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Thread: How to Actually co-sleep safely?

  1. #1

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    Default How to Actually co-sleep safely?

    DS3 is currently sleeping in a hammock in our room at nights. He seems happy with it and so are we. However, he's only new and we're noticing him start to prefer to settle and sleep on us during the day. I need to work out the babywearing thing when I'm not stupidly tired.



    If he decides he wants to be closer to us at night or I'm just too tired to get out of bed, I dont know how to actually do it safely. I understand the rules, but how do people physically do it?

    We have a queen size memory foam bed. It's pretty firm. We're currently sleeping with layers of blankets, because I'm finding the doona too hot. I like to sleep with the blankets tucked up to my chin. I often go to sleep on one side, but wake on my back. How do we co-sleep without either freezing or smothering baby?

    How do other people do it?

  2. #2

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    It's pretty hot overnight in Sydney! However during winter we layer up on clothing, often sleep in our dressing gowns so that we only have our blankets up to our waists.or sleep with air con on. Baby sleeps with head in line with breasts so she is out of the way of the pillow.

    Re: smothering, that's never been a major concern of mine - I'm so accommodating when I sleep I end up awkwardly twisting into all sorts of weird positions that crink my neck and back. We are just transitioning baby into bassinet beside the bed for that reason. I don't know what other people do. Depending on age of baby I've heard to keep them just on mothers side when they are tiny as dads aren't as sensitive to baby's location until they are bigger, not sure how big though.

  3. #3

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    I feared this too but for some reason I just seemed to have an awareness Bub was there. I sometimes sleep with their head on my pillow or crook of my arm but other times have had cot side carted so that when they fall asleep just push them across. And other times I seem to put myself lower in the bed and them higher so they are above the blanket line/where I'd pull blankets up in my sleep.
    Hope all is going well with your little man, so very happy for you!

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    Great to hear the hammock is working well so far. I didn't bed share much with Moo, when I did I would wrap him before placing him on top of the blankets.

    Buster was in with us a lot more frequently and I was ok with having the blankets pulled up to my waist which covered his bottom half. I would face him with my arm around him so his head was resting on the crook of my arm. Then I would bend my legs so that they rested just below his feet. I was very aware of him in this position and it was really comfortable too.

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    I was always aware of bub there too. With two co-sleepers (DS2 wasn't), we never, ever looked like rolling on either of them. I've always tended to lay on my side facing bub, or on my back (we're in a queen too). Initially DS3 as a tiny tacker would only settle if he layed on me, tummy to tummy (he had some colic issues). Then I'd gently transfer him between DH and I. But after a while we just placed him between us and he slept beautifully. He still prefers to sleep that way at almost 14 months, but it's kinda nice. I think the main thing is to not overheat him. He won't roll around much at this stage, so maybe have him as high up the bed as you can, but with enough space at his head that he won't end up in the bed head. I've also always moved my pillows as far away from bub as possible - generally half off the bed. DH used to take his off the bed entirely. That was really our main concern once DS1 and DS3 started rolling and being more mobile. I think as your confidence grows, you'll find your own groove and what works for you xx

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    Okay, so this is the way *I* have always coslept and it's worked really well for all involved here.

    When they're little bubs, we sidecar the cot with one side down, and the mattresses flush with each other. That was if I feel the need, I can put bub safely into their own space. From maybe 1 week to around 6 months I've swaddled my two. While they sleep swaddled, DH and I would move our pillows over so that the bed was divided into thirds, and baby would sleep up the top of the bed, between DH and I, with plenty of room either side. I slept with the doona up high then too, so it worked well because baby only had soon up to maybe their knees.

    As they got older and started rolling/wanting to be free from the swaddle, I'd have them next to me, with their head below my pillow, and I learned to wear warmer top halves to bed and keep the doona lower. My experience has always been that 6 months and under, my children have pretty much always slept through the night, so they stay in one spot the whole night. From 6 months on they start waking more, so I feed them more overnight. I just pop bub in the crook of my arm with their head resting on my arm, boob out, back to sleep. When I want to roll over or change sides, bub comes with me. It really does become second nature having baby right beside you and you do adjust yourself accordingly, and even subconsciously. I'm a much different sleeper now as opposed to before I had a newborn.

    Also, I'm not sure if you want to use a cot to sidecar, or if you already have one, but if you only have the amby and want to give it a go, we've got a cot etc here that we don't use that you are most welcome to
    Last edited by PumpkinZulu; October 17th, 2013 at 08:50 PM.

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    I would feel uneasy about cosleeping on memory foam, my understanding is it is not "firm" in the same sense as other types of mattress surfaces because of the way it softens/reshapes with body heat. I would check that out more carefully first. I was never 100% comfy with total co-sleeping so keeping bub in arms reach at the side of our bed was best for us.

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    I slept further down the bed and jett further up too, so the blankets didn't reachpast his knee. Jett hated being swaddled so we never did that. I was also aware of him in the bed however I was lucky having lots of space as there was only 2 of us in the bed

    Eta: I have no idea about the mattress you have so check it out. You can buy a thing especially for co sleeping that sits in the bed. I think it's called an arms reach co sleeper..

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    Thanks all.

    That's interesting about the memory foam and I'll research it more. I noticed yesterday when I was feeding bub lying down in bed, that he had a tendency to roll towards me. Body heat softens the foam, so it created a gradient that I didn't feel comfortable about.

    for those that are able to feed in bed and fall asleep, how do you handle wind? I'm about to start a specific thread on that, as wind seems to be our biggest issue at the moment. That, and how noisy a sleeper he is (which may be related to wind).

    eta - re: swaddling. Bub sleeps best when swaddled tightly, even though he's a Houdini with his hands. However, I read that babies should've be swaddled when co-sleeping. Is that right?

  10. #10

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    It's possibly an over heating issue, as I said earlier I did leave Moo wrapped but only ever had him on top of the blankets. Only guessing there though so happy to be told otherwise.

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    I slept exactly the same as Hestia when DD was tiny. But I was still nervous, and so was DH, so he actually sat up next to me keeping watch the whole time I slept. I was just at a point where I couldn't sit up anymore so we chose co-sleeping. Once we got used to it and I realised I woke at the tiniest thing, we got more comfortable. I just made sure she had space and there was nothing but mattress anywhere near her. When she got bigger and was moving more and I was more comfortable with it, we made sure there was a barrier on her side of the bed, I gave DH most of the quilt and only took enough to cover me to the waist and none could reach DD.

    As for swaddling, I've also read they shouldn't be if co-sleeping. DD never liked it so we stopped that pretty early, but I guess it's because if he does need to move or something, you're less likely to notice it and wake if he's swaddled?

    With gas, I went with the whole "breastfed babies don't get gas" which was such a joke for DD, she could fart all night lol. I didn't burp her if I fed lying down, because even if I was sitting up and burping her it didn't seem to do anything. So if she got grunty, I'd lift her legs and push her knees to her belly to help it down, and massage her belly in little circles. I kind of just automatically did it in my sleep.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by LionsandBears View Post
    Thanks all.

    That's interesting about the memory foam and I'll research it more. I noticed yesterday when I was feeding bub lying down in bed, that he had a tendency to roll towards me. Body heat softens the foam, so it created a gradient that I didn't feel comfortable about.

    for those that are able to feed in bed and fall asleep, how do you handle wind? I'm about to start a specific thread on that, as wind seems to be our biggest issue at the moment. That, and how noisy a sleeper he is (which may be related to wind).

    eta - re: swaddling. Bub sleeps best when swaddled tightly, even though he's a Houdini with his hands. However, I read that babies should've be swaddled when co-sleeping. Is that right?
    We did all the wrong things then DD1 was swaddled, but we put her on top of the doona, rugged up warmly. DD2 has never been swaddled, but she goes on top in her sleeping bag. We used to have a foam memory mattress but we've moved on. You could buy a mattress topper if you're worried?

  13. #13

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    I really only co-sleep once they bf to sleep in my arms, in bed. So I put to sleep in their own bed (hammock beside me) and reach over and lift out when bub wakes (you can do it one-handed in those Bonds terry suits!). We don't have many blankets on us, a wool doona in winter and a single light quilt in summer, so I'm not that worried about bedding. (The days we sleep naked are well and truly passed... ). I tend to hold my babies with one arm under them, facing me, while bfing and then once we fall asleep. I am super aware of where they are and I'm also a very settled sleeper, I don't tend to move. If/when I wake up and bub is fast asleep I usually pop them back in the hammock.

    DD2 didn't really like falling asleep with me in the night once she was a few months old, so generally a quick feed and back to bed for her, but no issues if we did fall asleep.

    Neither of my babies were ever windy overnight. I think everything is so settled and quiet that the digestion works better!

    Oh, and before I discovered co-sleeping, with DD1 I would get up, go and bf in the lounge room in an armchair. The number of times I fell asleep there in the middle of the night don't bear thinking about. Much, much safer falling asleep in our bed with its flat surface. I don't know how anyone does night time bfs without falling asleep!

  14. #14

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    Good idea to plan ahead

    I always wore a jumper in cool weather with a little one so the blankets could be pushed down.
    I think swaddle would be overheating + movement issue with hands and legs constrained. If they did roll over they can't push out again and let you know. Even newborns are remarkably mobile sometimes.
    Wind? I honestly don't think they ever needed burping after feeding lying down. If he feeds and falls asleep, try letting him be

  15. #15

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    When they're tiny, I tend to use a side car and keep them wrapped, so just feed and push back to their own space. Once they start wanting to sleep right next to me (ie wake when moved, the magical 4 month sleep regression) I stop swaddling and start using a sleeping bag. Then I feed and wriggle down the bed. I turn the pillow so there is nothing near baby (so I sleep on the edge of the pillow) and pull covers up to my ears while only going over bub's legs.

    Then as they get bigger again and want boob all night (more like 8 months for mine) I lie on one side with my arm out and knees up and bub lies in line with boob and under the covers.

    Once they're crawling I start rolling away from them at night because they can wake you and get in and out of covers etc.

  16. #16

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    My DS (now 9 months) was a very windy baby who grunted and wriggled through the night in his cot- we ended up sleeping him on his side where he seemed to be much more comfortable. When we co sleep (every night from around 3-4am, and whenever he is sick or we are on hols), he also sleeps on his side facing me and I have never had to deal with wind when we co sleep. He is a much more settled sleeper in our bed overall. Side sleeping doesn't meet SIDS guidelines, but it has really worked for us.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by LionsandBears View Post
    for those that are able to feed in bed and fall asleep, how do you handle wind? I'm about to start a specific thread on that, as wind seems to be our biggest issue at the moment. That, and how noisy a sleeper he is (which may be related to wind).
    I'll reply in this thread given you've also asked the question here. I sat up in bed to feed DS3 for prob the first 5-6 months, so wind was much less a problem for us by the time I'd started to feed him while laying on my side. However, I mentioned in my first post I used to lay him face down on me, tummy to tummy, and that always had an immediate settling affect on him. Then, when he'd gone to sleep, I'd put him in between us.

    DS3 had major wind issues as a newborn. I found sleeping him on his tummy at the start of each sleep helped a lot. Took me a while to crack out of the "OMG, he's on his tummy, what am I doing!!!" mindset, but the pressure on his tummy helped settle him in to sleep.

    Other things that I tried that had varying degrees of success were Infant's Friend, taking his nappy off and cycling his legs and also gently pushing his bent legs up to his tummy, and then going to a chiropracter who was experienced in working with newborns. To be honest, it was the chiro who gave us the long-term assistance. He was a bit jammed up through the pelvis/cranial bones from his very fast birth. She manipulated DS3's gut, and pelvis (something about nerves around the pelvis connect to the gut) and cranial and DS3's wind pain reduced greatly and within a short time was gone altogether.

    It's very hard to watch your bubba cry and cry because of wind pain xx

  18. #18

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    If I have my bubba in bed with me I pop her high up in the bed so her head is more in line with mine, so if I have the covers up to my shoulders it covers her her from her high waist down. She is swaddled so doesn't need to much warmth. LAying down to feed while you are learning how to feed is not a great idea. I would suggest getting up (i know that is hard when you are tired) but being awake and making sure he drains the breast well is a good habit to get into so he will sleep longer periods instead of snacking all night long. That way you will only be tired until you both get into the swing of it, feeding (snacking) overnight long term is very tiring!

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