Co-Sleeping

My original plan was for Declan to be in a bassinet. With Bella, we kept her in a bassinet in our room for the first two or so months before moving her to her crib.

But my plans changed when I awoke one night to Declan choking. Needless to say, I was really, really scared. He was in the bassinet, a few feet from me, and I just kept thinking, “What if I hadn’t heard him?” He hadn’t been very loud. And I was terribly sleepy from being up a few times each night. I moved him to our bed that night. He slept between Danny and me on a firm memory foam pillow that had a dip in the middle. The pillow kept Danny from rolling over on him (one of the warnings given about co-sleeping is that fathers aren’t as aware of the baby as mothers) and also kept him from getting covered by our blankets.

Once he outgrew the pillow, (which he did, quickly!) we moved a chair next to our bed. At this point, I had no clue about “sidecarring” a crib; I thought the only way to co-sleep was to 1- have the baby in bed with you, or 2-buy an expensive side car co-sleeper. I didn’t like #1, since I was worried about Danny rolling on him. And no way was I forking out a hundred dollars or so for a side car. The chair is a very square, high armed chair with a firm cushion. I used quilts to build the cushion up to the height of the mattress. Of course, a chair isn’t that wide, and Declan soon outgrew that as well.

When Declan was about 5 weeks old, I read online about someone who had sidecarred a crib. What a novel idea! I set to work that very day. (It hurt. I had the crib set up in his room and had to take it apart. I had an appendectomy when he was 2 weeks old, and was still sore from that. It took a loooooong time to get that crib down, back up in our room, and the bed moved to it. Stupid idea to do it myself; I should have asked Danny to help.) I left the drop-side off of the crib and pushed it up against the wall. I then pushed the bed up against that.

Some people have used bungee cords to stretch across the opposite side of the crib to the opposite side of the bed to keep them together; I never had a problem with ours staying. HOWEVER, if I were going to co-sleep with an older baby, I would attach the crib to the bed. (For pictures on how they used the cords, see “How We Sidecarred Our Crib.” Our crib fit perfectly and the mattresses were the exact same height.) Older babies move a lot more, and I think Declan would now be able to do something crazy like push his hand between the mattresses. 

What about the pillows? Experts recommend that parents not use pillows or heavy blankets when co-sleeping, as a baby could get tangled and smother. I can’t sleep without a pillow, so I improvised. I slept with my face right at the edge of the pillow and my arm up against the edge. I also kept Declan lower than my pillow.

Another handy tip: I kept a large baby quilt stretched across the crib and my part of the mattress. This way, whenever a diaper happened to leak, I could remove the blanket and have a dry surface. I also kept diapers, wipes, and extra sleepers at the foot of the crib in baskets.

I was very aware of Declan the whole time we co-slept. Many times, I would wake up to his movements before he would cry. I knew where he was at all times; I fell asleep to the sound of his breathing. I loved co-sleeping.

Declan moved to his own room when he was 4 1/2 months old. I think he slept better than I did that night; I missed his snuggling up against me at night. I also missed seeing him playing with his hair while going to sleep.

I missed everything about co-sleeping; I still do.

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