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Co-sleeping - advice?

(21 Posts)
patagonia09 Wed 17-Aug-11 17:53:35

I've been reading "three in a bed" about the benefits of having your baby sleep in bed with you and I'm keen to try it when our LO pops out. Just wanted to know about other people's experiences of this, in particular: how do you arrange yourselves so baby doesn't risk getting pillow on its face? Is there a way to have baby in bed AND foot-to-foot, as recommended in a cot? and how do you eventually get him/her to move into own bed/own room?
Please don't respond with negative comments about the whole idea unless you're speaking from personal experience - in which case, comments welcome!

butterflyexperience Wed 17-Aug-11 18:47:18

With dd1 I found it easier to get sleep myself as baby would fall asleep on boob for most of night whilst me on back

I loved the closeness and couldn't bear to control cry her

Whilst sleeping on me I would have either no duvet or would place it on her no higher then lower back
I was always paranoid about SIDS so woke lots to check on her

As she got bigger my back would hurt and the sleep deprivation kicked in and I suffered badly

I'm sure there is a better way I just didn't know it.

With dd2 I always put her in Moses basket so she could get used to it and we all sleep better.

I'm sure someone can tell you how to structure cosleep so you all rest well smile

LeoTheLateBloomer Wed 17-Aug-11 19:03:12

I didn't start co-sleeping with DD until she was about 5 months and therefore a bit sturdier (if I can use that word!). We only had a standard size double and because I was afraid of her rolling out (I didn't have a barrier) she slept in between us.

She wore her sleepsuit with nothing over her. Ex and I kept our pillows apart so there was nothing directly above her head. Other than that I'm not sure what we did (and it wasn't even that long ago!)

When I wanted to start getting her used to her own bed I brought her cot into our room and put it up against the bed. The mattress was still on the higher level and with the side down she was perfectly placed to be at my level and I was able to reach out and reassure her in the night.

She generally started off in her cot and then at some point in the night came in with me for feeding and ended up staying.

The hardest part I found was the moment I realised that she really didn't need feeds during the night. We were in a vicious circle; if she was in my bed, she would feed (I was never up for taping down my boobs!), if she woke up in her bed she'd cry until she came in with me. It was tricky but we managed it and she was eventually in her bed all night at just over 12 months.

Not sure if this really answers your questions... blush Sorry if it doesn't!

CubiksRube Wed 17-Aug-11 19:08:41

Ah, co-sleeping. We did it happily until DS got so strong he rolled through the bed-guard. We stopped co-sleeping when DS was 5 months and I think about 18lbs, so had started to take up more space.

To answer your questions, in my humble opinion ... never 'fluff' the pillows, keep them as flat as possible, and don't have any part of your baby resting on the pillow. I would fall asleep breastfeeding, sort of curled around DS so my arm would stop him wriggling up into the pillow.

A baby sleeping bag might be useful. We had a 1-tog and a 2.5 tog I seem to remember, but you can also buy them made of what is basically sheets. This negates the need for foot-to-foot, as the baby can't wriggle down into the sleeping bag and doesn't need to be under the duvet. We had DSon top of the duvet.

Obviously, buy a bed-guard for the side of the bed that is not to the wall. Don't have baby between you and the wall, apparently. I'm not sure why - possibly because they might roll into a potential crack between bed and wall?

As for moving to his own bed. I don't really remember, it was very gradual. DS learned to nap in the cot first, and at 3 months we started to impose a bit more routine i.e. bed earlier etc, and have a nighttime ritual (bath, massage, feed, cot). It worked, though I couldn't tell you how/why! But as far as I'm concerned co-sleeping isn't 'making a rod for your own back' or some such.

Sorry, that was long! Just see how you feel and if co-sleeping makes you uncomfortable or worried, try the alternative.

emsies Wed 17-Aug-11 19:52:48

First time around we extended the bed by taking a side off of her toddler cot and affixing it to the bed. This meant daughter could have her own space a bit as she got bigger and I didn'tvhave to worry about her falling out.

This time around we are getting one of these -

and taking off the silly covers/ bumpers (not advised anyway) but it has variable heights and attaches to the bed properly.

Duvets aren't really advised, nor are pillows, so best to work out if you will use sheets/blankets or put baby near you in a grobag but cover your lower half etc.

Definitely recommend co-sleeping though smile Daughter now 2 and a half and been sleeping independently all the way through in her own bed for at least a year!

skewiff Wed 17-Aug-11 20:38:52

If I had read this before I had started - I would have been really put off ...

But actually the whole things (so far) has been brilliant and worked really well for us.

I started co-sleeping with DS1 when he was born and he slept in our very large double bed with me and my partner. DP got fed up with the whole thing after about 6 months. DS1 was a really bad and noisy sleeper. So DP left me and DS1 to it and slept next door from then on.

I really enjoyed co-sleeping because I didn't have to wake in the night to feed. I just slept through it all somehow. I kept the pillow out of DS's face by keeping him sleeping in the crook of my arm, or by making the pillow just under my head, but not above his, if that makes sense.

I kept the duvet just over his legs and made sure that I wore warm tops so that my arms didn't get cold etc.

DS1 slept in bed with me until about 3 days ago. He's now 4. I've got a 3 month old now and all 3 of us were sleeping in bed together. But DD was keeping DS awake (he is a very light sleeper) and he starts school in September.

So now we've swapped rooms and sleep in DP's room. We've set up bunkbeds in there. DS sleeps on the top. DD and me sleep in the double bed bottom bit. DP sleeps in our old room. We do plan to sleep together one day again - honest! But at the moment we've reached a solution where all of us get the best sleep possible.

beetlebat Wed 17-Aug-11 21:07:06

I never gave it any thought and co-slept for at least part of every night from day 1 (when still in hospital!) until DD was around 3mths. We didn't do anything special; she just nestled into the crook of my arm and had the duvet over at least part of her. Sometimes she was on the outer side of the bed and sometimes between DP and I. I never had any concerns about crushing her etc as at that stage I woke if she so much as figited or breathed a bit differnetly! Also, I was bottle feeding so co-sleeping isn't something BF-ers alone do.

We started using her own cot in her room at 3 mths mostly because all the figiting was stopping me sleeping too well. Had no issues at all doing it at that age and she has gone on to be an excellent sleeper (now 16mths) so I thoroughly recommend it.

emsies Wed 17-Aug-11 21:10:00

PS - I loved 3 in a bed smile Not only was it fab about co-sleeping but also breastfeeding and other natural parenting approaches. I think it was my favourite "parenting" book smile x

SpangleMaker Wed 17-Aug-11 21:25:32

I co-slept with DD from newborn - not all night, but if she woke for a feed and wouldn't settle quickly (I have a toddler too so needed as much sleep as possible!).

Because she was so little I didn't want her between me and DH, so I had her on the outside of the bed and used one of those v-shaped pillows - I had my head on one side of the v and the other between DD and the side of the bed. I slept on my side with the duvet tucked between my knees so that it couldn't go over her (she was in a sleeping bag) and also kept my arm bent around her head so that my top pillow wouldn't stray towards her. Hope that makes sense!

Luckily DD is generally a good sleeper so the co-sleeping has dwindled to the odd night when she's ill or whatever (she's nearly 8 months now) so I don't worry about getting her into her own cot. DS on the other hand was a lot more work in that regard, but it happened without too much difficulty when he was ready (about 18 months).

Go for it - co-sleeping is lovely!

johnnycomelurky Wed 17-Aug-11 21:41:55

We've co-slept on and off since my son was born as he wouldn't settle unless held or beside me on the bed. We had bought a three-sided cot so it's been easy as DS is beside me on the cot side. He's been in a sleeping bag since about 6 weeks, before that I had him in a fleecy sleepsuit and used a cellular blanket. I slept on my side facing him and curled around him so his head was at chest height so no risk from pillow. Since he was on the edge, I could tuck edge of duvet around me. For the past month or two he's spent most nights in the cot but if he's really unsettled I'll pull him onto our bed and he always falls straight to sleep. I found I was so tuned into him that I woke if he even slightly stirred and I never once have rolled either towards or away from him. It is really lovely too smile.

FannyLogan Wed 17-Aug-11 21:42:06

I love co-sleeping and we are currently co-sleeping with DD2.10 and DS 14 weeks. We have a double and a single pushed together. DD on far side next to wall, DH in middle and me and DS on other side. He is too little to roll yet so no bed guard etc DD will be moving to her own room soon and I will miss her and don't really want her to go, but if she wakes in the night she is very loud and will wake DS, so we need some distance.

It's fab as well when you go back to work because you get cuddles all night, so still feel like you are seeing them.

how do you arrange yourselves so baby doesn't risk getting pillow on its face?

I found this leaflet really useful (was in the bumf I got at midwife appointments) and the diagram shows how I sleep - it just sort of comes naturally I think!

Is there a way to have baby in bed AND foot-to-foot, as recommended in a cot?

No, I don't think so. But its about the risk of them wriggling under the covers. So we are back to sheets and adult size cellular blankets. And warm tops in winter.

Good luck. I love co-sleeping! Remember it is entirely normal for other animals, other humans in different cultures and historically up until 100/50 ears ago, depending on wealth.

FannyLogan Wed 17-Aug-11 21:43:37

And we don't own a cot!

bonkers20 Wed 17-Aug-11 21:59:13

I co-slept with DS1 when sleep deprivation caused us to do whatever we needed to do to get some sleep.

I co-slept with DS2 from day 0 ie the one night we spent in hospital, to avoid gettting sleep deprived at all!

With both we settled in their cots at bed time and then they came into bed on first waking. This got later and later until DS1 was in his bed all night from about 2 1/2. DS2 (nearly 2 1/2) is still joining me.

DH has moved out for the duration (trust me, there is more to a marriage than sleeping in the same not wanting to kill each other through lack of sleep).

When tiny, DSs would simply lie on the mattress with no pillows or duvet over them, just a waffle blanket. We have a bed rail so I can shove him over when he does the starfish thing.

I sleep quite lightly when co-sleeping.

The worst that has happened is that DS2 slept walked and ended up half way down the stairs sobbing, all confused and asleep.

I now get woken up either to "Mummy, it's morning time" or if I'm really lucky to having my eyes peeled open or my nose picked.

Three in a Bed was also one of my favorite books. I wished I read it well before I had DS1 because it just felt so right but like many parents I struggled to accept that it was OK and I wasn't making some stupid rod for my back.

I actually really like hearing DS2 stir in his cot so I can go and scoop him up and nurse him and snuggle. No getting out of bed for me in the small hours...yay!

earshot Wed 17-Aug-11 22:12:03

I'd have loved to have one those very expensive but very lovely cots with no side against the bed that you hook against your bed so you can co sleep and have a cot (sorry I don't know what they are called and I couldn't make the previous poster's link work to see if it was something like this).

I personally sleep really badly when co-sleeping with a newborn (that's probably just me being paranoid about everything). I got round it this time by having DD in a p+t cocoon in bed with me (the one that goes into the bottom of the buggy when they are small). The side is so soft it just folds down for me to cuddle her and feed her easily, but she was still all snuggly with her own blanket and I didn't need to worry about wrapping the duvet round me. Now she's in a merino wool sleeping bag next to me so I don't have to worry about overheating (see, paranoid).

Co-sleeping is more about survival for me - I only do it to get through the months of horrendous night feeding as I would actually be a zombie if I didn't so it in my sleep grin. Please no one judge me but I'm really looking forward to having my bed after the last couple of years..

greatcheese Wed 17-Aug-11 22:18:38

I co slept with DS until he was 12 weeks (and he began sleeping through the night). I didn't know anything about co sleeping but I was lucky enough to have a midwife who was really for it. She told me to try sleeping in a c shape, so you face your baby with your body making a c shape around your baby. I spent the whole 12 weeks worrying that he would never sleep in his own bed and that I was 'making a rod for my back'. He was perfectly happy to sleep in his own cot so my worries were unfounded. Getting up to feed your baby 3/4/5 times in the night is knackering and it was lovely to just offer him my breast and feed him on my side. My OH slept in the spare room through this period which we were both happy about - I hated to think that DS was disturbing him and OH snores v badly so it was the right decision for us all round. Good luck!

emsies Wed 17-Aug-11 22:19:54

Sorry that was probably my link. It's basically a 3 sided cot that is completely height adjustable, fixes to the bed and has a bit to cover the "gap" that forms when you DIY with a normal cot. It's about £85 so nowhere near the expensive UK /NCT prices. (In ebay if you enter "co sleeper" a cheesy yellow or blue cot with a sort of covering comes up. Look further down to see a decent picture -I wouldn't use the veil/covering thing or the bumpers!).

It looks fab - I have it on order for no 2!!! Co-sleeping wth no 1 happened by accident as I was bf and exhausted but I later read 3 in a bed and loved it. I'm planning to co-sleep with no 2 from day 1 but SO hoping I wont get as exhausted this stime...

First time around we just hacked away at our big toddler bed to make extra space. In an ideal world I guess we'd have a king size bed/ single next to double but htere's not space in our house!.

tallulah Wed 17-Aug-11 22:29:14

I have co-slep with DD since she was born. Had to banish DH from the bed (he works nights so he's only home 2 out of 7 anyway) because he thrashes about and I was terrified he'd crush her, even though we have a 6ft wide bed.

I moved the pillows to the outer sides of the bed and had the duvet pulled down to my waist. DD slept on top of the duvet, with a baby cellular blanket over her. When she was tiny I slept on my side with my bottom arm over her head. She would feed without waking completely and without crying. she did learn to feed without waking me grin The funniest time was when she fed through my nightdress.

As she got bigger and more robust I relaxed more. She is now 4 and still sleeps with us. It is a pain when she wakes early "morning-time mummy" and either bashes me or pulls my eyelids, but I like having her there in the night.

earshot Wed 17-Aug-11 22:37:01

Emsies - that's so much cheaper than any others ones I've seen! Brilliant. Almost makes me want another baby wink

hellymelly Wed 17-Aug-11 22:37:04

I co sleep with my dds who are now 4 and 6. We've also never had a cot. Although in the first few weeks we had a moses basket for daytime naps and I would have that in the bed inbetween me and DH,but at about 3 weeks when I was a bit more recovered from the birth we had the babies just in with us.I found I naturally slept in the position bf mothers tend to adopt,sort of curled around dd. I woke as they were rousing,so they didn't cry often,and it was and is lovely to just put out a hand to check your baby. Now they do take up the whole bed,and DH has given up trying to sqaush in and so is in the bed in their room until we get a bigger one,but other that that its lovely.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Thu 18-Aug-11 23:07:01

I Coslept with Ds and still do a bit at 17 mths. I curled up around him knees & arm creating an arc around him, which is the safest way. I threw out of bed all pillows but one really flat one, & wore a long sleeved nightie with breast feeding front (very sexy!), and used a cellular blanket to cover me if I got cold. Ds was usually in a sleeping bag or a babygro.

It worked really well for the first 4 months, then I started to get back ache & ds used my nipples as an all night dummy! I then used a hammock (silent reflux problem), and then a cot with one side off. The cot started to break so I got a cosatto cosleeping cot which he still uses, this was great for getting more space & training him slowly to sleep alone. He now sleeps most of the night in his cot & crawls to me gor the cuddle & snooze at 530/6ish...

The cosatto cot us v good, but pricey.

patagonia09 Fri 19-Aug-11 10:52:43

Thanks for all the tips! I'm glad to hear it really does work in practice.

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