I'm 3 months along. My husband and I are both heavy sleepers, so it was no question that we want the baby in our bed (or at the very least, in our room). I don't see a problem with co-sleeping, but I'm terrified that somehow I'll do it wrong, and end up harming the baby. Two of my family friends' infants died from SIDS (or factors that look like SIDS), and while I know it's rare, I'm still scared. What if I breathe too much carbon dioxide toward the baby? What if the room is hotter than I think it is? What if I sleep to close and she can't breathe?
What's your advice for a first time mama who's afraid of co-sleeping, but really wants to do it?
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Unless you plan to sleep with both your heads inside a sealed box you won't breathe too much carbon dioxide onto her. You don't produce enough.
A good rule of thumb for warmth is to dress the baby in one more light layer than you are comfortably wearing. We have our rooms around 25C. The babies wear long pyjamas made of t-shirt material. When DD2 was little I also wrapped her (arms out) in a flannelette wrap.
I can't help with been there done that advice on the snuggling. Mine both prefer a bit more space once they finish feeding. One thing I did often do was reposition myself so our heads were level, rather than their heads at my chest level. I did it for other reasons but, if they did roll into your face you're more likely to stir and move I should think.
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I haven't read the book by James McKenna, but I remember reading a bit of his research that showed that SIDS was less likely with co-sleeping babies. With my first child, I initially used a Snuggle Nest and kept the baby next to me. I hated the thing, and agonized about removing him from the security of his own little box to make nursing easier for me. I seriously spent hours and hours trying to research how babies sleep in other countries where co-sleeping is common and what sort of surfaces would be least likely to cause suffocation and how to make sure he wouldn't fall out of the bed and on and on. Eventually I just went ahead and did it when he was about 2 months old and haven't looked back. With my second child I literally co-slept with her in the hospital, and had 2 nurses say something positive about it.
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I loved co-sleeping, but I understand your nervousness; new babies are so tiny and helpless, it's easy to worry!
You are due in August, right? If the room does not feel too hot to you, it's probably fine for your baby, but check on baby's sweatiness and skin temperature as you're getting ready for bed. Don't feel like baby ought to be wearing PJs or covered up, if he/she seems comfortable in just a diaper in the open air. If baby seems really hot (and is cranky--they usually won't sleep through serious temperature discomfort), wipe with a damp, cool washcloth.
When the weather is cool enough to use blankets, swaddle baby in its own blanket or use a sleep-sack, have your covers only up to waist level, and wear a warm top that's loose enough to pull up for nursing. Once baby can roll over, you'll be less worried about smothering because you'll be able to see when you're awake that he/she easily moves away from anything pressing against the face.
You'll probably find that you sleep more lightly and tend to wake when your baby does. But it's a good idea to have some kind of co-sleeper or basket or someplace where your baby could sleep at a short distance from you, in case you end up feeling too nervous with baby right next to you--that's something you don't want to be jerry-rigging in the middle of the night, so set it up in advance and be ready to learn whether/how much you use it. We borrowed a Moses basket and ended up not using it at night, but we kept it downstairs as a place to lay down the sleeping baby because he would nap longer if he could hear people moving around nearby, reassuring him that he had not been abandoned.
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My advice, honestly? If co-sleeping worries you, don't do it. There are other options.
The post-partum period ramped up my anxiety something fierce, and while I did eventually wind up co-sleeping with both my kids (when they were a few months old), I couldn't bring myself to lie down with a newborn. That's okay. The thing I did feel was a lifesaver was having a pack-n-play in the room. The bassinet attachment on mine saved me all kinds of bending over when DD was a baby and I was recovering from c/s, and it meant I could hear them immediately and soothe as appropriate, while still sleeping with relatively low worry.