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Once They Crawl, How Does Family Bed Work?

1249 Views 21 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  ryleigh'smama
I'm so addicted to family bed -- we got a crib for a day once co-sleeper got too small, and I cried all night (I cried it out!) so out the crib went.

But now my fellow is starting to crawl about -- do we need to do something to the bed so that he won't crawl off if he wakes before we do or wakes when we're not in the room?

My husband likes having small fellow in there but finds it not so comfortable, so I was also thinking a bed rail would allow small fellow to sleep on the outside -- true?

SO happy to read all these posting about family bed and know that I am not crazy!
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Hi there mama!

I'm sure other mamas will have some great ideas about bed rails, but here's what we did...

When dd started getting mobile we moved our matress to the floor. That way if she did fal out, she wouldn't have far to go! We also started teaching her to get in and out of the bed safely. Basically, we'd move her around so that her feet would go off the edge first and she'd slide down with her tummy pressing into the matress. We repeated a little jingle each time ("lead with the feet/and not with the head/that is the way/we get out of bed") and she seemed to catch on pretty quickly. We did have one "bump" but dd fell on a towel we'd placed alongside the matress as a "just in case" and that was the only time that happened.

I've found that dd doesn't like to sleep on the "outside" anymore (she prefers being in the middle where she can reach out and touch both dh and myself) but bed rails would be a good solution if your little one likes the "outside edge". With dd in the middle though she wakes us up if she tries to climb out of bed. That said, we did childproof our bedroom and put a baby gate up in the door just in case she manages to evade us in the morning!
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PS- you're not crazy at all!

Glad you're enjoying co-sleeping with your little one and welcome to the mothering community!
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Be careful about bed rails- when ds started pulling up on things he would use the rail to pull himself up on and then peer over. I was afraid he was going to fall over head first so we just put the mattress and boxed springs on the floor so that if he does crawl/fall off it's no big deal- I put pillows around the bed too.

The only time he ever crawls off or rolls off is when I'm not in the bed with him.
Co-sleeping rocks!

We also had our mattress on the floor until DS (now 3.5) learned to slide down to the floor. The other thing that gave us peace of mind was using baby monitors. We kept them at the highest volume (we could hear him breathing), and were prepared to run back to the bedroom if we heard him rustling around too much. They even have video monitors with sound if you want to actually see what's going on.

As far as a pp mentioned, DS never wanted to sleep on the outside so I've never used them.

Good luck with your co-sleeping arrangement

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We too have never had any problems whilst we are in the room with him. We do have bed rails now and Asher sleeps on both the inside and outside. He actually did before we got them too, but then he would always sleep in the crook of my arm and never roll away. We got the rails when he started to roll.

I am a light sleeper though and always wake in the morning once he wakes up and wants to move around, so that has never been an issue. But if you are a deeper sleeper, I would definitely second the recommendation that you encourage your son to learn how to get off the bed safely.

As for when we are not in the room, ditto familylove. We listen to the monitor very closely and I have come to recognise waking up and moving sounds. It can be a bit of a pain sometimes when we are trying to watch a movie or whatever to listen to the monitor that closely, but it works. Bed rails are definitely not fool proof by themselves - they only really prevent him rolling over in his sleep in my eyes.

Hope you find something that works for you and keep enjoying things.
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We've never had a problem. Our babes always slept between us, so we woke when they did. And they napped either in my arms or on the couch/on a blanket on the floor.
Mattress on the floor! It's kind of a pain, but we only had to do it for a few months before ds got big enough to negotiate a regular bed. He fell off the bed once after he started crawling the ONE TIME I went out of earshot of the baby monitor during a nap, so that was enough motivation for us.
we have always kept our matresses off of a high frame, and on the floor. We are going to put together a low to the ground frame soon. So, when our kids have fallen off (which they might do until they learn their sleep boundries)then they aren't in danger because they are so close to the ground. I usually put small pillows along the bedside as well.(non fluffy)

I never liked rails because for kids that climb(mine!!!!) they simply create a higher climbing surface. I steer clear of rails.
Woo hoo family bed!!!

I also had no trouble with the crawling phase. If my DD woke up before me (which was unusual) she would wake me up. She still wakes me up and never gets out of bed without me (just happened that way). She also sleeps on the inside between me and the wall. If I woke up first, I would just keep an eye out for her but usually she would just call for me. Now she usually just gets out bed herself when she wakes up and I am already up. I did start using a bedrail at some point along the open side when the old body pillow stopped working, but that's for when she is alone in the bed. I don't have a climber. I also taught her to how to get out of bed feet first.

If you are going to have him sleep on the outside, try for an alternative to the typical bedrail. I haven't tried it but I'm contemplating it. Others on MDC have recommended it. I currently use a long bedrail from One Step Ahead but one could argue that it does have the potential for a little one to become stuck between it and the mattress (although I've had no problems but I also put a tightly rolled blanket along it as well). I also have a newly designed bedrail that actually sits a few inches in from the edge of the mattress and is pushed down into it so there is no space for the child to get caught in. I can't recall where I got it...probably Babies R Us or Toys R Us. Both these rails will flip down when not in use. Remember that you will have to get out of bed around the bedrails if the little one is sleeping on the edge.

Aren't you glad you found this wonderful site with so many like-minded mamas? If you're crazy, we're ALL crazy!!
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Another mattress on the floor here. We did it for my dd. Now ds is nearly 6m and I'll have to do it again soon.

BTW I'm a very light sleeper, I wake at the slightest movement yet my dd at 7mo managed to fall off the bed. Got a nasty carpet burn down her nose, luckily nothing worse. Mattress went straight to the floor after that - it was a pain but it's not for long.

Also we use baby monitors for that time when babies are sleeping before I go to bed. And we use bed rails when they start rolling around. Wedged a folded up towel in the gap.

One thing to be careful of is make sure you don't leave pillows, comforters etc lying beside the bed. More dangerous for baby to fall on these (ie. smother danger) than it is to fall a little distance to the floor.
I had a bed rail and it didn't work well at all. The slightest push would make it slide out, which I don't understand because I was laying right over where the arms were.

Anyway, what I did was to use the bedrail, but I moved my dresser between the wall and the bed so at night I would open one of the very heavy and hard to close drawers far enough that it pressed on the bed rail...then since I was worried that he might somehow climb into the drawer I stuck a box in it that he couldn't climb on.

The other two slept just with me (dh had a job at night) and they slept in the middle of the bed so I would wake up before they got too close to the edge, whereas the baby was sometimes on the outside with bfing and dh in bed with us.

I also would sleep holding loosely onto their ankles and would wake up if my hand came off of it
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This was very very helpful, Mamas. And I am so happy to have found you all -- Now I am going to do family bed without apology!
Mattress on the floor, in the corner, so that 2 sides are against walls. Then DS sleeps between me and the wall. i wake up if he starts to move around.

its the hippie look
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Hazel isn't crawling yet, but I'm going to put the mattress on the floor also.
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I guess we do something a bit different. We were given a crib, so we took the side rail down and pushed it up against the bed, to make a sidecar. He either sleeps on that side of the bed, so that if he rolls, he won't fall, or between dh and I. It's worked really well.

During naps, he's either slept on the floor or I would take pillows so that he wouldn't roll off. When he a crawler I also put pillows on the floor.

We too taught him to get off the bed safely. I think it's one of the best things you can teach him. Just be sure you know when he's awake!

We've had only one mishap, and it was very odd. Ds was sleeping between dh and I, and he literally rolled over my dh and onto the floor! Scared us to death!! He didn't even wake up.

The important thing is to be careful about falling. We had a horrible incident in our county where a 6 month old fell between the bed and the wall onto a heating register. He died. Of course, the papers focused on the fact that the baby was on an adult bed, rather than on the fact that the parents didn't practice safe sleeping or the worse fact that he wasn't checked on for HOURS!!!!!!
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Bed rails scare me because babies can go right over them and have a longer fall to the floor. I can't stand having my mattress on the floor because when it was, I woke up with a nosebleed and a sinus headache every single moring. We taught DD how to safely get down from the bed when she started crawling.
These are great tips, Mama. Some ideas I must adjust for tiny NYC apartment! I love the image of the baby rolling over papa in the night -- too bad he didn't just roll up that little mountain and sleep there for a time. The other story about the baby that died is so distressing -- I guess cribs are a good choice for people who aren't willing to be there all the time. But that's the good thing about a tiny apartment -- you are always just a few feet away, even if you're in the other room.

The non-bed-rail users are quite convincing, but I wanted to try one so that I can put the Small Fellow on the outside sometimes since DH has so much trouble sleeping with Small Fellow in the middle. My last question is if any knows where to get a nice wooden bed rail. Everything I saw in the stores is crappy plastic junk, and I am a bit of an eco freak and can't bear to buy more petroleum-based products if I can avoid it.
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Oh wait I just finally looked up that snug tuck pillow one of your suggested and it even comes in organic cotton and natural latex! So I'm going to try that instead of the rail -- but if anyone knows of a wooden one, let me know anyway. I only saw them listed from shops in the UK.
we never used anything...she crawled/fell off once or twice, then she learned. Our bed is on the floor though, so fallinf off wasn't ahuge deal, plus i generall had a layer of clothes by the side of the bed to cushion any fall *shame*
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