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Co Sleeping

(18 Posts)
LDNmummy Sun 05-Jun-11 20:24:36

My LO isn't here yet but I have started buying the larger items I need for when she gets here, including a cotbed and/ or moses basket. Whether or not I buy a cotbed has raised the question of co-sleeping. Rather than spend money on something she will not use if I choose to co sleep, I would rather wait until she is 1 or so and purchase one then.

Babies in my families have co-slept with their parents for generations, and though I understand the risks, I have never heard of a negative experience of co-sleeping from any of the women in my family.

Just wondering how other mums find co-sleeping and how practical it actually is? Another thread recently raised the question of whether babies sleep through an alarm clock in the mornings for instance, and I am also mostly wondering about the safety aspect.

Basically, can anyone let me know about the realities of it and its pro's and con's?

captainbarnacle Sun 05-Jun-11 20:32:14

Baby1 was put into moses basket/cotbed from the start. Easyish because he wasn't exclusively breastfed (I had MRSA).

Baby 2 had a moses basket but coslept with me at night until he was almost 6m. He was breastfed - it was soooooo much easier to bf on my side when he woke in the night! I had a bed barrier to stop him rolling off the bed. Also 'lucky' because OH only lives here a few weeks a year so I have the whole bed to myself.

Baby3 (to be) will cosleep I hope. I found baby2 settled so much easier - babies don't like to be put away from you to sleep (IME). I just kept baby 2 next to me in the evenings and then took him to bed with me.

You don't need to buy a cotbed now, you know. You can get them bought new and delivered in a couple of days if you need one later. I'd have a moses basket as somewhere 'safe' to put the baby if they are tired, but otherwise don't bother buying everything right now to feel prepared for baby.

A bed guard is good because you can sleep spooning with OH and have the baby lying on the bed mattress without being able to fall off and without the covers on.

whydobirdssuddenlyappear Sun 05-Jun-11 20:33:21

Pros:
Both my dcs slept better when they were in our bed than if they weren't.
It was way easier to breastfeed - I didn't even have to get up.
It was lovely having them so close.

Cons:
I had no pillows on my bed for about 6 months.
I couldn't have even the teensiest drink before cosleeping. Nor could dh.
Once they got bigger, it wasn't that comfortable.

The pros far outweighed the cons for us. I can't remember dh's alarm clock being that much of a problem, either, tbh. Also, dd still sleeps in the same room as us (although in her own bed now) and she doesn't seem to wake up when it goes off.

We addressed the safety aspect by removing pillows, tucking the duvet in at the bottom of the bed so it couldn't ride up, making sure there were no gaps between mattress and headboard, nothing loose on the bed, that sort of thing, also not drinking before bed. We also bought a new mattress for our bed before dd was born. The old one had been second hand to us, and was pretty minging.

With ds, we coslept in a standard double. I wouldn't recommend that, unless you're both tiny. We had a superking by the time dd came. Much, much better.

Maternelle Sun 05-Jun-11 20:35:23

I co-slept for about 10 months for DC1 and 2 and I loved it. Am about to give birth to DC3 and I probably won't do it.

Pros:
It is lovely.
It is so easy to BF at night and sometimes you hardly have to properly wake up to feed.

Cons:
My DCs didn't learn to self-settle until we stopped co-sleeping, which wasn't a problem for DC1 as we only had the 2 of us to think about, but I can't afford this with 2 other DCs to think about.

rubyslippers Sun 05-Jun-11 20:37:43

I co slept with DD for 4 months - she was either in bed with me or in the basket next to me

Pros - no need to get up to do feeds (ebf), comfortable and cozy for us both. Maximised the little sleep I got. She loved it!

There wasn't a con as such - she transitioned to her cot when it was time wihtout a fuss. Cons for me were finding it intense - DD fed a lot and there were times I didn't want her on me 24/7.

I was very glad I did it -the mornings when I woke gazing at her perfect face were magic smile

Beesok Sun 05-Jun-11 20:42:06

sorry to gate crash the thread but wanted to ask experienced co-sleepers - didn't you worry about your movements while asleep? I tend to turn around and move A LOT when I am sleeping I also turn from side to side before I fall asleep and like sleeping on my stomach with my legs all over the place (that's why we got an extra large bed so that I don't kick DH smile and I would be terrified of doing something to the baby if he/she were in the same bed as me...also would be really uncomfortable without pillow and duvet tucked in )I also like to uncover my feet sometimes)...

BertieBotts Sun 05-Jun-11 20:45:07

If you can fit it in your room, then I'd buy the cotbed, then make it up with 3 sides instead of 4 and raise the mattress base so the mattress is level with yours. Push the mattress over, stuff the far gap with something (foam/rolled up towels/anything firm really) and tether the cot to your bed, and you have a co-sleeper cot which gives you more space, acts as a bed rail, and means that if/when you want to transition her into her own space, she's already familiar with the cotbed.

I co-slept with DS and loved it smile He still comes into my bed for a few hours and he's 2.8 now, though he does have his own bed. Made night times so much easier all the way through. Although people all seem horrified that he "still" wakes once, he barely even disturbs me, and never has done unless he's been ill etc.

BertieBotts Sun 05-Jun-11 20:51:06

Beesok - I thrash about a lot too but with DS there as a baby I didn't at all. Your instincts sort of kick in. I did miss sleeping on my stomach though as you have to sleep in sort of a "spoon" position around them on your side, I just didn't feel as aware if I was facing away or on my stomach, even on my back in the very early days. This did give me an ache in my hips actually. After the first few weeks I felt okay moving DS away from me slightly when he'd fed (either further away on the bed or into the co-sleeper cot) and then I would lie on my back. If he was in the cot part then I could even cuddle up with XP or sleep on my front!

We didn't remove pillows, I just slept with one arm between DS and the pillow so he couldn't wriggle up. Again this is the position most mums adopt, seems to be instinctual/automatic. Their head is near your boob anyway so nowhere near the pillows.

I got used to the duvet thing. I used to have it just over my feet and share DS' cotton baby blanket over him and my tummy, then wear a dressing gown over my "top" arm to keep warm. He was born in October and it was freezing! When they are a year old they can have duvets so I wasn't worried about it by then.

LDNmummy Sun 05-Jun-11 21:10:03

Thats actually a good question Beesok, my DH is terrible for sticking his arms and elbows out when he sleeps and rolls onto his stomach. I decided he is never allowed to sleep next to the baby for that reason grin I am a light sleeper and very aware so I doubt I will have that problem.

Thank you for all the reply's, good to hear what others have experienced.

I was thinking of doing the same as your suggestion BertieBotts, I found a specially made co sleeper but thought it would't be any good once the baby was a little bigger. I think buying an actual cot bed and attaching it myself after a month or so is a better idea. Captain I agree with what you said about not buying everything now, will invest in a moses basket for first month and go from there.

Thanks for the tips everyone!

I think my biggest worry now is that I may have to kick DH out of our bed for the first month as it is a normal double grin Not sure how I am going to break that news to him.

BertieBotts Sun 05-Jun-11 21:19:45

Why not buy the cotbed and attach it from birth? If you know you're going to be using it later anyway, I mean.

I never used a moses basket, just put DS in a bouncy chair or on a blanket if I needed to put him down when he was tiny, other than that we just held him for about 2 months blush

Official recommendation is to have the baby on the mum's side of the bed IIRC and mum between baby and dad.

LifeOfKate Sun 05-Jun-11 21:22:12

I co-slept with DS for about 4 months until we started keeping each other awake in the early hours of the morning and intend to do the same with DC2 due in August as it did make things loads easier at first with breastfeeding and I actually felt a lot safer knowing he was next to me. I also think it's a lot safer to plan to co-sleep than to do it accidentally and not have made 'plans' for it.
I pretty much slept exactly the same as BertieBotts, on my side with my arm between DS and the pillow and his head in line with my boob. I also turn over a lot, but just didn't as my body seemed to know he was there. DH and I have single duvets as we like different temperatures, so I had the duvet up to my waist and tucked in and it was more manageable being a single I think smile DS was born in December when it was cold too, I just made sure I wore something long sleeved so my arms didn't get cold, although our house retains heat well anyway, so never that cold at night.

LifeOfKate Sun 05-Jun-11 21:26:54

Cross posts. Yes, men apparently don't have the same awareness as women so not so safe to have a tiny baby sleeping next to dad.

There is a full sized cot where one side comes down and attaches to a bed. In retrospect, that would have been good for us, although our bedroom isn't big enough for a cot next to the bed and our cot was second hand and given to us so we didn't get to choose it.

FannyLogan Sun 05-Jun-11 21:30:10

You can sell it to DH as him sleeping in the spare room so he doesn't get disturbed in the night - for his benefit obviously wink

Something I wish I had known first time is that you can buy large cellular blankets - ie to fit a double bed. I froze the first time round!

summerpixie Sun 05-Jun-11 21:30:21

DS co-slept with us. He started off in a moses basket and sometimes in his cot. However, we found it easiest when he was sleeping between us in bed. I was a bit apprehensive about co-sleeping at first but when I went back to work at 4mths I really needed the sleep! Instinctively, parents know not to squash their young in bed (wish DH would instinctively not squash me though!). We were in a small Ikea double bed and managed OK until DS came out of his sleeping bag. I never put DS under the duvet with us, he used to sleep on top of it in his sleeping bag between DH and me. DS would tend to shove his head on top of my arm, using it as his personal pillow. Eventually, we did open up the cot bed and place it next to our bed for more sleeping space, but DS would sneak his way over me and back to HIS spot in the middle of the bed! It really is cosy and selfishly lovely to have your child sleeping with you, although I am not sure if I would do it again with this one as we are now in a king size divan which is about 3ft off the ground! Enjoy your snuggles in bed with baby.

FirstVix Mon 06-Jun-11 11:11:22

As a new co-sleeping mum can I just add that it's WAY easier to check that baby's breathing without disturbing them too. Silly thing probably but when DD goes quiet at times I need to check.
<paranoid>

msbuggywinkle Mon 06-Jun-11 11:20:27

I've co-slept with both of mine and it is great. We started off with DD1 in her own cot, but it was a nightmare as she was such a frequent waker. Me getting up disturbed DP, once I was up I found it hard to get back to sleep. We were co-sleeping by the time she was a fortnight old and all got much more sleep.

DD2 and I got so good at feeding lying down that we could do it without waking up. It was lovely.

We'll be doing it again this time too.

chocolatecrispies Mon 06-Jun-11 12:21:07

We bought a co-sleeping cot as that was my plan - turned out ds had different ideas. He hated the cot from day 1 (was fine in the moses basket before that) From the moment he could roll he would simply roll over to me and refused to stay in the cot. We ended up selling the cot and bought a single mattress, got rid of our bed and all slept on a double and single mattress pushed together on the floor! Ds still sleeps on this (aged 2.11) but now dh and I go to sleep in our room on our bed, and when he wakes dh goes through to him and sleeps the rest of the night with him. We started this because I was pregnant and couldn't get comfortable with ds beside me wanting to breast feed.
But co-sleeping was great, got so much more sleep, will definitely do it again and am not buying a cot this time! Having enough space was key though, when we were all on a double bed no one was sleeping very well.

captainbarnacle Mon 06-Jun-11 16:03:26

Yes - regarding space, I sleep on two single beds pushed together anyways so there's quite a lot of room. Plus when OH isn't here there's LOADS!

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