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Co-sleeping advice from old-timers, please!

(20 Posts)
ReshapeWhileDamp Sun 28-Nov-10 14:22:38

smile And is there not a whole co-sleeping Topic I've missed somewhere on Talk? Seems like there should be.

Anyway, am expecting DS2 in about 4 weeks (or sooner if he stays breech hmm) and after barely surviving DS1's first few months, where he slept in a Moses basket next to the bed and was being breastfed every 2 hours, we've decided this one will have to be in bed with us from the outset, though I'm planning on having a basket in the room and trying for flexibility too.

Never really coslept properly with DS - maybe a few hours at the end of the night after he was about 3 months or so, but I never got any sleep! I think that I was too scared to sleep and unconfident of the whole thing. Also, we use a duvet and I was worried about the whole overheating thing.

So I need some confidence to do this 'properly' with the new baby. We bought a larger bed (king) specifically to cosleep in (it's a medium mattress, not too soft). There's a spare bedroom for DH to go to if it all gets a bit crowded or loud grin as he has to drive to work and is really worried he'll get tired enough to crash, as he nearly did last time. sad

I know the 'rules' - no drink, no drugs, sensible bed coverings, etc - but don't really know the basic stuff - for instance, what do we dress the baby in if he's under the covers? Just a vest? Is a duvet a good idea for him if he's in a vest or is that still too hot? Should he have just a blanket over him and the duvet pushed down? I've been making a version of this which struck me as a good idea - a barrier and a mattress protector (our new mattress is quite posh and I don't particularly want breastmilk/poo getting through to it, though I accept this is probably going to happen sooner or later!) but is having a pillow-like barrier even a good idea?

Plus, we're worried about DS1, who is nearly 3 and reacting to our very recent house move by becoming a terrible sleeper and needing lots of cuddles and reassurances. Half the time he's coming into our bed at some point, or needing us to lie down in our bed next to him to get him to sleep at bedtime (and then being transfered to his room) and I'm concerned that if he keeps this up, there will NOT be enough room (not safe room anyway) for him, DH, me and the baby! I suppose that's what the spare room is for - him and DH having some boy time together at nights! grin

I am totally clueless, and seem to be living in a very non-lentilly area where hardly anyone does this as a matter of course. Our local Slingmeet is a bit far off, though I bet I'd get some good advice there too.

Tips? Warnings? Random useful things? smile

stickersarecurrency Sun 28-Nov-10 14:35:45

Ok, I have a 3 year old who comes to our bed in the night, and a 2 month old. Here's how we do it.

Cot bed with one side off, hard against my side of the bed, sort of a sidecar I guess. DS starts the night in his single bed. DD comes up with me, if already asleep in her moses basket I just plonk it in the cot. If not I feed her to sleep in bed. She wears a vest, babygro and grobag. I mainly feed her from one breast all night so she never comes under the duvet but if she feeds on the other side she lies on top of the covers so if I fall asleep she doesn't overheat. But I try to keep her in the cot so that when DS arrives he can clamber between us as usual. DP can then make use of DS's bed if he gets shoved out.

If you don't have a cot, shove your bed against the wall, make sure no gaps, and put any pillows well away from the wall side of the bed. Place baby high up and only in babygro if sharing your covers. And zzzzzz ...

dikkertjedap Sun 28-Nov-10 19:44:51

Hi, when she was young we never used a duvet. We bought a 100 per cent cotton bedspread (John Lewis sells them) and used that with a large sheet. We all wore warm pyjamas. As a baby, dd wore one of those JoJoMamanBebe sleepsuits and she was under the blanket with us. At one point bed got too hot with the three of us, for a little while DH slept in spare bedroom. That way he also got a few hours extra sleep. DD drunk from both sides, so she would start on one side of the bed, but ended up on other side of the bed after a while. We had bedguards on one side and foot end of bed and bed side cot on the other side, but dd only used that to play in, but was handy as extra and safe area. I definitely got more sleep this way but I never slept as deep as when she slept in her own room. I was always aware of her, also I always woke up just before her. However, it has worked really well for us. Oh, you probably wouldn't do this anyway, but of course you cannot use electric blankets, hot water bottles, that type of stuff. Also, if you do need to take medication which makes you drowsy or do want a glass of wine, then it might be better to let her sleep in the bedside cot. Good luck!

HamsterPoo Sun 28-Nov-10 19:48:03

I co-slept with all my 4. Best advice is just go with your instincts. I did use a duvet but never had v warm bedroom. If they seem to warm, just strip down to nappy. Relax and enjoy smile

ItIsILeclerc Sun 28-Nov-10 22:51:43

We didn't start co-sleeping full time with DD until about five months (too nervous, like you will probably do it from the start next time) but she was always in a grobag and just went on top of the duvet (tried to keep it folded down away from her face and wore longsleeved tops in bed). She's now just over two and goes under the covers and seems to have dispensed with the bag, though she did have it for a bit.

Love that big cushion thing - often thought it would be easy to make one but too lazy blush We have a toddler bedguard on each side of the bed (used to be just on my side but she rolled out a few times before we came upstairs ). When she was younger we took the side off the cot and used bungees to attach it firmly to my side of the bed, then used rolled up towels to push her mattress firmly against ours. I also have a nice mattress and have a protector sheet under the normal sheet (she did a massive pee in the bed a week ago before we put her nappy on and mattress was fine, yay).

There is a sleep forum which includes co-sleeping - you might find more tips/answers there

ReshapeWhileDamp Mon 29-Nov-10 23:18:03

Thanks, these are all really helpful tips. I suspected there are as many ways to co-sleep as there are co-sleepers! grin We don't have a bedside cot that you can take a side off, just the basket and a slightly larger wooden crib that someone gave us. (DS is in a cotbed but will be in that, with sides off, for some time.) Annoyingly, the way the room is shaped means we can't push one side of the bed against the wall (chimney breast)

Our bedroom is pretty chilly - well, I know it's not really representative at the moment, but it gets down to 15 degrees. I'm used to snuggling the duvet around my ears and know this will have to stop. sad Maybe we can try the grobag-on-top of the duvet thing?

Thanks, will check out the sleep topic.

Greythorne Mon 29-Nov-10 23:25:35

Depends of course on what your baby likes; if he / she wants to sleep on you, on your chest, easy access to milk, comfort of skin to skin, then even in winter, I would say just nappy and vest. but he / she might want their own space, in which case long sleeved pj thingy with feet might be useful.

When DD was little, she would sleep on me with a V shaped breastfeeding pillow round her legs / bottom and over my tummy to keep her in place.

We always had DDs between us, although that is not technically recommended ("should" be daddy - mummy - baby - wall).

I don't really drink ever, but DH has been known to partake of the odd bottle glass of wine, so on nights when he was pissed merry, he would sleep on the sofa in the lounge.

Get stretchy pj tops so you can feed easily. Forget all the special breastfeeding ones with flaps and buttons and paraphenalia. Waste of.

Have little changing station (nappies, water, cotton pads or whatever you use, spare pjs) close by so you can change nappies in the early days without really getting up properly.

Will pop back if anything else springs to mind.

fortyplus Mon 29-Nov-10 23:27:59

Don't sleep a new baby on top of a duvet!shock

My 2 are 15 and nearly 17. Both started off in crib next to bed - I used to pat/stroke them then take them into the bed if they were restless. I had baby between me and edge of the bed with the crook of my arm around him - they never fell out.

Dh spent lots of time in the spare room - when we had ds2 dh would go to ds1 if he woke in the night.

Ds1 and ds2 both went into their own rooms without much trouble at about 9 months, having been bf till 7 months.

Cosleeping is lovely - but I'd never put a new baby between 2 adults.

ItIsILeclerc Mon 29-Nov-10 23:28:45

We didn't push the bed against the wall either. I've also read about people doing away with the bed altogether and just putting the mattress on the floor, which seemed very appealing when DD kept falling out but nowhere to put the bed! Also heard that the Jolie-Pitts have one room which is just a massive bed so they can co-sleep with all of theirs - love that idea grin

Someone once suggested a Slanket worn back to front for co-sleeping - possibly worth a go, though they are rather voluminous ime so might swamp your LO. Fleecy top?

TitianTinselTemptress Mon 29-Nov-10 23:32:51

We coslept for a bit when DD was tiny, we bought a plain crib from M'care and DH took one side off, and put a larger piece of MDF in the bottom so it extended out to our mattress IYSWIM. Much cheaper than buying a cosleeper. worked well for us

thecaptaincrocfamily Mon 29-Nov-10 23:42:33

Dress baby in whatever layers you would wear, i.e. if house is cold a vest and babygrow and covers, house hot, vest and duvet.
I have to say the risk of cot death is greatest before 3 months so in a basket by the bed is best until then. The risk is greater as you said with alcohol/drugs/smoking for both parents but it is more dangerous to fall asleep sat on the sofa than to plan appropriate bed sharing.
Pillows are not a good idea, you can get a sort of baby mat/ barrier instead or a hook on crib. This is safer than bed sharing on a matress.
Definately use the protective c position to feed, put baby on back to sleep after a feed and if you fall asleep just do it once you wake.
Put the baby away from dh on the opposite side and away from siblings, to avoid accidental crushing/suffocation.
Risk is currently 1:2000 for cot death of which 43% breastfed.

thecaptaincrocfamily Mon 29-Nov-10 23:44:37

Oh and I second that co-sleeping is best done on primitive style sleeping arrangements, mat/ thick blanket/thin matress on the floor. In Sri Lanka it is the norm but not in beds.

cheesebaby Tue 30-Nov-10 00:42:45

C&P'd the below from another recent post I made:

So long as you don't:

Smoke at all
Drink alcohol and co-sleep
Take drugs or other medications which effect awareness...

...current evidence shows that the risk of SIDS while co-sleeping is no greater than when putting her in a cot. If you breastfeed the risk is further reduced.

Be careful to follow safe co-sleeping guidelines, and if you're especially tired, your baby was premature/born small, or you formula feed you might prefer to set up a bed-side cot rather than bed-share.

fwiw there's no way I'd sleep with a baby on top of the duvet - one of the key 'safety features' is your ability to sense your baby's presence, and separating yourself from him/her would make the situation more, not less, risky.

As a breastfeeding mum you will probably sleep curled round your baby, protecting him/her from the duvet/overheating/bed-partners.

A side-car arrangement is good, even just so you can have the baby on the edge of the bed rather than in between you / have somewhere safe to leave him or her when you're popping to the loo etc.

Dexterrocks Tue 30-Nov-10 15:55:00

I coslept with ds. We went to the spare room which is upstairs, away from the rest of the family, so they were not disturbed and could cope with their day.
I kept the heating off and I slept under a duvet but pulled it over so it was on the floor on one side and only covered me on my side of the bed. Ds had a normal baby blanket over him on his side. We put the cot mattress on the floor on his side incase he fell out, which he never did.
This system worked well for us. He barely cried through the night, just enough for me to know he was hungry.
I just wore normal pyjamas and fed him on demand through the night. I never fully fell asleep while feeding him but also didn't have to fully wake up either.
I loved it. I have recently been undergoing hypnosis and when under hypnosis was asked to take myself to my "happy place". Every time I was up in the spare bedroom snuggled up with ds (but don't tell my DH!!)

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 30-Nov-10 17:16:41

I co-slept from about 1 month (still am) DD is in the middle between me and her dad. We've always used the duvet. In the early days it never came past my waist, now I'm more lax, but make sure the duvet doesn't go over her head. She wears nappy and sleepsuit. I wear trousers and a vest. I've always been aware of the baby, and able to prod DP if he gets too close, though these days DP seems pretty aware as well. It's lovely having a snuggly person in bed with you when its so baltic grin

ItIsILeclerc Tue 30-Nov-10 20:03:37

Cheesebaby, we slept with DD on top of the duvet because I was so paranoid about her overheating under the duvet - in fact it never occurred to me to put her under until I heard someone else mention that that was what they did when she was about one or so. I still slept in the C position with her, so still responsive to her needs I think, but obviously she wouldn't get the benefit of being regulated by my body temperature etc. We might do it differently next time, not sure.

IAGTBF I've now had to move to the spare room to nightwean and am very jealous of DH getting to snuggle up with the cutest hot water bottle ever

mollycuddles Tue 30-Nov-10 20:14:26

I've always had dd2 on top of the duvet but I wear long sleeves if I'm cold and just have the duvet up to my waist iyswim. Dh is under it as normal and once she was big enough dd went into a grobag. That way she's in the crook of my arm. We have a super king bed so there's plenty of room even when dd1 joins us - she knows she's only allowed beside dh at the edge so no issue with her and dd2.

ReshapeWhileDamp Thu 02-Dec-10 16:48:44

Thanks again - lots to think about and discuss with DH! smile

I think I'll have to get used to wearing more in bed and having duvet lower. I've got an old fleece PJ top that I'm just going to slit across the boob area grin for easy access that won't freeze my norks off.

snowedinthesticks Thu 02-Dec-10 17:43:21

I'm such an old timer it wasn't called co sleeping. We just called it musical beds.

Essentially you all need to get as much sleep as possible with a toddler and a baby. DS1 was 2 when Ds2 was born and DH spent most of that first year in the spare room double bed with DS1 while I did the night shift with DS2. DH had to go to work and I didn't.

The hardest thing was trying not to nod off during the umpteenth night feed because with the baby next to you you hardly need to wake up to feed him.

kitten30 Thu 02-Dec-10 17:53:45

I am co sleeping with my newborn at the moment. if he goes between us I use a snuggle nest..great invention!

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