Motherhood

Practice Safe Co-Sleeping!

Tonight is the first night since my girls were born (except for my 3 week “vacay” in NYC) that they have not slept in bed with me 🙁

Sadly, my 27inchers are just too big to sleep comfortably and safely in bed with me! Now they are in their crib…my big girls, growing up so fast!

If you are just looking for my personal “Safe Co-Sleeping Recommendations” just scroll down to the bottom.

My Co-Sleeping Journey

I did not plan on co-sleeping. My mother bought 2 cribs early on in my pregnancy and I bought a cradle that I intended to use for the first few weeks, then move them into one crib, then separate them into two cribs when they were too big…or too playful!

My deep need to co-sleep, and it really felt like a need, started right away in the hospital. I laid in bed with my sleeping babes in arms and I could NOT let them out of my arms. However, I also knew that I was in no state to safely co-sleep….in a hospital, on painkillers, after labor, lots of blankets…and 2 preemies. Not very safe!

I was blessed to have the nurse that I had, I wish I remembered her name. She had to catch up on paperwork and told me she would sit in the chair by my bed and do her work and I could sleep with the girls in bed with me, knowing she would be there to make sure they were all right.

When I came home from the hospital, the babies spent a total of 20-30 minutes in their cradle. I couldn’t do it. In my dazed, sleep-deprived, post partum depression and first time mom obsession I HAD to have my babies right next to me so that at any given moment I would be right there!

Luckily, I had bought two of these…

The First Years Close and Secure Sleeper!

I positioned these in the middle of the king size bed I was sharing with my mom during the first two months. My mom and I had our own blankets and pillows so there were none up against the sleepers.

This worked great for the first two-three months. Around that time the babies and I moved into the full sized bed in my room.

I put a bed rail on their side of the bed and then the co-sleepers on that side. This worked very well, the sleepers weren’t going anywhere anyways but the bed rail gave me extra safety and peace of mind.

They outgrew the sleepers around 3.5months (they were also 90% in length, so you may get a little longer out of it!) and I still wanted to co-sleep.

What I Got from Co-Sleeping

Co-Sleeping was more than just peace of mind as a semi-crazy first time mom that wanted to hear my babies breathe. It also made nighttime feedings a LOT easier on me. When the girls were nursing, i’d nurse them in bed. When they were bottle feeding (most of the time at night) I kept bottles of breast milk or premade formula in a cooler bag on the bed. It was so great to not have to get out of bed to feed two babies every 2-3 hours a night for 6 months!

I also have felt that co-sleeping bond…I enjoyed having the girls so close and they enjoyed being so close to me.

After the Close and Secure Sleeper

So around 3.5months the girls were too long for their sleepers. I had been letting them nap on a giant pillow in bed with me and realized that they actually slept longer when they were on it.

My new set up was the girls lying on the pillow horizontal to me, the bed rail running behind their heads.

The safety of that set up depends on how much your baby(ies) move and how deep a sleeper you are. My babies do not move when they sleep; they just stay in the place I put them, so they never moved off the pillow. However, if they ever did, I am a light sleeper and would be able to move them back right away.

You could also just nix the pillow and lay your baby(ies) flat on the bed, horizontal to you with the bed rail running along the side (where their heads are). This is a great set up for a single parent, especially one of multiples!

SAFE CO-SLEEPING RECOMMENDATIONS

These are my personal recommendations, my word is not the law so use your own judgement and I encourage you to look further into co-sleeping if you are interested!

1. NEVER co-sleep if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, this includes prescription drugs that make you drowsy/sleep deeply.

2. NEVER co-sleep if you are a smoker. Smoke lingers in your breath, all over your body and your clothes. Your baby will be exposed to smoke the entire night you are sleeping next to them. This may have a negative affect on your baby’s ability to breathe, not to mention the long-term effects.

3. ALWAYS be sure to keep all blankets, pillows, and loose items out of reach of your baby. If you sleep with lots of extra bedding, co-sleeping may not be the best option for you.

4. NEVER co-sleep if you are a very deep sleeper. If you sleep too deeply you won’t be able to…

5. MONITOR your baby’s well being. You should be able to hear if your baby is in any sort of distress.

6. NEVER co-sleep if you move a lot in your sleep. It could be very dangerous for your baby if you move around a lot in your sleep.

7. USE bed rails! If you are a single parent or if your baby sleeps on the outside of you or your partner, use a bed rail. KNOW that the bed rail must fit securely so there are no gaps  that baby could fall in to. KNOW that the bed rail is just an EXTRA safety measure…if your baby is sleeping on the outside of the bed you must MONITOR baby.

      I know some parents who move their mattress onto the floor to co-sleep, greatly minimizing any fall risk there may be for babies who sleep on the outside of the bed.

8. ALWAYS co-sleep on a BED! NEVER co-sleep on a couch. The space is simply too small to provide safe room for an adult and infant.

Co-sleeping can get a bad rep from a few “studies” that suggest sids risks. It is extremely important to note that the majority of those incidents occurred during unsafe co-sleeping when the infant and adult were on a couch and/or the adult was intoxicated. If you read in-depth on studies suggesting co-sleeping is unsafe, you will find this information.

With a few of my tips and those of other co-sleepers, you can practice safe co-sleeping!

RELATED: When Should You Stop Co-Sleeping? by: Juniper Russo.

Tina Bekkali

Hi there, I’m Tina and I created Blissfully Mommy as a place to share and celebrate the ups and downs of motherhood. In between those dirty diaper moments you learn to laugh, love, cry, and find bliss in the little things like a yummy recipe, easy style tips, or a Pinterest binge! I hope this blog inspires you to cultivate your own version of mommy bliss.

3 Comments

  1. lahancock

    Another option for safe co-sleeping that we do is we have a crib that has a drop side. I took one side off, pushed the crib next to the wall and our king size bed is shoved flush to the crib. We made sure that the crib mattress height is the same as the king size bed. We have a bed with a ledge that goes all around it so I had to think of a solution to make sure the crib mattress was right against the king mattress. I purchased foam that was just the right thickness to shove into the gap on the far side of the crib. I covered those with pillowcases. This has allowed us to co-sleep for much longer.

    I do move around a lot in bed, but I sleep lightly enough that it doesn’t seem to be a problem. My 17 month old has fallen out of bed a handful of times because he sometimes sleep crawls. I tend to wake up just as he is falling out of the bed. He has never been seriously injured, more surprised to find out he is on the floor.

    Both he and his older brother have been known to fall out of a toddler bed when napping. They both move a lot in their sleep. I love waking up next to my boys. My husband was against co-sleeping at first and now he asks our almost four year old to crawl into bed with us regularly. I guess it is our new normal now, to have feet in our faces, and warm bodies to snuggle with.

    04 . 10 . 2011
    • 2plus1at21

      That is a good option! I think they sell something called an “Arms Reach Co-sleeper” that does this as well. I think that’s a great idea to put the crib against the wall and the bed against the crib…I am considering doing something similar.

      The girls only stayed in their crib for about 4-5 hours last night and then Eloise woke up completely (which never happens) so I brought her to bed…and I brought Marvel to bed as well so she wouldn’t be alone 🙂

      04 . 10 . 2011
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