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A first timer question about sleeping!

(33 Posts)
moobaloo Sun 01-Dec-13 11:49:49

Hi all smile

I'm learning loads from the Maybies discussions, but wanted to ask a few dim questions without taking hijacking their thread!

I'm 16 weeks tomorrow - due 19th May 2014 grin it's my first. I have very little experience of babies although someone made me hold their 8 month old recently (she was so cute but I had no idea how to hold her!)

I'm currently confused and wondering about sleeping...

When it is born it is going to sleep in a moses basket in our room. Am I right to believe that it is normal to scoop them out of this, change them and then BF whilst lounging in my own bed in the middle of the night? What if I drop off whilst holding baby? If baby won't sleep and cries every time I put it back in it's moses basket can it sleep with me? If it does sleep with me do I have to do anything different with my bed (I'm worried about it rolling off the bed more than me rolling on it!) How does co-sleeping work and are there any age restrictions? are those little cot sized bed extenders any good? I like the idea because there are bars so baby won't fall out!!

Any advice would be gratefully received smile

Writerwannabe83 Sun 01-Dec-13 12:06:41

Hello, this topic will no doubt get a lot of mixed responses.

I personally am very against co- sleeping and bed sharing. I am a children's nurse and over the last 3 years have had to deal with 6 babies who died as a result of either being in the same bed as parents or parents falling asleep whilst feeding them at night. I think issues like this are brushed aside with comments like 'the risks are so small and if you take the right steps it won't happen..." But it does. The most recent case we had the baby was only 11 days old - it is just tragic and in my eyes absolutely nothing is worth taking that risk for.

The advice we gave to feeding mothers at night was to set the alarm on your mobile phone to go off every 5 minutes until the baby has finished feeding and is safely back in his Moses basket. We would generally suggest to just have the alarm on vibrate as opposed to making a noise, so as not to disturb the household or baby's feed, but to hold it in their hands. That way, if they do fall asleep, which wouldn't be surprising, they will be regularly woken up by the vibrations and so can then return the baby to their basket.

When my sister had her children she was brilliant - she said she forced herself to get out of bed during night breast feeds, switch lights on, have her alarm going off etc because she said no matter how tired she felt she would never risk falling asleep in bed with the baby.

I know there is sleep safety advice out there for safe co- sleeping and I know that a lot of women do it with no problems - but actually seeing dead infants with my own eyes and working with bereaved parents in such tragic circumstances, well It just gives me a different perspective I think.

Like I said, you will probably get a lot of varied responses but my advice is just don't risk it. I know I certainly won't be.

domesticslattern Sun 01-Dec-13 12:07:22

Congratulations on your pg!
If you are thinking of safe co sleeping then those sidecar cots are wonderful. Baby will be close but not at risk of getting squashed. Newborns don't roll btw, your concern would be not to smother them by mistake eg with your body or duvet. Co sleeping with a newborn is not officially recommended although many of us have done it.
For feeds in the early days I found it easier to get up and sit in a chair. I could put a little light on so I could see what I was doing, it was easier on my back and less chance of accidentally falling asleep. If your sofa is a bit squashy now is the time to think about how you will be comfortable, with cushions behind you or even a special bf chair. You will be bf for many hours a day so it is worth getting comfortable!
Hope that helps.

beela Sun 01-Dec-13 12:10:02

I am 20 weeks with #2, so already have a cot. HOWEVER, if I were going to start from scratch with purchasing baby equipment I would definitely buy a sidecar cot to stick to the side of our bed.

tweetytwat Sun 01-Dec-13 12:14:09

writerwannabe, can I ask you out of curiosity, were those deaths despite following the safer Co sleeping guidelines?
ie breastfeeding, not on sofas, non smokers not on medication, planned Co sleeping without a duvet on the baby etc. I understand that most ' Co sleeping' deaths are not, but they get bundled together in the statistics.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 01-Dec-13 12:21:11

To be honest Tweety I can't give you a real answer to your question - we worked with the baby and family when they came into the ward but the Police dealt with all the 'how did it happen' factors.
I'd like to think parents had been following the Safe Sleeping advice that is out there though - the alternative just makes it even sadder.

I know loads of research has been done into the matter and I trust the recommendations on how to make it much safer and I'm sure the guidelines make a huge difference. I'm not a woman who judges others who do co-sleep or anything like that, I can totally see the benefits of it and completely understand why some women do it, it's just my personal choice not to based on my experiences.

Charingcrossbun Sun 01-Dec-13 12:32:16

Reading this with interest as 25weeks with my first.

Why is it now recommended that baby sleeps in your room for the first 6 months? Is it just so you can hear and monitor them?

We are in a small house, baby will be next door with baby monitor (the angelcare movement kind) Will that be unsafe?

To me it makes sense as I will get up to BF sitting in a char with low lights/tv on if needed whilst DP can sleep ready to get up and do the next nappy change/go to work/spoil me rotten.
Am I just being naive?

Writerwannabe83 Sun 01-Dec-13 12:41:59

It is because babies have very irregular breathing patterns. If you watch a baby breathe they have lots of rapid breaths, followed by pauses, followed by a few quicker breaths again - there are no regular rhythms to it like there is with children and adults.

Research has shown that whilst babies are sleeping if they can hear their parents breath sounds it helps to regulate their own. The theory is that if during one of the baby's long pauses in their breathing, the presence of an adult breathing sound triggers the baby's brain to remember to take a breath of its own - thus reducing the chance of death through respiratory issues.

tweetytwat Sun 01-Dec-13 12:52:28

I didn't co sleep either because I couldn't meet all the safer Co sleeping guidelines. Though once my youngest was in a bed and walking he used to climb into my bed most nights. He was one though so I don't class it as Co sleeping really.

AnythingNotEverything Sun 01-Dec-13 13:02:02

Haven't those angelcare monitors recently been recalled due to the risk of choking on the cord?

Don't want to scaremonger but saw something here recently but don't know the detail as we don't have one.

Charingcrossbun Sun 01-Dec-13 13:10:22

Ooo thanks for the heads up anythingnoteverything it is on our Christmas list so not bought yet so if it has been recalled I guess we'll get something else...

MrsPear Sun 01-Dec-13 13:20:02

Change nappy?! Put light on?! Watch TV?! Baby in different room from birth?! In my humble opinion it is best to be simple with a small baby. Daytime equals noise and lights and night time equals quiet and dark. They won't know and you could end with a baby who wants to sleep all day and play all night. You only need to change nappy if baby gas done a poo and you only need a dim light. Once I have got fresh nappy on I finish he dressing with light off. I never talk unless they are upset. Like I said just my viewpoint ... you will develop your own.

AnythingNotEverything Sun 01-Dec-13 13:45:38

Link here

If you follow the guidelines, I'm not sure you need a monitor, but f you're prone to anxiety it may help you sleep. Bear in mind you will probably be within arms reach of baby.

In terms of sleeping, I have an almost 6 week old DD. We have a Moses basket in our room. Baby is always with us ie all naps are on or next to one of us as per SIDS guidelines. We all group to bed together.

At nighttime, I feed while reading Mumsnet/twitter or watching something on Netflix. If I'm very very tired and struggling to stay awake, I wake DH to help/watch me! I change baby on a mat on the bed. In a few weeks she'll be at risk of rolling so well do this on the floor. We only change poo-y nappies at night now, but she was pooing at every feed for a while so we would other one boob, change her, then offer the other boob.

She is always put back in the basket so we can get sleep too. Some people say they can't put their babies down at night ... I've only had this when she's wide awake. You soon learn when they're sleeping heavily enough to be moved.

I think we've just cracked the night vs day issue and DD settles well at night now. You should expect baby to be very mixed up for the first month at least.

YY to keeping it dark and dull at night - this is how you teach them the difference.

Can't remember what else you asked ...

moobaloo Sun 01-Dec-13 16:16:56

all very interesting Thank you smile I like the idea of the side cots but don't think they'll realistically work as we have a TINY room and it will block the wardrobe! Moses basket will be within 2 feet of bed probably and I suppose I can sit up, take baby out, change on mat on bed and bf sitting up on bed, don't think we have space for a chair, but may try to squeeze one in. The vibrate phone alarm is a brilliant idea, thank you writerwanabee small dim light can go on if needed.

How long do night feeds go on for? Just roughly? 5 mins, 20 mins what? Just wondering if I should keep a book handy!

At what age is it considered "safe" to co-sleep when there are duvets etc. involved? Just so I know it's safe if it wants to sleep in my bed and won't go to sleep otherwise, a year?

Baby will be in our room until it outgrows it's moses basket, I'm hoping that will coincide with the time it starts sleeping for longer periods of time through the night without needing feeds. Then it will be in it's own room (2 feet away from our door, probably with both doors open). A couple more questions:

Is it normal to wake the baby for a feed every 4 hours if it doesn't wake itself?

At what point do you stop waking them and let them sleep through for 6 hours or so?

HUGE Thanks!!

MrsHoratioNelson Sun 01-Dec-13 16:37:16

<waves at Anything>

DS is 7 weeks old tomorrow. We lucky that he has his own quite big room. He sleeps with us in his Moses basket, but I take him into his room and sit in a comfortable chair (Ikea Poang) to feed him. I was getting very uncomfortable feeding him in bed - not enough support for my back or arms with the weight of him.

In terms of how long, it takes around an hour to feed and settle him - I change his nappy before I feed him, feeding takes around half an hour, then a little while holding him upright to allow his wind to come up and get him back off to sleep.

DS is a very regular, predictable baby who has not yet been a cluster feeder. Some babies like to feed for hours on end at night so its not really a question of them being predictable enough across the board to say how long its going to take you. One tip I would give you is to make sure you have a large jug and/or glass of water to hand; you will get very thirsty. And you won't be able to hold a book probably, by the time the baby is latched on and you're comfortable it will be difficult to hold a book. I read MN on my iPod while I'm feeding.

MrsHoratioNelson Sun 01-Dec-13 16:39:23

PS hollow laugh at letting them sleep for 6 hours wink

I did set an alarm in the first two weeks or so, but the baby usually woke up first. Once he stopped waking up first, I let him set the pace. It's unlikely that the baby will go 6 hours for quite some time.

moobaloo Sun 01-Dec-13 16:53:08

haha I know, I never thought they'd sleep for that long! However I got worried reading a thread where people were waking their babies for feeds and some babies were sleeping for 6+ hours at only a few weeks! I suppose they're all individuals and I'll just have to wait and see which sort I get grin

An hour sounds reasonable, how many times throughout the night do you have to do that?

littleomar Sun 01-Dec-13 16:53:30

Apologies for hijack but writer what are you officially meant to do with a baby who won't settle in a cot? I've tried pick up put down but after an hour or so give up and let babies sleep on me. I make it as safe as I can but still don't like doing it, but the only alternative is not to sleep at all.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Sun 01-Dec-13 17:09:20

Right, the first thing I would say is ignore any ideas you have about room layout. I remember putting DD1's crib where there was room to squeeze past it to the bed. Stupid, stupid idea. Spent the first couple of nights sleeping with my head at the footboard because she'd only go back to sleep with my hand on her tummy. Put it as close to the bed as you can. You can always move it in the day/to get to the wardrobe. They aren't heavy.

I would personally advise against books, MNing on your phone, lights, etc. It wakes the baby up more and it wakes you up more. It is far harder to get back to sleep if you've reached a 'daytime awake' state during a feed. You want it to be a bit like when you stagger to the loo, get back into bed and hardly notice. Other people who have long night feeds (ours were only ever about 10 minutes, but every 2 hours) might disagree.

On the co-sleeping, you have to make up your own mind. I was adamantly against with DD1, but by DD2 I did basically from birth. I was far safer driving the car, crossing the road, etc during the day as I wans't delirious from lack of sleep. And I had a toddler to look after. Also be aware that, if you find yourself falling asleep during night feeds, that is far, far riskier than safe, pre-planned co-sleeping (even if your phone alarm goes off 4 minutes after you fall asleep, though I agree that's a good tip). So whilst the ideal might be 'feed baby and return to moses basket', sometimes what that actually means is 'feed baby, fall asleep with baby surrounded by duvets and pillows and be unsafe from sleep deprivation during the day' when obviously your risk assessment may be rather different.

If you do co-sleep, duvets shouldn't be anywhere near a young baby. I don't know how old they would say is ok, but even in their own bed with a toddler weight duvet isn't it about 18 months? If you google safe co-sleeping you can find lots of guidelines.

I hate to break it to you, but there is a good chance that your baby will still be waking numerous times through the night by the time it is ready for its own room (not recommended until at least 6 months). Fingers crossed you get a good sleeper!

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Sun 01-Dec-13 17:11:49

Oh, and I never changed wet nappies at night, only pooey ones. Never routinely changed them. They will be in a nappy for 12 hours or so when they start sleeping though anyway.

MrsHoratioNelson Sun 01-Dec-13 17:11:49

moo I have been exceptionally lucky with a baby who feeds about every three hours naturally and is now sleeping longer at night. So I tend to feed at around 8:30, go to bed until next feed at around 11:30, then baby would wake at 2:30 and 5:30. But DS is (I gather) unusually predictable at this stage and a lot of babies want to feed much more often and/or for longer. It's really impossible to tell until the baby gets here!

pinkpeoniesx Sun 01-Dec-13 18:18:51

Moo I've co slept with my 12 week old since he was born (he was 9lb at birth.)
Our bed is against the wall so he can't slip out or get caught in a bed guard. He sleeps higher than DP and I, and he sleeps in a baby sleeping bag so there are no covers/blankets involved. If it's freezing I'll have a cover but it will be at my waist height and I wrap it between my legs so there's no way it will get near DS.
The main risks with co sleeping and causes of cot death are baby overheating or suffocating so you need to make sure you can cancel out those risks.
I also now wake if he makes the slightest noise so I'm super aware of him being there. I'm paranoid so for me it's a good thing, but if you don't want to be interrupted (more than usual!) co sleeping might not be for you.
Congratulations on your baby!smile

OnTheRunAndUpTheDuff Sun 01-Dec-13 18:29:53

The overall SIDS risk in the uk is 1 in 3000. For breastfeeding, cosleeping babies of non-smokers it is 1 in 10,000. For babies of women who smoke it is 27 in 1000. provides a fantastic, evidence-based resource on the subject.

AnythingNotEverything Sun 01-Dec-13 19:09:52

MrsHoratioNelson - were you referencing me in your first post there? Hard to tell ...

OP - start with the official SIDS guidance and go from there. It's guidance, not hard and fast rules, whereby Social Services will take your baby away if you deviate from them. Only you can know what you're happy with.

Some babies start going longer at night from about 8 weeks. Some do this from 7 or 8 years. There's a very wide spectrum of normal!

I disagree with a PP about not using the internet to Mimsnet during night feeds - I'm often awake for an hour with a quick nappy change in the middle (less so now DD is getting older and we're changing fewer nappies) but am fine to go straight to sleep after. I think you have to work out what's best for you. I've also read on MN that there are hormones released when breastfeeding that allow you to drop back to sleep quickly. I'm not sure if it's more different if you FF.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Sun 01-Dec-13 19:23:12

That was me Anything. I did make a point of saying that those who were up for longer might disagree with me and that it was very personal. The reason I raised it is that I routinely see TV/book/MN advised as if it works for everyone, but I don't think it's as cut and dried as that.

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