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I coslept with DS1 on a wool futon. It was fine. It did kind of sink where DH and I slept, which sometimes made me feel weird--if I left the bed, DS could sort of roll into my impression. But if I was in there with him, it was fine. I always slept on my side and didn't think it was too firm.
I slept on a Japanese futon on a concrete floor while in Japan back in March. I wouldn't recommend it! I think so long as you were on a wooden or carpet floor it would be fine. North American futons seem to be really thick compared to Japanese futons, too. Go for it!
DS and I sleep on Japanese futon mattresses on the floor of his nursery. It is very firm but I can handle it, even for side-lying nursing. My husband, on the other hand, has back issues and the Japanese-style futon is way too thin for him to sleep on.
Overall, I definitely recommend the futon mattress.
Everyone in our house sleeps on firm futon mattresses on the floor. Have coslept on one with kids from newborn to 3 year old. They're fine for side lying nursing an older baby (I've never figured out how to nurse lying down with a newborn on ANY kind of mattress) or toddler. The only issue I've had is difficulty keeping my super mobile baby IN bed. I can comfortably fit one adult + one child on a full size futon. One adult + 2 kids is doable but a little squished. For 2 adults I prefer a king sized one. I like a lot of space though and my kids are crazy sleepers.
daughter #2 10/08/10
I am currently sleeping on a futon now (with DH and DD) and I do not like it. It's just too firm for me. There is no give AT ALL. It's like sleeping on the floor. My DH, however, loves it. So I've ended up putting an egg-crate foam pad on my side of the bed which has helped.
Originally I wanted to try a futon because I have lower back issues but the futon does not support my lower back at all because it's so firm. We have a guest bed with a mattress on it and sometimes I sleep on that in the middle of the night because it's more comfortable than the futon.
DH and I mulling over ways to try and create a bed that is half-futon and half-mattress...