Thursday, December 16, 2010

Co-Sleeping Options

I'm getting pretty tired of figuring out all the products we need to be prepared for the arrival of our baby. I'm definitely not buying into the hype of the Baby Industrial Complex (I haven't even stepped foot in a Babies 'R Us), but there's still a lot of stuff to get.

By far, my biggest dilemma is figuring out the co-sleeping situation. We want to co-sleep with our baby initially to promote attachment and make it easier on me to breastfeed in the middle of the night. Although I have no concrete way of predicting how long we'll co-sleep (it totally depends on our baby and how the situation is going), I'm currently thinking somewhere in the three-month range (but I'm really just pulling that number out of my butt). I'll keep you updated.

So, here's the dilemma:
  1. We have a queen-sized bed. Matt and I already jockey for space in our bed. There is no way we are fitting another living being in it (we don't let Hoss sleep with us either). Since we can't even consider this option, we don't even need to think through all the safety considerations related to the firmness of our mattress, blankets, etc.
  2. That means the baby needs to sleep next to the bed. Since Matt and I have an IKEA Malm bed, we sleep very low to the ground. This means an option like the pack-n-play (which is a an inexpensive, co-sleeping option for the side of the bed) will not work well for us. It would tower over our bed and require more work than I want to reach in and retrieve the baby in the middle of the night. I want to be able to reach over and touch the baby throughout the night.
  3. The Arm's Reach co-sleeper does have a "universal" option that adjusts to line up with platform-style beds, but it is approximately $240. That's way too much to spend for something that we might not use very long.
  4. I've heard about the option of renting a co-sleeper, but I haven't heard of any options in Houston. This option might be worth pursuing; it will just take more annoying work (like I said, I'm getting tired of thinking about all the products!).
  5. The space between my side of the bed and the closet is tight. If we get anything too bulky, it will make it difficult to navigate around our room.

So here's what I'm currently considering: Buying a thick mini-crib mattress (I found one that is about 6" high), lining it up next to our bed, and then buying something like this to put on top of the mattress (and put the baby in).

So what do you think? Please help me evaluate my current option, and suggest other ideas!

Looking forward to hearing from you...

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Katie R. said...

At the time when my youngest was born I had no bed frame so my box spring and mattress were on the floor. I actually bought a very inexpensive travel basinett at Target (? I think Target, but it could have been somewhere else). Anyway it was only about $50. Since it was made for travel the legs could be removed. I took the legs off and set it on the floor next to my bed! It was perfect! I also liked that I could put the legs back on and have her at a more convinent hight during the day when I was doing chores.

I would recommend renting something or finding something that is cheap enough that you will not regret purchasing it! You never know how your baby will react to it or how much you will even like it. Even if you do like it A LOT, $240 is a lot of money to invest (especially when you are buying all the other things that babies need!) in something that can only be used for a few months anyway. Good luck!

Katie R. said...

Look!!!! I found this! Granted, it's from Babies R Us, but it is a reasonable option and you can buy leg extentions so it will be the height that you need!

I do not know much about the snuggle nest....... but some babies may find the positioner uncomfortable. I know a lot of parents use them, but I was always nervous of the suffocation risk they pose. That is just me, though. Again, Good luck!!!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Katie R.: Thank you so much for your help on this! I'm realizing that I should not be so close-minded about stores like Babies 'R Us! Thanks for the reminder...

Anonymous said...

Before having my baby, I planned on having him sleep in a pack n play in our room for the first three months or so before transitioning to a floor bed in his room. Well, we've been bedsharing for two months now and I can't imagine doing anything else anytime soon. All three of us are incredibly well-rested! After the first couple of nights after our homebirth with baby in bed with us, we read up on how to do it safely. Reading "Our Babies, Ourselves" really clarified why this felt like the natural choice for us. Oh and we have a full bed-- one of the main reasons why we said we wouldn't bedshare was due to the small size of our bed. For this reason, I'd definitely advise against spending much money on any option. Have you considered side-carring a small, inexpensive crib? Like this one that is designed to have one side removed:

Taylor C. said...

Hi, my name is Taylor, I am Allison El Koubi's sister. My sister talked to me about maybing taking part in your purposeful conception course, so I was brousing through your blogs to see what it was all about when I saw this post. I live in Germany, where co-sleeping seems pretty popular. A while ago, I found a couple of options. Here is one I liked a lot because once you're done with the co-sleeping bed you can transform it into all kinds of other useful things. This product is made here in Germany, but since they have an English version of the website order it in the US. It's height can be adjusted to fit any bed. It might not be the cheapest option, but something I am sure can be used many times or sold when you're done.

Good luck finding the right thing!

Wendi said...

With our first child I was way too afraid for her to be in our bed and we had a teeny apartment with barely enough room for our bed - so she slept in her own room and that worked for her.

With our second we had a pack'n play in our room but by the time she was almost 6 months she was still waking up 3+ times a night and was so difficult to get back down. One night in desperation I laid her on our bed with my husband while I went to the bathroom. She stopped crying immediately and went back to sleep! So what worked for us was for her to start the night out in her own bed (still in our room) and then at the first waking she came to bed with us and slept the rest of the night. It was a miracle.

With baby #3 I didn't wait as long - she was in a Graco Travel Lite Crib (smaller than a regular pack n play) in our room things and whenever she woke up the first time to nurse she generally came to bed with us afterward.

BTW we have a queen bed also and never thought that we'd sleep comfortably. Now sometimes the last few hours of the night we have a 3 year old & a 19 month old in bed with us. It's not ideal perhaps, but at least we get to sleep!

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that the thing you have a picture of for the post is what me and my partner used!!! we loved it and it kept us from rolling over onto the baby. Sorry I just got really excited when I saw it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sara,

You could also try looking at Craigslist.

- Alissa

Amy said...

Why not just a low table or build something to the right height, put a non-skid rug thing on it and that sleeper on top? You're not going to be able to use a 6" mattress without a crib after your co-sleeping weeks are over. We don't know each other but I'm forbidding you from putting a baby on a 6" high mattress without a crib ;)

Amy said...

Sorry, also just realized that I read recently that those positioner things are not recommended anymore and cause a suffocation risk. I'm planning on using the bassinet thing that's an optional add-on to our stroller, which is similar to what someone above suggested.

Steph said...

We also thought that there was no way the baby would fit in our queen with us, but after having our homebirth we all fell asleep in the bed and it just ended up working out best for us to bedshare. You sleep differently after the baby is born. My husband used to be a crazy tosser/turner bedhog but not anymore. For us, we just slept sounder with our DS in the bed with us.

That said, if you want to try another option, and your bed is low to the ground, I would probably just put a crib mattress on the floor next to the bed with the baby on it. The little co sleeper nest things (like what you have pictured) only work until the baby starts rolling, and if he's on a mattress by himself and not rolling.... to me he doesn't really need one? You'd have to make sure he couldn't wedge himself between the mattress and your bed. In the worst case scenario that he somehow "fell off" the crib mattress onto the floor, its like 4 inches so he wouldn't be getting hurt.

Anyways my 2 cents is that you won't really know what works for you until after the baby comes so might as well start off with the cheapest and easiest option. You're doing a floor bed in his room right? You could even move it beside your bed at first. Then you might find that you like it better with him in your bed, you wouldn't mind reaching over a pack n play, or you'd feel more secure with him in one of those snuggle nest things. Also, rolled up receiving blankets make a great snuggle nest substitute. Our son would only sleep on his side for awhile and a tightly rolled receiving blanket on each side would keep him there.

I would also reeeeeaaally recommend a Miracle blanket. That is literally the only baby thing I feel like we could not have lived without. I know you said you were undecided about swaddling, but some babies (ours) scream and wake constantly unless they are swaddled. The Miracle Blanket was the ONLY thing that could keep his crazy flailing arms contained. If he got fussy, we'd swaddle him and he's settle down immediately and go to sleep. It was a life saver.

Kate said...

We're going to spring for the Arm's Reach, I think. It can be used until baby can pull itself to kneeling, which is about 6 months, and we're planning on having Rocketship sleep there at night with us, and on hir floor mattress in hir room during the day.

Two reasons for this, really: we're planning on having more kids, and it fit our mattress and our safety standards.

christina said...

we have the arm's reach & the co-sleeper you have pictured (without the positioners) and ended up using the co-sleeper because we have bulky blankets & i thought it was better to have baby right next to me in the arm's reach. is there a mom's online group you can join? i got an arms reach (mini) for $50 and it was barely used from another mom on an online support group...and someone already suggested craigslist...

i second the miracle blanket and my other favorite swaddle is the summer's infant swaddle...she doesnt get herself out of it!
good luck!

diana said...

I also second the link posted above for the Summer Infant Rest Assured Sleeper. I believe it's small enough that you could put it on the mattress you bought next to your bed and it would work well.

The sleep positioners are a safety risk, and the ones with an incline have been recalled due to infant deaths. The rest assured sleeper has breathable sides and just looks a lot safer. The snuggle nest has more to it, which poses a greater risk to your baby.

I actually am glad you posted this. We have a mattress and box spring on the floor right now until we purchase a cal king frame. I was planning to use a pack n play or similar item, and since we'll be traveling a lot to visit family, it'll be really handy. But I know it won't butt up to our bed very well, so maybe I'll look at other options as well. We aren't co sleeping because even with a cal king bed, my husband is 6'6", 250lbs and sleeps like a log.

BreAnna said...

You could do this Ikea hack, it would work perfectly with your bed frame, the resulting co-sleeper is small and shouldn't cost more than $60.

lindel said...

We used one of these Tetra Snuggle Beds.
It is a soft natural stuffing (tea tree) and breathable so if the baby rolls over they can still breath against it. It fit our large son for about 6 months and it was easy to move around the house if we needed.

Annalisa said...

i bought a nearly new arms reach co sleeper for $65 incl. extra sheets from a second hand chain called Once Upon a Child. I made a list of things I would like and left it with the owner and she's called me when they had a changing table I wanted.

It's worth checking second hand places which at least has a few day warrants unlike craigslist.

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ Amy: Aack! You're right! The positioners are not safe. Here's a link:

Jess said...

Hi...I'm not even pregnant yet, but I read OffBeat Mama, and somewhere on that blog is a DIY co-sleeper that someone made to fit a Malm bed from Ikea. She used a shelf (?) from Ikea, modified it, and put a cushion on it. I think she also sewed her own linens to go with it...this may be too much to DIY, but when I finally do get preggers, I plan on using her directions to make one to go with my Malm bed.

Good luck!!!

bklyn76 said...

we had the arms reach cosleeper, but we were lucky to borrow it from friends.

but, we coslept in our full/double bed...all three of us! it's crazy how aware you'll become when the babe is in the bed with make room. it probably wasn't the most comfortable, but it was easy in terms of nursing and warm. plus, we didn't get any sleep the first 6 months so it wasn't like it ruined our "non-sleep" ;)

Heather said...

I have a co-sleeper that we used with my third (she is 8 mo old now) and you can have it if you want - it is this one:

I don't know that it goes low enough for you though. All three of my kids have slept next to me in the bed until they were around 6 months old.

I didn't have a co-sleeper with the first two because our room wasn't big enough. With the third we had room, but in truth I didn't end up using it at night very often. I always fall back asleep nursing. I think co-sleeping in the bed is the best way to maximize sleep time. We did use it as a bassinet a lot though.

Heather said...

Also, have you seen this?

jen allyson said...

Have you thought about a moses basket? Plenty big for 1-4 months, and you can put it on some sort of platform to adjust the height to suit your needs.

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