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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?

JollyToddler Fri 05-Oct-12 12:11:08

I was thinking about this last night. Ds is unwell and I put his mattress on the floor and slept beside him. I was in my sleeping bag and he had his blanket.

I think folk must put a mattress on the floor. And they must drink less than I do. I like a glass of wine every few days.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 05-Oct-12 12:14:36

We have never co-slept full time, but our two have always come into our bed in the night for BF and then we all just fall asleep again together.

I always put the baby - or now toddler <narrows eyes at 18 month old DS2> in the middle, we minimise pillows and move them right to the edge of the bed (have a king which makes this easier). When they were little, either DH or I would hold them, sort of wrapped to prevent rolling etc, but as they get bigger they just sleep.
DS1 is 4 and still comes in sometimes if he wakes in the night. He is lovely to share a bed with because he is cuddly but lies still grin

NellyBluth Fri 05-Oct-12 12:17:32

Ali, I imagine when they are a bit older it is nice. DP works nights a few days every fortnight and it did cross my mind that it would be a nice treat to share the bed with DD when he isn't there, but I took one look at our bed and thought, 'nope, I haven't a clue how this would work!' and gave up on the idea for now!

Jolly - me too grin. And - gasp - the odd cigarette when DD has gone to bed, which I'm aware does rule of cosleeping as a rule.

Moominsarescary Fri 05-Oct-12 12:22:28

I always wonder about it, how do people sleep? Surly you don't roll over and turn your back on a newborn, so would end up in the same position all night? I'd think you would have to be aware of the baby at all times, so how do you get a good nights sleep?

I'd be too nervous and ds2 + 3 were prem so it was never an option anyway. I'm probably just too anxious to co sleep

MrsTittleMouse Fri 05-Oct-12 12:22:32

This is how I did it:

DH went into the spare room (which was to become the nursery).
My bed was a mattress on the floor (so no falling out of bed issues).
DD in bed with me, me curled around her protectively, and the duvet only up to my waist, to prevent it riding up and causing her to overheat.

A few months later, DH came back in with us (DD on my side, not between us, so no issues of him rolling on her or waking her up).
We gradually moved her into a Moses basket next to the bed, and then into a cot in the room.

I do wonder if co-sleeping babies tend not to move around so much. She will turn 360 degrees in her bed, but never did when co-sleeping, or now when she comes in if she's ill or has a nightmare. Conversely, her sister is a nightmare to share a bed with! But this is based on my n = 2. smile

DuelingFanjo Fri 05-Oct-12 12:22:55

DS sleeps in my bed alone until I come up. He is 22 months old and has done this pretty much from 16 weeks (Before that he would sleep on me downstairs then in bed with me).

We have the Duvet folded down on one side and pillows away from him. We did have a bed guard for a while but DS can now get off the bed safely and has only fallen out twice blush

He's never slept in his cot. It can be uncomfortable, particularly now DS is older and moves about a lot more. As far as sleep goes I get more sleep because I can just feed him as soon as he waked (I am breastfeeding) I love it. Sometimes I sleep through him feeding as he can basically help himself.
but I know there are many people who assume he should be sleeping through now.

Hanleyhigh Fri 05-Oct-12 12:24:33

Superking bed did it for us. The rest seemed easy after that!

dd is 10 now and superking bed still useful for snuggly mornings.

Moominsarescary Fri 05-Oct-12 12:25:04

There have been times they have got into bed with me during the night but they've been older 2-3 years old

porcamiseria Fri 05-Oct-12 12:25:21

I cosplept with DS 2 for the first few months, it made my life SO MUCH EASIER

he BF alot (big baby) and at nights I could just feed him, then shuffle him back

poor DP had to sleep on the sofa

then we moved his cot next to ours (once he stopped feeding every 2 hours)

then we put the barrier up!

MrsTittleMouse Fri 05-Oct-12 12:25:30

Moomin - I slept a hell of a lot better than getting up every couple of hours! It's just instinctive - I curled around her and slept perfectly well. I was on a hair trigger anyway with both of mine, so I wonder if Mums of babies don't ever sleep as deeply as normal people. grin

JollyToddler Fri 05-Oct-12 12:27:44

I actually did notice cosleeping last night that I didn't move as much as I normally do in my sleep. So maybe instincts kick in.

dysfunctionalme Fri 05-Oct-12 12:27:44

First baby slept in the middle of us up higher so quilt wouldn't flick over her head. Just for first 9 weeks then she liked being in her cot.

Second baby slept next to me without a pillow, he was in a sleeping bag thingy. Put him to bed in his cot but brought him in first time he woke when I was in bed. I used a bed rail or, when away, pushed bed against the wall. No signs of wanting to move on...

NellyBluth Fri 05-Oct-12 12:32:24

I do wonder if bf is one of the big deciders here. If you are bf and your baby feeds several times a night then it is undoubtedly easier to share a bed so they can feed while you are both half asleep. If you are ff then you have to get up anyway so it makes less of a difference whether they are in bed with you anyway. And if you are lucky to have a baby who sleeps well at night then its less of an issue again. (Oh, don't mean this to read that bf babies sleep less well grin)

Madmum24 Fri 05-Oct-12 12:33:56

enters co sleeping advocate

There are many studies that show that those little disturbances/jittery movements/hand flailing incidents happen much less when a baby co sleeps, therefore does not move around the same way that it does sleeping alone.

I never intended to co-sleep, i had never heard of it but when my son was born he was wailing endlessly and the midwife begged asked me to take him into bed with me because he was disturbing other babies on the ward. I nearly had a panic attack, fearing he would fall out of bed (no rails/sides in those days!) but she showed me a way to tuck him in with the blanket tucked under the matress. Ans so it went from there.....

My dh is always very keen to get his own bedroom when we have another baby, but moves back in several months later. I lightly swaddle the baby up to the arms to keep it warm, and place it's face up to mine (on the same level) without a pillow. There are no hard and fast rules, and different families do it in different ways.

As much as i love it, last night I had four kids in the bed with me from age 4-11, and I hardly got any sleep between the rib kicks and duvet hogging. Sad to say our co sleeping days are over :-(

SamSmalaidh Fri 05-Oct-12 12:34:02

When DS was a newborn we had a co-sleeper cot so he couldn't fall out. I would feed him to sleep in my bed, go back downstairs and then me and DH would come to bed later. You do tend to sleep in the same position around them when they are tiny and naturally don't move much but it didn't really disturb my sleep. You should only co-sleep with a little baby if you are breastfeeding by the way, and the baby should only ever be positioned next to the mother not by the father.

By the time he was 7 or 8 months (mostly in his own cot now) he would sleep in the middle and I didn't worry so much about duvets or sleep positions. He never wriggled down though.

Moominsarescary Fri 05-Oct-12 12:35:15

mrstitter we probably don't sleep as deeply, I still find myself waking up as soon as ds3 19 months stirs and he's in a different room. Nobody else ever hears him

EdMcDunnough Fri 05-Oct-12 12:35:50

I feel similarly baffled as to how people keep getting up all night to go to their babies!! I think I would die from tiredness if I had to do that.

I've co-slept with both of mine for around 4/5 years each and will do the same with this one, when it's born.

I've not had the complication of a husband to share with though. I'm sure this makes it easier for me, and the bed has one side along the wall, high wooden ends (it's very old) a bit like a sleigh bed I suppose. So as long as I'm on the outside, no one can fall out.

One of them did wriggle down under the duvet once - how embarrassing to admit that, and I will make very sure they couldn't now. They were fine, luckily.

Other than that it's easy peasy. The times I've been pressured to put a toddler in its own bedroom have been by far the most physically draining nights of my life. When you have the child in your bed, first of all they tend to settle and sleep far easier (ime) and secondly, if you do get woken, it's generally at the start of their disturbance (so you wake when they start to wake, rather than once it's escalated) and they tend to settle again far easier if they aren't fully awake when you've responded.

If they've had a couple pf minutes to really start howling or whatever, they're properly woken up by then and it can be harder to reverse iyswim.

So I think it's the best thing ever.

BillComptonstrousers Fri 05-Oct-12 12:36:40

My DD is seven months and co sleeps because I am lazy. She can still wake twice in the night for a feed, and husband works away during the week so it's easier to have her in with me rather than getting up and down all night. We have a super king size bed so plenty of room grin I sleep further down the bed so the duvet isn't up round her neck, that's pretty much it really! I was hugely strict with the other two, and they never shared my bed.

MrsTittleMouse Fri 05-Oct-12 12:40:47

Moomin - the great news is that now both of mine are over the baby or toddler stage, I am back to sleeping deeply and DH is the one who wakes at every murmur. grin But it doesn't really help when I am in deep sleep and a small person decides to jump on me. hmm Then a hair-trigger would be useful!

spanishring Fri 05-Oct-12 12:42:58

We have a big bed. We all got in. We snuggled up. Sometimes got kicked but were never ever up in the night. Plus when i was working I felt better that I'd get a cuddle at night. Now she's 2 and in her own bed, which she loves.
It's no big deal. I think it's more natural to sleep with your baby as long as it works, than to stick them in another room. That's just my opinion though - I appreciate that some people need to do this.

Viviennemary Fri 05-Oct-12 12:44:29

If it works then fine. But I can't see how anybody can get a good night's sleep. I can see it might work with a king size bed and one parent. But not two parents, child in a double bed. I would never have co-slept with a small baby. I don't think it's very safe. That is my personal opinion.

Lambzig Fri 05-Oct-12 12:45:21

Why cant you co-sleep if you are not breastfeeding? Does it somehow make it less safe?

spanishring Fri 05-Oct-12 12:45:58

Of course it's safe. You adapt. Humans adapt. It's ridiculous to say otherwise

Thumbwitch Fri 05-Oct-12 12:48:55

YABU to be utterly baffled. smile
But YANBU to wonder how others manage it.

I co-slept with DS from the start, initially bf'ing took hours because he had a TT (which was snipped at 2w) so it was far easier to have him in the bed with me. DH moved into the spare bed straight away because he couldn't cope with being disturbed, so that helped enormously. I slept in the middle of the bed, and moved DS from side to side as necessary. Slept with one arm out above his head, bent at the elbow so my lower arm was down alongside him. Not the most comfortable position but not that bad either. Kept the duvet away from him, had bolster pillows along the edge of the bed (but he didn't move much anyway and nor do I when sleeping)

Both of us are pretty silent sleepers so didn't disturb each other until DS got to about 5.5mo, when he started to wriggle more - so he went into his cot. Stayed there (unless I had troubles getting him back to sleep when he woke for a feed - if there was the slightest risk of me falling asleep in the chair while feeding him, back to bed we went).

Then we emigrated when he was 20mo, and for the first 6w we stayed at MIL's, which was a shit set up. So I ended up with DS back in bed with me, and DH back in the spare room (he does like his sleep, DH!) and never managed to get rid of DS again, because by the time we got into our own house he was too big for the cot.

But we were used to bed sharing by then - DS was a lot easier to share with than DH grin and still didn't move much when asleep, or make much noise. Since being pregnant though, I have had to reclaim my bed. We only have 2 bedrooms here, and DH has the noisy one, with the far-too-soft bed - so DS now sleeps with him. grin

Sleep is VERY important to all of us - more than who shares with whom!

DS has never fallen out of bed while sleeping with me (although he has fallen off the bed a couple of times, including the first time he slept over at Grandma's hmm). We have offered him his own bed - he's quite keen, but only if it's in the bedroom with me or Daddy so we can be "close to his heart". When DC2 is born next week, I'll be co-sleeping with this one as well, so DS will be sharing Daddy's room for the foreseeable, whether in the kingsize bed, or in his own.

We will build a 3rd bedroom soon...

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