I keep covering up the baby.... advice please! - Mothering Forums
Co-sleeping and the Family Bed > I keep covering up the baby.... advice please!
LeelasMama's Avatar LeelasMama 11:33 AM 12-10-2013

We have a 5 week old baby (who is pretty big-- 12 lbs!) and have been cosleeping since she was born. Our arrangement is a king sized bed with 2 pillows, fitted sheet, sheet, blanket and comforter-- and we have a cosleeper crib next to my side of the bed. Ideally I would have baby in cosleeper while she's sleeping all night- but it's kind of impossible, she goes down to sleep for the first time in it, sleeps a 2-4 hour stretch and then wakes up to nurse 2-4 times a night. I pull her in bed with me, nurse her, and in the beginning I would stay awake the whole feeding and then put her back in the cosleeper- but now I am awake just long enough for her to latch on, but then we fall asleep together in the bed. This wouldn't be a problem if I didn't find myself waking up in a panic because I've covered up the baby! It's usually just the sheet that goes over her head but there has been a couple times where it was the sheet and the blankets. I wear a long sleeved open sweater to sleep in hopes that I won't unconsciously yank the covers up over me, but it's been FREEZING in our room (gets down to 28 degrees at night this last week and I'm in coastal california)-- and our heater is not efficient in heating our bedroom, so we just use lots of blankets. 


It's really freaking scary waking up and flipping off the covers to make sure she's still alive... I read, and have been told by friends that if you bed share you should keep the covers folded down to waist level and just wear long sleeves and not use covers at all on the top half of your body. That's what I try to do... yet unconsciously I keep flipping them over her because its freezing. I know one obvious solution is to get a space heater. How bad is it to flip the covers over the baby?? she's all snuggly and warm and sleeping deeply every time I uncover her, but it's so scary.


advice please?? how bad is it to accidentally cover up the baby? I also have a feeling that it's not for very long she is under the covers, my mommy intuition is probably waking me up every time to take them off her. 

tinuviel_k's Avatar tinuviel_k 06:18 PM 12-10-2013
It sounds to me like your current co-sleeping situation simply is not safe. If your room is too cold and you unconciously cover yourself and your baby with the blankets then invest in a space heater and keep those blankets folded down. Make sure you and the baby are well bundled in very warm clothing. If that is not an option, commit to staying away thorough all of the nursing sessions and put your little one back into the co-sleeper.
jrose_lee's Avatar jrose_lee 11:01 PM 12-10-2013

I would definitely get a space heater in there if you can.  Dress in layers for warmth for you and the baby.  Whenever I have had a baby in the bed and needed a blanket I have always used a thin knitted type blanket because they have holes in them and seem much more breathable to me.  Maybe a combination of warm layers, a space heater and a light knitted type blanket?

skinnyloveBC's Avatar skinnyloveBC 11:28 PM 12-10-2013
I never planned to bed-share either. I had the Arm's Reach co-sleeper but DD didn't want anything to do with it. I agree with PPs that your current set up doesn't sound adequately safe. Until pretty recently (DD is now 14 mos), I tucked the blankets in at the bottom of the bed to hold them securely at waist height. DH can help you get the positioning right. I also only slept with one flat pillow. I slept in long-sleeved shirts or a tight sweatshirt/zip-up to keep my upper body warm. And a Vornado space heater is still in our room.

For me, it took a few months before it got really ingrained in my subconscious that there was an infant next to me. Until then, I repeated mantras each night to be aware of her and to be attuned to her needs, and I prayed nightly for safety and protection.

(Co-sleeping has required a lot of effort for me... Haha)
cynthiamoon's Avatar cynthiamoon 02:41 PM 12-11-2013
I have been in a very similar situation and have done two things to make things safer for us. One, is staying awake through nursing, lame as that is, in order to out her back in the cosleeper ( she sleeps better there anyway, we move a lot). The second is that I've also just become more and more aware of how I move I the bed. Sometimes she does still fall asleep in bed with us and I have just learned over time to tuck my sheets differently, etc.

Really, though, I think the only true safe solution is staying awake just long enough to move her back. Or a space heater and no blankets on the bed.
LeelasMama's Avatar LeelasMama 10:45 PM 12-11-2013

thanks for all the advice :)


We got a space heater and I had no problem keeping the sheets/blanket and comforter at waist level all night- it was warm enough to by comfortable with just a long sleeved top on. I WISH i could stay awake to nurse her and put her back in the cosleeper... i'm going to try tonight... maybe just by having that intention when I go to bed it will work in my subconscious sleeping mind- we will see.


HOW bad is it to fall asleep while nursing? If she coughs/sputters or anything I'm instantly awake and get her propped up in a second, so I know that I'm still responding to her needs and cues even while sleeping... but that makes me think I'm not actually sleeping deeply if I'm waking up for that- and I need to be well rested to take care of her so ideally putting her in the cosleeper after and staying awake for nursing would be the best option so that we both sleep safely and soundly.


any advice on how to stay awake during nursing at night?

cynthiamoon's Avatar cynthiamoon 11:15 PM 12-11-2013

The lack of deep sleep is exactly why I insisted on making myself stay awake and be able to move her. I just can't sleep well with her next to me, though I have at times for her sake. But now that she's become a super light sleeper who likes to smack us in our sleep... it's all co-sleeper all the way. My advice goes beyond the scope of the co-sleeping board though, because stricty speaking, it isn't. I do one of two things: if I am EXHAUSTED, you're gonna hate this, but I sit up to nurse OR even go into another room. I know... kinda defeats the purpose of the co-sleeper, but not really. You still get the benefits of proximity and being able to check on her later without getting out of bed. If I think I can stay awake, I still nurse her lying down, but I just really steel myself mentally. My mantra is just reminding myself over and over that the lazy, easy right NOW answer is to just plop down however and pass out, but that the harder, best solution for us is for me to wake up fully. Wait for her to get back to deep sleep. Move her, and then actually get better sleep. I am up with her for about 30-45 minutes each time she wakes up. It's not that bad IMO. I get about 6.5 hrs of sleep a night total, so totally livable. Worst case scenario, you buy the nursing alarm in the "useless" baby stuff thread... smile.gif It vibrates on a timer to wake you if you fall asleep. Attached to clothing.

tangerine01's Avatar tangerine01 07:55 PM 12-17-2013

I would always sit up for feeding, so I didn't have to actually get out of the bed - but would have to stay awake because I was in a sitting position.  I can't remember at what age I stopped doing that and started side lying nursing .. but it was not unitl he was a little bigger.  I will admit that I did this because he couldn't get a good latch lying down, but he was also a lot smaller than your baby.


Now he is almost 8 months and we have been nursing while sleeping for awhile now, I usually pull the covers and comforter up over my shoulder that I am not nursing him on and then leave the rest of the covers down below his body and off my side that he is nursing on .. if that makes sense.  Sometimes I pull them up over half of his body on his side if it is cold.  I am a light sleeper while he is in the bed, so I never move the covers out of this position until his next wake up where I switch sides and pull the covers up over my other shoulder.


Not sure if this would work with a younger baby, but is what works for us.

MeepyCat's Avatar MeepyCat 08:21 AM 12-18-2013
I hope it's not bad to fall asleep while nursing, because I did it a ton. With a healthy baby, it doesn't worry me. But I agree that it's best to get her back to the cosleeper, where blankets aren't such an issue.
Ahavati's Avatar Ahavati 09:07 AM 12-18-2013

We never took the covers off when we'd co-sleep. But we live in Southeast TX and it doesn't get too cold at all. The way I do it, is to sleep in a C shape. Knees drawn up, on my side. Baby sleeps a bit higher up near my head (unless nursing). I pull the cover to my shoulder, but push them down where the baby is, if that makes sense. I don't flip flop in bed (only when PG) so things aren't generally moved. With the baby sleeping closer up by my head, the blankets don't cover them. Maybe their feet/legs (if for some reason the blankets move) but that's it. I pull my pillows as far on my side as I can and tuck them under my head.


With my 3rd, the first one I co-slept with, I had a couple times where the blankets covered her and it freaked me out. So I learned to sleep differently. I always fall asleep nursing, and wake to find baby snuggled up to my chest <3

bellyfruit's Avatar bellyfruit 07:06 PM 12-27-2013
I don't think it is dangerous at all to fall asleep while nursing and co-sleeping. That's kind of the point- to get sleep while your brain is synched up with your babe.
I use pillows and a comforter. Since the baby and I are snuggled at breast level against each other I don't see how she could suffocate without me being aware. You'd have to smush the blankets into her nose and mouth to prevent breathing. Just having them over her face will not suffocate a person.
kitteh's Avatar kitteh 09:42 PM 12-27-2013
I have a 4 yr old and a 6 month old whom I'm currently tandem nursing, and we have a Family Bed. I have fallen asleep while nursing, and both girls usually fall asleep while nursing. I've even awoken in the middle of the night to find that baby latched herself on while I was sleeping--I usually wake up because the sensation of nursing works its way into my dreams, lol. I wear long sleeves to bed and don't let the sheet or blanket get above waist height by tucking it in at the bottom of the bed so that it is extra short and only reaches as high as our waists. That way there is no way I can inadvertently pull anything over baby's head.