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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?

midori1999 Fri 05-Oct-12 14:20:47


We sometimes bed share with DD. I have had her in our bed on and off since she was born. I do BF and she woke between 1 and 8 times a night until around 9/10 months old, then slept through, then started waking and feeding frequently all night again. Now she sleeps through again. Bed sharing has saved me from being utterly exhausted and made breastfeeding easier because of that.

DD goes down in her own cot when she first goes to bed for the night although prior to her doing that DH and I took turns holding/cuddling her until we went to bed, and then I either get her in bed with me when she first wakes or if I feel like cuddling up with her.

She moves all over in her cotbed, but stays between me and the bed rail in my bed. I wouldn't leave her in there unattended though. It's natural for babies, especially young babies to wriggle over to a warm person, so they naturally stay near you.

The only adjustment our room has needed is a bed rail.

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Fri 05-Oct-12 14:41:36

This is how we do it. DH sleeps on the floor on an air bed, this is because he's very restless sleeper and moves around a lot. DS3 sort of sleeps in the middle of the bed and I'm curled around him. I make sure that my head is slightly lower than the top of his so that reduces the risk of me pulling blankets over his head.

I've given up using a duvet and have a quilt and a sheet instead, light coverings are better when co-sleeping you see.

DS comes to bed the same time we do, he has a wakeful period at around 8 or 9 PM and when he goes to sleep after that, we head up to bed too.

Before I get criticised for making DH sleep on the floor, it's a sacrifice he willing makes so that I (and him too) can get a good nights sleep. By co-sleeping I can bf lying down. DS is still sleepy when he gets fed so he usually goes back to sleep fairly quickly after his feed. I don't need to worry about moving him and waking him up again. Last night he woke up twice for a feed and went back to sleep straight away. I doubt I was up over an hour in total and when I woke up this morning I felt quite rested, as did DH when he woke up. DS3 is 2 weeks old.

I didn't co-sleep with my first two and I can remember those awful nights of feeding a baby and trying to put him or her back in the moses basket only to have them wake up and then having to offer a comfort feed and then trying to get them moved back in to the basket, rinse and repeat. I ended up co-sleeping on some nights, not intentionally but because I was so exhausted. I did some reading up on co-sleeping before I had DC3 because I figured that as it was inevitable, I might as well learn how to be safe about it.

CrunchyFrog Fri 05-Oct-12 15:47:42

The only adjustment I made was to ditch a pillow so I only had one thin one, that was it!

Scheherezade Fri 05-Oct-12 15:50:07

I could never work out the logistics of duvet/pillows. We have a 500+ year old cottage in the country, it gets VERY cold. Duvets need to be up around the ears and DS well wrapped up. Duvets round waists isn't a possibility.

hellymelly Fri 05-Oct-12 15:53:59

My dds are 5 and 7 and haven't ever left the bed! They go to bed together at about 7-7.30 and then DH and I go up when we want to. We have a single bed butted up against a king size as DH was getting too squashed and ended up in the girl's room half the time. I have moments where I wish they were elsewhere, when I get elbowed in the eye at 2 a.m, but mostly it is cosy and waking up with them is lovely. I have left it up to them to choose where they want to sleep so far.

sweetkitty Fri 05-Oct-12 15:56:33

I've coslept with all four to just beyond a year each. We had a cosleeper cot where one side slide under the cot and it was at the same height as the bed although depending which side the baby last fed on that's what side they slept on.

Have never rolled on the baby etc you know they are there same with falling out the bed. You never fall out of bed do you?

I loved cosleeping and miss it dearly.

Raspberryandorangesorbet Fri 05-Oct-12 15:58:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

monkeysbignuts Fri 05-Oct-12 16:00:35

I co slept with my first baby as he fed almost constant for the first 6 months and after that he woke once or twice a night. It made my life easier and more manageable to just co sleep otherwise I was like a zombie!
we managed to move him into a cot around 11 months then into his own room at 12 months when he was sleeping a lot better.
My daughter only used to wake around 5am for a feed so I would bring her into our bed for that in hope of a bit longer sleep.

BoffinMum Fri 05-Oct-12 16:01:45

With young babies I put them down the bed a bit so they are away from my pillow, and sort of curl around them. They can almost bf themselves in this postion. I don't sleep deeply, it's more of a doze really, but I get more sleep than if they were out of the bed IYSWIM.

After about 9 months they get a bit big for this so we make a kind of nest in the middle of our bed for them if necessary.

Usually after 4-5 months they are happier in their own cot though.

TwelveLeggedWalk Fri 05-Oct-12 16:04:34

I understand the sleeping, I just don't understand the getting them to sleep! My two go to bed around 7.30. Much as I'm sometimes tempted, I can't do that! They would go crawling off if they weren't in a cot. How do co-sleepers manage evenings?

JugglingWithPossibilities Fri 05-Oct-12 16:07:56

I'm a good sleeper - the only thing that has ever woken me up is my babies - they found it easier to get my attention sleeping next to me !
I think it may have been their decision as much as mine smile

Raspberryandorangesorbet Fri 05-Oct-12 16:08:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bonkersLFDT20 Fri 05-Oct-12 16:09:36

This is what we did:
DH in spare room.
DS2 co-slept from day 1. Just laid him on the bed and I slept next to him. Yes, I did sometimes get a bit achy from being in the same position for long periods of time, but I never had to get out of bed!

When he got a bit older, around 3 months I think, I then started to settle him at bedtime in his cot. He would then join me when he first woke. Did away with pillows and duvet on his side.

We did go through wriggly periods when I would return him to his cot after BF, and periods where I thought he was just BF all night. Carried on anyway. Used a bedrail once he was mobile.

Now (he's 3 1/2) he goes to bed after stories and creeps in next to me at some point (no idea what time) and has some Mummy Milk. I do get nights when he's snuggled up so close to me it's ridiculous, so I'll shove gently move him away, often to be greeted with a sleepy "but I just want to sleep next to you"....awwww.

I never did go through the utter exhaustion I did with my first (not just down to co-sleeping I'm sure).

PiedWagtail Fri 05-Oct-12 16:11:16

I co-slept with ds from birth on and off. It was just easier than putting him down in his moses basket etc after feeding. We have a super king size bed so there was plenty of room.

I swaddled him so he was away from our duvet and pillows. Put a pillow on his other side so he couldn't fall out. I kind of curled myself round him - instinctively. Meant he could latch on and feed in the night.

I used to wake up in the same position as I had gone to sleep in. I knew he was there, yet could still sleep. Worked for us.... but I can still remember how lovely it was to be able to sleep by myself and stretch out and not worry about ds!!!

OvO Fri 05-Oct-12 16:13:42

When mine were babies I swapped my huge heavy duvet for a single one and just had 2 pillows in the bed instead of my usual 8. (I have a pillow addiction) I also used a bed thingy. What are they called? Those doodahs that you put at the side of beds so children don't fall out? Mind has gone blank. Well one of those things then baby in middle and a pillow at the bottom when they were at the escaping age to stop them escaping in that direction.

I still co-sleep with my Ds3 who is 5 next month. I still like it so no plans to stop. If he's in his own bed he gets woken by his big brother and gets up at 6.30am but in with me he sleeps until 8am at the very earliest but usually around 9am. Seems a no brainer to me. grin

Now the only problems with co sleeping is who gets the fan side. Me dammit! It's MY side. <scowly face>

Raspberryandorangesorbet Fri 05-Oct-12 16:15:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NellyBluth Fri 05-Oct-12 16:15:14

Twelve, that's what I was thinking! DD would never stay still on her own in a bed, but goes to sleep almost 3 hours before we do.

I'm spotting a common theme here and it is breastfeeding. It would be fascinating if we were able to see how many breast-feeding mums cosleep v how many formula-feeding mums.

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?

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

DH was a bit put out at being ousted by the babies for a long while, but it was kind of his choice to move out once they moved in ! I was just doing what I could to get everyone reasonably happily through the night ! I guess he had to fend for himself for a bit - but at least he got an un-interrupted night's sleep. I'm not going to feel too sorry for him ! (though you may if you wish !)

Scheherezade Fri 05-Oct-12 16:21:27

But how do you an baby keep warm in winter without bog duvets and blankets?! Our house is FREEZING at night.

MrsTittleMouse Fri 05-Oct-12 16:23:48

Baby sleeping bag for us. smile

OvO Fri 05-Oct-12 16:24:21

That's the one, Raspberry! Thanks. grin

Nelly, my DH sleeps in the same room but a different bed. I think it's been a positive for our relationship as I can't kick the bugger for snoring now! Bruised shins make for sad marriages. wink

But seriously, we all sleep better with this method and enough sleep makes a huuuuuuuge difference to daytime hours. We're all the happier for it even though my DH and I don't share a bed just because we are well rested. Tiredness makes me evil.

Thumbwitch Fri 05-Oct-12 16:26:24

I find it ok to be in a different bed from DH, tbh. He snores and farts and kicks - DS was much easier to sleep with but I'm still happier on my own. I'm a light sleeper and get woken easily, plus DH is often up at 5-6am, while I'm a night owl and prefer to go through til 8 (DS is also a night owl).

DH does think that we should end up sleeping together again, but he ignores the practicalities of the situation - I like sheet, blanket, duvet where he prefers just duvet although has been trained to accept sheet and duvet; the king size is too soft and hot for me - it's a pillow-top mattress whereas my double bed is not - it's the right firmness and doesn't get so hot. We both get fairly grouchy if our sleep is disturbed. I also like to read myself back to sleep if I have troubles sleeping - this doesn't go down well with DH; he prefers to watch the TV to sleep - I can't do this.

On the whole I think DH only feels we should share a bed again because that's what married people do - practically he's actually just as happy with the set-up as I am (although he'd prefer to be the one who had the bed to himself again, I'm sure! grin)

OvO Fri 05-Oct-12 16:27:16

Scheherazade, I made sure my DS's had plenty of layers on in winter, (both November newborns)plus plenty of baby sized blankets. Plus they get your body heat when you are curled round them.

NellyBluth Fri 05-Oct-12 16:32:52

Oh, OvO, I hear you on the snoring! We used to have a spare double bed and DP could go and sleep in there when he was having a fidgety, snoring night, I miss that sooo much. I'm not going to disagree with anyone that separate beds can be great, they can be a bloody lifesaver, but I think if I had spent the past 8 months not sharing a bed with DP at all I would... miss the intimacy. And not in a nudge-nudge, wink-wink way grin. Though I appreciate you are replacing that with a extra time with your baby.

Scheherezade Fri 05-Oct-12 16:40:50

Ovo but what about yourself? Having a duvet round your knees is useless, and you can't bf with a big wooly jumper and long johns grin

I tried but just couldn't keep us both warm, so DS slept next to me in a Moses basket. I bf.

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