a weeny newborn.

Hope you get it all sorted out soon so you can relax and enjoy your lovely baby.

schobe Wed 14-Nov-12 12:47:18

What about a bedside cot/crib as a compromise? You can get special ones with loads of mattress height settings to match the bed and a side that folds down and under. You fix them to your bed with straps so no chance of a gap forming. I put towels in the crack as well.

I am a deep sleeper but one of my DC woke every hour for... well he still wakes a lot and he's 4! When he was a baby, I could feed him lying down without him actually being totally in my bed. Was great.

redadmiralsinthegarden Wed 14-Nov-12 12:55:07

may i just flag the point the op made that on two occasions he has been able to return ds to his cot, and DW has remained asleep? i would have thought that if someone tried to remove MY baby, i would have instantly awoken.
sorry, I believe in co-sleeping too, but i'd just like to see what people thought of that bit? isn't that bit a little worrying?

Commodore Wed 14-Nov-12 13:03:33

DS is in a moses basket right next to the bed, with the top of the basket at mattress height, so he's not level - having him on an extension to the bed sounds like a good option though.

I'm much more reassured about the co-sleeping now (although some website advice does say you shouldn't co-sleep under 6 months...) but will try and find a way to sort out the dropping-off-while-sat-up-in-bed scenarios.

Before DW started exclusively breastfeeding around five days ago (the milk took a while to arrive) I did all the night bottle feeds, burping, nappy changing etc, so have no problem with that. A good sleep at some point in the next couple of years would be nice though. hmm

DoubleYew Wed 14-Nov-12 13:22:22

FSID decided that co-sleeping was risky because it is if you have been drinking, smoking, taking drugs or don't set up your bed safely. Sadly some babies have died from parents taking them to sit up with on a sofa instead. Breastfeeding is less risky for SIDS so doing safe co-sleeping that encourages bfing will actually protect your child.

I do agree that sitting up in bed is not good but lying on your side with arm out in fron of you it is actually impossible to roll onto your front (try it yourself!) Babies have those cute snub noses to ensure that they can breathe easily with a breast in their face.

Its normal to be anxious with your first child, please try and talk calmly with your wife about this so you can work on it together.

fishybits Wed 14-Nov-12 13:26:44

FreckledLeopard Why is it dangerous to co sleep if the baby is formula fed?

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Wed 14-Nov-12 14:06:46

redadmiral - i wonder if it's because she could tell he'd been removed, and it's a different sensation from rolling over or the baby suffering - like she knew he was safe.

fishy - it's all down to statistics. because when you're breastfeeding your hormones and body is involved, whereas with formula feeding, your hormones don't play a part. it is just as risky for a man to co-sleep as it is for a woman who is FFing to co-sleep.

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Wed 14-Nov-12 14:13:33

Commodore - once you and your DW get into a pattern, and you are more reassured with her co-sleeping, and her sleeping patterns, you will sleep better.
My DH spent most of the first 4 weeks not sleeping at all, but after a while he got used to it and now it's a job to blimmin' wake the lazy thing! wink

Co sleeping when all the rules are followed is as safe or safer than sleeping in a cot, and safer than baby sleeping in a separate room.

When sleeping with a baby, a breastfeeding mother automatically behaves in a way to keep the baby safe (if lying down, sitting up is not safe). She generally sleeps on her side, with the baby next to the breast in between her legs and her upper arm, keeping the baby safe from working under the covers or up into the cushion.

When I cosleep with a baby I put an extra layer on my top half and keep the duvet tucked at my waist, so baby cant get underneath.

Why not get a cosleeper cot to make it safer and easier for your wife and baby to sleep safely? We bought an ikea cot for about £80 which did the job well, an was then a normal cot later on.

My dh regularly woke up terrified that ds had fallen asleep on him and then fallen out of bed and we weren't co sleeping. I think that part is a normal reaction to sleep deprivation and newborn. Can't really comment on the co sleeping as we didn't do it but I woke at the slightest snuffle from ds and still do

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