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Co-sleeping needs

(13 Posts)
Molybdenum Sat 17-Sep-11 20:19:26

Apologies if this is in the wrong place or has been done before - not had much luck in finding the info I seek.
I'm almost 39 weeks pregnant with my first, and plan on co-sleeping from the start. I've read many books and articles, and am very happy that this is the right thing for me and DH. What I'm having trouble finding is a really practical list of what we need. I think what we've decided to do is for me and and the baby to sleep in our bed (very, very good quality pocket sprung mattress) while DH sleeps in the spare room initially. That way I can sleep towards the middle of the bed and have the baby next to me in danger of falling out. DH and I are both fine with this, and he'll move back in once we're confident we won't push the baby out.
My questions are more about clothing and bedding. What should I cover myself and the baby with? I've read that a newborn shouldn't be under a duvet with its mother - should I have a duvet for me and a baby blanket for the baby? I don't use any synthetic bedding at all - everything is 100% organic cotton or bamboo. I sleep naked and plan on breastfeeding on demand throughout the night. But then how does this work if the baby is under its own covering rather than mine?
What does the baby wear? I guess it will need less clothing than a baby sleeping in a moses basket, as it will have my warmth as well. But what should it wear? As it is due any day now the nights are neither warm nor cold. I sleep with my window open, and we haven't had a need for the heating yet. So my room always has ventilation but is not terribly warm. Should I dress the baby in a long-sleeved sleepsuit? Does it need a hat? Or just a short-sleeved sleepsuit? With long or short legs?
You can see I feel woefully underprepared! I just want to do what's best for the baby (hence being very keen on co-sleeping) but have found it hard to find practical advice as it seems to be against 'official' protocol to promote co-sleeping. Any advice from co-sleeping veterans muchly appreciated.

InmaculadaConcepcion Sat 17-Sep-11 20:30:58

It's probably worth also posting this in the Sleep section, if you haven't already.

A lot of people find it works best if they put the baby in a Gro-bag or similar baby sleeping bag (you can get organic ones) (I liked the Peke Moe for my DD) and have the baby sleep on top of the duvet, with you under the duvet. However, many people find they need to lie cradling their baby with one arm and if you sleep naked, you'll be uncovered waist-up, which can be chilly. So it's worth having a button-up pyjama top or comfy cardigan on so there's easy breast access for the baby, but you won't get cold. You need to keep the baby well below pillow level because of the suffocation risk - but if the baby is essentially under your armpit, that shouldn't be a problem.

Also, put one side of the bed against the wall, or put a mattress on the floor - that way you don't have to worry too much about the baby falling out - the baby sleeps between you and the wall (making sure there are no gaps) and your body protects the baby from your OH, once he's back in bed with you both.

Something we used very successfully was one of these, which meant DD was on the bed beside me, but still safely within her own space - and after a while, I could BF her without taking her off the babynest too. Worth thinking about as another option!

Good luck smile

InmaculadaConcepcion Sat 17-Sep-11 20:33:07

Oh, you'll probably need to lie on a towel to start with as well - BF can be very messy in the early weeks! Likewise, have a bunch of muslins handy and make sure you have one or two spare sleeping bags too....

Molybdenum Sat 17-Sep-11 20:36:11

Ah a sleep section! How did I miss that?!? Sorry, will re-post this there now.
Thank you so much for the advice, really appreciated. I like the cocoon thingy, will look into that now.
Thanks again.

InmaculadaConcepcion Sat 17-Sep-11 20:40:45

You're welcome!

Don't worry, this wasn't the wrong place to post - it's just that you'll probably find a greater range of suggestions in the Sleep section!!

hocuspontas Sat 17-Sep-11 20:45:24

I couldn't think where I'd heard your name before then I realised it's from the periodic table that I'm learning on Sporcle! I'm up to line 5 now and very proud of myself grin

TheHouseofMirth Sat 17-Sep-11 20:52:40

You sound pretty well prepared and once your baby is here, you'll figure a lot out for yourself very quickly. The main thing from a safety point of view (overheating and suffocation), as you've already aware, is not to let your baby sleep under the duvet and I also got rid of my pillows for a while though that is probably not really essential. Your baby will get warmth from you and unless we have an unseasonal heatwave, a traditional long sleeved babygro with feet and a celular blanket will be fine. You can add a vest underneath when it gets really cold and also have a look at baby sleeping bags.

I slept naked until I had the DSs but found it was less practical after they were born because of the duvet situation and getting up in the night to breastfeed (I did it stitting up until I mastered doing it lying down) and changing nappies. I kept the duvet on the bed but pushed it lower down and slept with it at waist height, wrapped round me to secure it, if that makes sense? I wore pyjama bottoms with either a button up top (with buttons undone) or a stretchy vest top and cardigan.

Your positioning sounds fine. Your baby will naturally stay close to you so there's no need to worry about them rolling out but do make sure there are no gaps they could get stuck in. I used to sleep on my side facing them with my arm either underneath them or round the top of them, cradling them to me.

You've made me all nostalgic. Co-sleeping with a 2.5 yo is a very different kettle of fish!

AngelDog Sat 17-Sep-11 21:53:03

I used 3 blankets stretched sideways across the bed instead of lengthways and DS either in a sleeping bag, or swaddled with a cellular blanket over him, but we didn't start from birth.

Next time I'd co-sleep from birth and I'd have the covers a bit higher and have him underneath them.

We used a folding bed rail till he learnt to pull up, then put the mattress on the floor.

cherrysodalover Sat 17-Sep-11 23:39:39

I would just put baba on a changing mat covered with a towel and pillow case- keeps them safe and also prevents bed from getting soiled.Also have a towel under you and the baby under the sheet as the bed gets soaked from bfeeding.
It is so much easier than the whole cot thing- i will do it from day 1 next time.

Sparklyboots Sun 18-Sep-11 00:14:59

We three sleep naked under blankets, with DS in a nappy, and have done from the start (chilly December). When he was born, he was so tiny, and of course, endearingly immobile, that all three of us had plenty of space and a pillow on the other side of him was sufficient to keep him safe from falling. Now he is scarily mobile and we are going to get rid of the bed altogether; partially to take the fear of falling out of the bed; and partially to extend the bed by another mattress without the hassle of trying to find another base or set of bases that match.

Good luck with your baby. Co-sleeping is a delight x

BertieBotts Sun 18-Sep-11 00:49:55

It's really really worth getting a bedside cot, or one you can convert (long term/lots of space option: any cotbed; easy option but expensive: proper co-sleeper cot; budget but still good option: any of the ikea cots with removable side.) This solves the space issue, the falling out issue, and means if you ever decide to have a drink, or have to take medication, you have a safe space to make sure the baby is in.

WRT covering/clothing, I had DS in october so can only advise on winter temperatures, but I just slept in long sleeve pyjamas, open at the front, had duvet up to my waist, and shared a cellular blanket with DS, which would have been folded so it was more than one layer. He wore a vest and a sleepsuit. If it was really cold I wore a dressing gown just on my top arm and sort of draped over me. I'd recommend having the heating on low overnight anyway and hang the bills!

It's so much easier to regulate their temperature when co sleeping, I find. Just keep a few spare blankets and things beside the bed, (The bedside cot also comes in handy for this!) and check your baby periodically with a finger down the back of their collar. If their neck/back feels cool, add another layer, if they are sweaty, remove one. Don't bother with the complicated charts and instructions, throw your room thermometer away and focus on whether the baby is too hot or cold.

It's worth knowing as well that skin to skin contact actually helps regulate your baby's temperature. Your skin temperature will vary by 1 degree depending on whether your baby is too hot or too cold, in order to warm or cool them and vying them back to the optimal temperature. The mother's body is actually more efficient at regulating an infant's temperature than an incubator.

BertieBotts Sun 18-Sep-11 00:50:11

It's really really worth getting a bedside cot, or one you can convert (long term/lots of space option: any cotbed; easy option but expensive: proper co-sleeper cot; budget but still good option: any of the ikea cots with removable side.) This solves the space issue, the falling out issue, and means if you ever decide to have a drink, or have to take medication, you have a safe space to make sure the baby is in.

WRT covering/clothing, I had DS in october so can only advise on winter temperatures, but I just slept in long sleeve pyjamas, open at the front, had duvet up to my waist, and shared a cellular blanket with DS, which would have been folded so it was more than one layer. He wore a vest and a sleepsuit. If it was really cold I wore a dressing gown just on my top arm and sort of draped over me. I'd recommend having the heating on low overnight anyway and hang the bills!

It's so much easier to regulate their temperature when co sleeping, I find. Just keep a few spare blankets and things beside the bed, (The bedside cot also comes in handy for this!) and check your baby periodically with a finger down the back of their collar. If their neck/back feels cool, add another layer, if they are sweaty, remove one. Don't bother with the complicated charts and instructions, throw your room thermometer away and focus on whether the baby is too hot or cold.

It's worth knowing as well that skin to skin contact actually helps regulate your baby's temperature. Your skin temperature will vary by 1 degree depending on whether your baby is too hot or too cold, in order to warm or cool them and vying them back to the optimal temperature. The mother's body is actually more efficient at regulating an infant's temperature than an incubator.

BertieBotts Sun 18-Sep-11 00:51:13

Sorry for double post, it was my phone.

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