Co-sleep question from a first time mum(35 Posts)
Forgive me if this seems a daft question, but exactly how does one go about co-sleeping?
I've found lots of advice on what to be careful not to do, when not to do it etc.... but how?!? DC1 is due in December, and we have a Moses basket ready for him, but just in case he doesn't take to it for the first couple of weeks I'd like to be prepared to have him in the bed with us.
However, I'm terrified or squashing him, pushing him out of the bed or something like that. There must be a technique to it. This isn't something I would want to do if not necessary but I like to be prepared for all eventualities.
Maybe a co-sleeping cot would be a good solution for you? It is easy to breastfeed as the baby is next to you and is not disturbed being lifted in and out of a basket but at the same time the baby has his own protected space.
Look at the sleepyhead. It's a padded breathable cushion with soft sides. You can place at the top of your bed in between you and dh and baby is semi in a cocoon so can't be rolled on.
You move pillows to the side and baby sleepyhead thing goes right up to headboard. Then your head is at their Height but your biddy further down also so duvet away from them
I did it for about 6 weeks with DD2. She started off in her cot, but I had a double bed in what was to be her room, and whenever I did night feeds I would lie down on the bed and feed her lying down, then often fall asleep with her. It turned into a habit, and I ended up sleeping there all night every night until at around 6 weeks I started putting her back in her cot a bit more. She went into her cot very easily then, which DD1 never did, and I wish I'd co slept a bit with DD1 rather than always insisting she went back in her cot.
It wasn't that comfortable as I would fall asleep on my side with one curled round her head, but I got a lot more sleep this way! I don't know how I could have done it in the marital bed, DH is not small and we would all have been a bit squashed! I enjoyed the peace and being just her and me. I have read that a mother won't roll on her baby, and I can believe that - you sleep so lightly that I'm sure you would wake at the slightest discomfort or noise.
Kind of like where this baby is sleeping
A co-sleeping cot sounds like a good idea for you. I've co-slept with twins and these are the precautions I took:
* Make sure they are sleeping on a flat, firm surface - e.g. a firm mattress, lying on their own and not being cradled by you;
* Remove any excess pillows from the bed. I had one small one under my own head;
* I put my babies in their own sleeping bags, placed on my bed with no further blankets anywhere near them. I had a blanket that I would make sure didn't cover them at all (I slept a little bit further down the bed than they did, so my head was more on a level with their bodies rather than their heads);
* Don't do it if you drink, smoke or use drugs (including medication that may make you drowsy);
* Pillows on the floor just in case;
* Be wary of any gaps between the mattress and the bed.
It sounds like a long checklist, but becomes very instinctive once you've done it a couple of times.
I should really add that I am a single parent and therefore didn't have to weigh up the risk of another adult in the bed. I'm of the belief that a mother is very finely tuned to her baby, and I know that I was always very aware that they were present in the bed and didn't roll over or move much at all when asleep. I honestly don't know if a father has the same instincts. I think I've heard other people suggest having the baby on your own side of the bed if you are going to do it, and not in the middle of two adults.
My best friend is a mid wife and has been to a few babies that have died from mums rolling onto their babies so I wouldn't say everyone is intune to it! Be very very careful. I personally wouldn't.
I can tell you about my experience, I slept on my side facing ds, my bottom arm was stretched out under my head, and my top arm rested near him add I had to compulsively check his breathing every 7.2 seconds.
I can honestly say that they was no way I could have accidentally squashed him,i was so aware of him always.
Make sure your duvet can't cover baby, wear a cardigan yourself so u don't sleepily pull more duvet up over yourself and baby. We put our bed against the cot which was against the wall so there was a good side to stop baby falling out. She slept on that side, then me, then dh. Pillows all out of the way just enough for me to sleep on and the rest behind me. You'll probably find you don't sleep that soundly. If u and baby both do, u might be able to have her in the cot after all! I would definitely have got one of those bed side cots /co sleepers if we could have afforded it.
There's something in you that changes after having a baby which means you can sleep very light and hear someone making a pot noodle three streets away. It's great but terrible at the same time. Providing you are not medicated, a smoker, have health problems etc.
You become very aware as you sleep all of a sudden. If you have a supportive DH, ask him to sleep maybe on an air bed in your bedroom if you have room, or in a seperate bed just for a few nights. So you and LO can have bed to yourselves for a little while. Wear nice warm pyjamas and a cardigan and socks with just a baby's cellular blanket on you. Have LO next to you with their head at boob height then you can put your arm around them like a little guard. When you are comfortable DH can come back. I always had LO on my side, not in between us. I don't think anyone apart from baby's mother has that same instinct/hormones that drive being able to sleep safely in such a way.
When I have my next baby I'll be investing in a side sleeper crib. It would have saved a lot of pain post c section and my OHs back.
Milky - I don't agree with father being turfed out. Dh has co slept with outs from babies even when I wasn't there, otherwise if your away for any reason baby will be sleeping alone surely?
I would have found baby on edge and at boob height more dangerous as could have just rolled onto them or covered with blanket or pushed out of bed. Up higher at top in middle, with barrier of some sort around baby meant no falling out, dh could soothe baby also, and no risk of duvet on or us rolling ( as our head was more where their feet were)
My OH didn't feel comfortable sleeping in bed with us as he was nervous about causing me pain after the csection so it was just baby and I in the middle of the bed. I used my arm as a barrier and we had the whole bed to ourselves. If I needed to get up I called him as I needed help getting up for a while. He also did most night time nappies too after I'd fed LO.
Everyone has to do what works for them. OH came back into bed when LO was 2 weeks old. He's a heavy sleeper and it made him too nervous if LO was asleep next to him. He was entitled to feel nervous sleeping next to him.
While feeding don't fall asleep! Once done move the baby up such that your fave is right next to his/ her face. Keep your blNket below your waist. One arm draped around the baby from below. If you roll over, your face will meet baby's face & you WILL wake up. If baby moves your arms will keep a secure boundary. As others have said you do sleep lightly. I kept baby in her best until the first feed (4am) until then I slept deeply in my bed. After 4am co- slept & fed on & off & didnt sleep too well. It's possible but takes some practise & strict procedures to keep safe.
Also, just roll up a towel (lengthways) then put it under the sheet along the edge of the bed. Stops them rolling out. Worked on mine as toddlers too - wish I had never bothered with bed guards which just get in the way when you're making the bed.
Wow, thank you for the replies
That makes much more sense now. Luckily neither of us smoke or really drink, so that wouldn't be a worry. I would be more inclined to have an open sided crib than have him in the bed with us (it isn't a very big bed), but if I decide to sleep with DC during the day while DH is at work I now have some decent guidance.
I co-slept with both of my kids. Never really intended to, it just happened. We had them in a baby sleeping bag, on top of our duvet, in between us so there were no blankets for them to get lost under and we both acted as 'cot sides' to stop baby from rolling off the bed. I breastfed on demand and it was so easy to do with them just right in bed next to me. I put a muslin under their head to catch any dribbles.
I don't know how I'd manage not to fall asleep feeding lying down!
The advice I was given was to put baby on the outside of the bed (so not between you), with baby's head level with my boobs. I wear a buttoned pyjama top with sleeves (I like the cardigan suggestion btw!) but open, with the duvet up to my middle only. DH has actually tucked it in to the end of the bed so we can't pull it up automatically.
You'll find you sleep on your side, facing them, with your underneath arm tucked u see the pillow or stretched above their head. They tend to lie on their back or side facing you. You can just pull them closer to feed without fully waking after the first few days.
You do sleep a lot more lightly and notice everything they do.
I co-slept with DS until I stopped BF (18 months) but being a single parent helped! In hospital they used a side barrier made of mesh (think it was made by tommee tippee) across a metal frame to stop him falling out of the bed, so I continued with that when we came home. DS was right up at eye level with me in a gro-bag. Would totally do it again if I had more babies as I found, on the few occasions that I tried him in a cot, getting up to BF then rock him back to sleep was waking me up so much more. Lobbing a boob out and then just shifting him slightly when he was finished was far less disruptive for both of us. As he got older he even started to wriggle in and help himself
greedy little shit
We co-slept from 3 days old. Dd tends to sleep in her crib now (she's 3 months) but I bring her into bed for a feed so some nights she still sleeps with us.
DP sleeps with us. We have a king size bed. Dp on the left, i sleep in the middle, Dd on the right.
Midwife told me not to put any barriers up your stop dd falling out of the bed nor to put anything to break her fall such as pillows on the floor. Babies can get stuck against barriers and if they fall and land on a pillow face first so could also suffocate. Midwife view was that beds are generally fairly low so it's not too far a drop for a baby to contend with if they were to fall.
I keep the duvet around my waist, I then tuck the edge of the duvet between my legs. I sleep on my side with my head resting in my arm or in my hand. Dd next to me then my legs in foetal position (that way dd can't wriggle down the bed). She has a cellular blanket on top. Baby will benefit from your body heat so won't need too many layers.
My dd was born in the summer but when I had mastitis and was freezing cold, I wore a baggy vest I could pull down, a button up pyjama top then a zip up fleece on top. All easy to move in order to breastfeed.
I couldn't have got through the early breastfeeding stage if I hadn't co-slept and tbh I often fell asleep feeding my dd. I just made sure I was in a position so her nose was clear of my breast. If my dd moved I woke up so could quickly check our sleeping positions were compatible.
Dd mostly sleeps in her crib now and has done since 12 weeks. I loved co-sleeping but I love her being in the crib now as we both sleep better. The downside to co-sleeping is that I often woke my dd up by mistake. Further, after a while I was having problems with sleeping on the same side all the time so DP would have to swap sides with me every couple of nights.
For my next child I am definitely buying a co-sleeping crib so that may be worthwhile buying instead of a moses basket.
Asteria - i've lost count the amount of times I've woken to my dd trying to feed hereself through my pyjama top
Sorry me Again! what I find helpful is a v shape pillow as I can use that to rest my head and support my back.
We have a sleepyhead. I can keep blankets well away from her when I'm asleep and she doesn't ever roll out of bed (so far!) I did find without something there she'd be all over the place.
It makes everything seem a bit safer iyswim.
DS is now 13 so the views on barriers may have changed in the last decade, although our bed is very high so I might still use one now.
Rather sweetly, DS will hop into my bed at every opportunity despite being an enormous rugby playing monster, as do the Dsc. DS has just fallen asleep next to me he is the only person who I can happily share a bed with without them annoying me! I do think that co-sleeping when he was tiny helped us bond so very closely. I would recommend it to everyone.
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