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safety of newborn sleeping ON your chest

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have a few questions about cosleeping with a newborn. We weren't planning to cosleep, but Gen (4 weeks old) won't sleep unless she's on my chest or dh's chest. She likes to lie across the chest, in a cradle hold position with her legs hanging off the side of our body. Is this a typical cosleeping position? Is it safe?

She is not on her back while sleeping--will this increase her SIDS risk? We all sleep topless, with blankets down around our waists, so she can't suck in a shirt and rebreathe the air. So, given that our shirts are off and she can't rebreathe is the SIDS risk thus reduced, similar to back sleeping?

Also, I'm just wondering how common it is for babies of this age to insist upon chest to chest sleeping? I really don't mind it, and in fact enjoy the closeness. However, I went to a new moms support group yesterday and was surprised to find that Gen was the only baby who coslept. It sounded like all the other babes were just fine going to their cribs, which I found very surprising. Or maybe the other moms just ignore their baby's desire to cosleep?

Gen is generally not ok with sleeping next to us--she has to be ON us. So, typical or not? Safe or not?

What does cosleeping physically look like for your family? Where is the babe in relation to you? Next to you? On you all night? Is babe on his/her stomach/back/side? Where are your pillows/blankets in relation to the babe?

Also, does anyone have recommendations for bedrails to prevent her from falling out of our bed once she gets more mobile?

Thanks
post #2 of 17
For about the first two months my LO slept on my chest. He has since moved to sleeping beside me. I just mound pillows on the bed now.
post #3 of 17
Dd slept on my chest for the first month or more for every sleep time and then until 5 months for nap times. I side cared her crip and she likes that now. A lot of times she'll want to be in there, but then roll over to me and snuggle then roll back over for some space and on and on Anyways, I think the sleeping on chest thing is normal. They did just spend 42ish weeks inside you She sleeps on my right and dh on my left. She sleeps however she wants now..but I did do tummy sleeping since like 3 weeks....:

Danielle*
post #4 of 17
We did "modified chest sleeping", as after awhile my back would hurt horrible. I just rolled to one side, and stayed tummy to tummy with him, and he'd use my arm for a pillow and stay asleep...

Now, he's all over the place. For awhile falling off was a concern for me... and it happened once, but wasn't a big deal. We took down the frame and put the box spring/mattress on the floor and scooted my side of the bed against the wall. Now we're in a bigger bed (read: takes longer to crawl off the side!) and don't have a side rail and it's in the middle of the room, but if I get up to go to the bathroom I'll usually put a pillow between DS and the side of the bed, just in case.
post #5 of 17
my DD was not a chest sleeper ever, but i think that is very very normal for a child that age. it is really quite safe, especially skin to skin. i would not worry one bit!

but i would expect she will probably become able to sleep next to you rather than on you at some point in the next few months
post #6 of 17
It was normal for us in the very beginning. I would actually tuck the sheet in around his waist, so he would get caught if for some reason he slipped.

As for safety...have you noticed how quickly you wake up if he even breathes "funny"? I personally can't even think of a safer way to sleep on your belly, than to be maybe 5 inches away from your parent's face. Just my opinion, of course.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by syn_ack89 View Post
For about the first two months my LO slept on my chest. He has since moved to sleeping beside me. I just mound pillows on the bed now.
:
post #8 of 17
DS spent the first 2 weeks of life on either my or DH's chest, he then moved to armpits and now he sleeps on his side, facing me. He doesn't really sleep on his back but I don't worry about SIDS. I'm somewhat skeptical of the whole back to sleep thing and I don't think it really applies to co-sleeping babies. You wake up if the baby's breathing changes, if they move, if they aren't moving, if the blanket goes near their face, etc. I think back to sleep is more of a concern if a child is alone in a crib.
post #9 of 17
My second baby slept on my or my dh's chest for the first 3 weeks and then in the cosleeper next to our bed (after falling asleep on us) with my hand on his tummy. I didn't even think about worrying about it. I just thought its what tiny babies do and I was happy to think about all the immune system support that all that contact and touch was giving both of us! I noticed when he so much a wiggled, and at that age they are up every 2-3 hours if not more frequently to nurse anyway so that deep sleep thing never really happened.
post #10 of 17
My DD slept on my chest quite often in the early days. Only I had a scary experience where I nodded off to sleep and woke up in a panic as she was slipping off of me and heading towards the floor. I managed to grab her to stop her from falling and she never even woke up but it terrified me enough that I started using the basinett beside the bed regularly instead.

There's nothing like waking out of a sound sleep to realize your newborn is falling off you...mind you I don't sleep well anyways with the baby in bed. For months I would wake up convinced DH was smothering the baby by sleeping on her and I'd be shoving him off the bed, searching frantically through the sheets for the baby when she was fast asleep right beside me in the co-sleeper.
post #11 of 17
DS slept on our chests until he got bigger and then he slept between DH and me. It always felt safer to have him on my chest than elsewhere because I was so in tune with him because we were skin to skin. He's 9 mos now and naps alone (ususally) with pillows around him. He calls out to me when he wakes and I just go get him right away. I feel like all those mommas at your group are missing out on this precious and all too brief time. I'm glad you and your partner aren't!
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Friday13th View Post
DS spent the first 2 weeks of life on either my or DH's chest, he then moved to armpits and now he sleeps on his side, facing me. He doesn't really sleep on his back but I don't worry about SIDS. I'm somewhat skeptical of the whole back to sleep thing and I don't think it really applies to co-sleeping babies. You wake up if the baby's breathing changes, if they move, if they aren't moving, if the blanket goes near their face, etc. I think back to sleep is more of a concern if a child is alone in a crib.
this is the progression that we had as well, though my son slept on either my or my husband's chest for the first month. i don't have any research to back my actions, but my instincts tell me that it was the right thing for my son. anytime i would try to put him down in those first few weeks, he would wake right up. moving to the armpit, then on his side facing me worked for us and happened very naturally. he's 5 months now and i can nurse him to sleep and leave him in our bed for a few hours before we go to bed. i agree with friday13 that i was very in tune with my son's movements. before i had my son, i was scared of rolling on him, blanket over his face, etc, but once he came and we started the whole thing, everything felt very natural. again, no research to back what we do, but it feels very safe. AND, i am convinced that the physical closeness, skin-to-skin, is beneficial.

i would trust that chest sleeping won't last forever and you will find a system that works for you.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSMama View Post

There's nothing like waking out of a sound sleep to realize your newborn is falling off you...mind you I don't sleep well anyways with the baby in bed. For months I would wake up convinced DH was smothering the baby by sleeping on her and I'd be shoving him off the bed, searching frantically through the sheets for the baby when she was fast asleep right beside me in the co-sleeper.
Same feeling when they are falling out of your arms while you're sitting in the rocking chair.

After an unfortunate hospital experience, and being kicked out of hospital a mere 42 hours post-op (sigh), I completely passed out with DS in my arms after nursing a few hours after we got home. I awoke to hear him screeching (and they were concerned about his lungs beforehand) as he headed head-first towards the ground. I still think that some of my long healing was b/c of the movement I had to do to stop him from hitting the ground.

So I tried hard not to sleep in the chair with him anymore.

And that's why I did the waist-level-tuck of the sheets around him.

When we progressed away from sleeping on the chest, we bought a very simple sleep positioner, with a little mat and two mesh covered foam triangular things that velcroed onto the mat. Mainly so that OUR bodies would meet some resistance if we moved, while we got used to him being with us. Once I got confident enough in myself (and off the drugs that were prescribed and made me hallucinate (mega ibuprofen) and unable to speak (hydrocodone...less than a year later DH was prescribed the same drug for a sudden-onset glaucoma thing, and he had the same unable-to-speak reaction), I moved "my" foam over in between DH and DS, so there was a longer barrier. Then finally DH felt comfy and we removed them entirely.

That was a transition that worked for us very well!
post #14 of 17
i think i posted almost this same question after DD's birth!

she slept on me for, oh, probably close to 4 months... then i would roll over ever so gently and have her sleep right beside me. honestly that was how *i* slept best as well as she! i don't know *how* others can sleep soundly w/ their babes in another room or not really, really close to them.

early on, i slept w/ a small blanket over my shoulders and arms and the regular covers up to DD's waist.

now she sleeps between DH and i w/ our covers. during naps she sleeps in our bed (on the floor) w/ pillows propped around her.
post #15 of 17
We used an Arm's Reach cosleeper with dd, but one night dh went to bed early and fell asleep with dd on his chest (because of her colic) when she was about 2 months old. I came upstairs to check on them and I looked at the cosleeper and him and did not see her anywhere. I screamed, "Where is she?!" She had fallen off his chest and was under the blankets. I was so worried she had sufficated. It was the scariest moment of our lives. Luckily she was fine and we have been very careful ever since. We moved her to her own crib in her room at 9 months, but she usually ends up in our bed early in the morning. At 2 years old I am still very careful and aware of where she is and where the blankets are.
post #16 of 17
nak- yes, both normal & safe
post #17 of 17
We do this, and have just started laying down to sleep due to me having a third c-section. It is hard to lay down at first.

I say if you can keep blankets to a minimum, are good at waking with baby, have support, and all that then it can be perfectly safe.
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