Our DS is 9 months now and we have co-slept with him in various forms since he was born. We started out with an Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper sidecarred to the bed, which worked okay for the first 4-5 months. When he outgrew that, we brought him into our bed and he's been there happily ever since.
Even though we hadn't planned on doing the Family Bed thing, I'm really loving it and it's working pretty well for the most part, but there are some things I'd like to change or improve upon.
First, DS goes to sleep around 7pm. Since he is fully mobile now, we're kind of afraid to leave him alone on the bed, so my husband and I take turns laying next to him for the first 3-4 hours of the night until one of us comes to bed for the night. I want to continue with our family bed, but I would also like to reclaim the first part of the evening as time for DH and I to either be together or do what we want. Right now DS is nursed to sleep, or helped to sleep with a combo of me nursing and Daddy rocking him if he's having a fussier night. There was a period of time where one of us had to lay next to him not just because we were afraid of leaving him alone, but because he was such a restless sleeper that one of us would have to shush him or pat his back (or I'd nurse him a dozen times) to help him get back to sleep. Nowadays though, he seems like he's finally developing some sleep maturity because he tends to sleep soundly for the first few hours of the night without any help from us. So it seems like a good time to try and get that part of the night back for ourselves.
We actually have a full size crib in our bedroom. But the problem is, we have never had any success transferring him to the crib to sleep once he's been nursed down or rocked down. No matter how carefully we do it, or how long we wait after he initially falls asleep, he always wakes up instantly VERY upset and we have to start the nighttime process all over again. I would love to just be able to put him in the crib and listen for him on the monitor for the first part of the night, then come to bed and bring him to bed at his first nightwaking and let him sleep with us the rest of the night, but that doesn't seem to work for him.
For those of you who do the family bed thing, do you leave them alone for part of the night in the bed? If so, do you take any special precautions? If I listen for him on the monitor, do I really need to worry he'll get hurt if we're not in there with him? I forgot to mention that our king size bed is currently on the floor with no boxspring, but I'd really like to eventually have it on the boxspring again if possible. And we also have his crib mattress next to our mattress on the floor as well. (I had been nursing him down on his own crib mattress to try and get him used to being on the crib mattress, but he generally is not as happy there as on our mattress.) We also haven't really baby-proofed our bedroom, but we could take some time and do it. If he were to wake up without us there, I would guess he's probably fuss a little first which I'd hear on the monitor, before just crawling around and getting into anything dangerous. But I still worry.
If you put them in a pack n' play or crib for the first part of the night, do you have any tricks to getting them to sleep happily there for the first part of the night?
Or do you have any special setup that makes it safer to leave them in the bed alone? Like a guardrail or something?
Do any of you who do the family bed have little ones who are bed hogs or squirm incessantly? How do you deal with that?
Also, if you co-sleep or do the family bed, where does your little one nap during the day?
Sorry for such a long, question-filled post! I'd just love any ideas or feedback from those who have a good co-sleeping/family bed situation. Thanks so much!
What I would do if I could is put our mattress on the floor and babyproof our bedroom so I could nurse him down and leave him sleeping in our bed.
Were co-sleeping with our 16 mo old - and yes, we have been leaving alone in our room for months now - he typically goes down around 6 - 7 PM and we go in around 10 - 11PM - if he wakes up, he cries - i go in and nurse him again, he is out in 5 minutes. For naps when DS was that age i would put pillows around him, but same thing - he would yell for me when he woke up and as he got older, he just comes out the bedroom when hes done with his nap. I guess this is where having a small apartment really pays off!
About the crib - i had my first older two in one and they loved it and slept great in it, BUT you need to put him into awake. Thats why it works so well with kids who take a bottle - just put them in and hand them their bottle! I nursed my second son, and he used to go in while he was awake, but barely. Let him stay in teh crib while awake and playing to get used to it - but yea, once baby is used to nursing down to sleep - you probably cant change it! LOL - i wish i could some nights!
Happy at Home Mama to DD 4/95 DS 4/98 and DS#2 8/10
I co-sleep with my 17 month old. I do leave him alone for part of the night. Our room is fully DS friendly, the bed is low to the ground, and I taught him to back off the bed shortly after he became mobile. For a brief period, he sat in the middle of the bed and cried for me when he woke up without me, but for awhile now he's been hopping up to come get me. He's only taken the opportunity to explore a couple times, which wasn't really a problem because the unsafe areas are gated off. These days DS takes his naps on the family bed, but before we moved and the layout of the house made that inconvenient, I had a crib mattress I brought into the living room for nap time. He's been able to safely get down from a bed on box springs and a frame since around 11-12 months, so we could probably have a higher bed if I wanted one, but I'm more comfortable sleeping low to the ground at this point.
Listening to him on the monitor can help, but little ones can be surprisingly quiet about their mischief, and you likely won't hear anything if he ends up in the position to strangle or suffocate, so make sure there aren't any hazards of that sort. If you have blinds, make sure the cords are out of his reach, that he can't get trapped between the mattress and the wall or furniture, et cetera.
We have a 20 month old and we have all slept in the family bed since her birth. We have our mattress on the floor and bed rails on each side. The rails were initially to keep her from rolling off but are now mainly to maximise the space we have. DH and I can sleep much closer to the edge of the mattress with the rails on.
We have made the room fairly safe but it is not 100% toddler proof. Part of it for us is staying close by when she's asleep so we're always within earshot and part of it is knowing the 9 times out of 10 she will wake up and call for us before even thinking about getting up. I also check on her occasionally while she's asleep. If she was the type to quietly get up and wreak havoc then I'm sure we would need to come up with a new plan.
She sleep in the bed by herself for daytime sleeps and for the first few hours at night. If she wakes before I'm ready to go to bed then I go back in, resettle her and get back up.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
I have co-slept with my daughter for 3.5yrs. She loves and and so do hubby and I. I know I sleep better knowing she's safe and asleep. She always slept inbetween us so I never fears she'd fall out of bed. We got her a little toddler memory foam pillow when she turned 3 (she never wanted to use a pillow before that).
She takes her naps in our bed or her toddler bed, her choice. My parents, who watch her while I'm at work and hubby's at school, often let her fall asleep on the couch! so I tell her to sleep in our bed or hers. She even is able to fall asleep on her own (by herself) at night with my husband at home. With me ... she REALLY loves to cuddle before sleeping. Sometimes, if I'm not sleepy, I'll lay down with her til she falls asleep and get back up to watch TV or eat something before going to bed. It seems I'm the only one who can't get her to sleep on her own .. so far. Fingers crossed!
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