Adventures in Co-Sleeping

Before our little bundle of joy arrived, we were very aware that we wanted to co-sleep. What we weren’t aware of, however, were the many different ways that co-sleeping can happen and how difficult it would be to find a method that works for us. I googled it, of course, and found this lovely contraption:

The Original Co-Sleeper
The Original Co-Sleeper

So, I thought I had the whole thing figured-out and didn’t really concern myself with it. Then, our boo arrived. I don’t know if you can conceptualize it (I certainly couldn’t) but a newborn is TINY compared to that thing. Yes, the beloved co-sleeper I had been so excited about, became that thing. I wasn’t going to put my baby in that thing. It was so big and he was so small. So the first few nights, Luca slept like this:

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I would have loved to have Luca sleeping on my chest but because I was still recovering from the birth it was too difficult for me to sit-up while maneuvering him for breastfeeding. Most newborns sleep for long stretches the first two nights, which is what Luca did, after that however, we needed a new plan. Caleb wasn’t getting the best quality of sleep and he started to fear that he might fall into too deep of a sleep and Luca could fall off of his chest without him knowing. So, I panicked because of course we still wanted him in bed with us but I couldn’t put him on my chest either. So we figured that I could have him on my side of the bed. The only problem? We needed a special co-sleeping guardrail that would prevent Luca from falling out of the bed. So I told Caleb that we absolutely NEEDED this device NOW. My husband, being the wise and awesome man that he is, didn’t argue. He went on Craigslist and found someone who was selling a guardrail about 30 minutes away from us. Ah, I sighed with relief, feeling like our co-sleeping woes were over…. Well they weren’t. The dang guardrail was HUGE! It cut I to our precious bed space AND it was really long. Again, I was still in recovery and scooting to the end of the bed to get out was not a good idea. We tried it one night. Mama was not happy.

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We took this pic just to give you an idea of how long the darn thing is.

Luckily, we had received this amazing device, called a Snuggle Nest, at our Baby Shower. We were planning on using it just for traveling purposes but now it seemed like the perfect solution…

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The Snuggle Nest

Unfortunately, after about two weeks, even The Snuggle Nest got old. Want to know why? Check this out:

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That’s our Queen sized bed with the Snuggle Nest in between where Caleb I would lay. Not the most comfortable thing for us. Plus, I missed snuggling with my hubby. So, finally, during week four we attempted the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper again. This time we threw the Snuggle Nest into the Co-Sleeper. Sounds silly, I know, but hear me out. First off, he slept really well in the Snuggle Nest so I thought it would make the transition easier for him. Also, the Snuggle Nest has a cool little device with a light and white noise. The light worked perfectly for breastfeeding or just checking on him at night. It’s not too bright so it wouldn’t wake-up Caleb but it’s bright enough to help me do what I need to do.

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Luca in the Snuggle Nest, in the Co-Sleeper. I promise we don’t let him sleep with Mickey on top of him like that!

Well, then that got old because the Co-Sleeper was so large that it was difficult for me to get in and out of bed considering I was still recovering down there. So, finally we decided to brave real bed sharing. Now, I wish I had the resource that Caleb had found, but I don’t. Caleb read that it’s best to sleep like this:

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Us pretending to sleep for the pic.

That positioning prevents the boo from accidentally being squished by us. This strategy gave us a little more room in the bed than when we were using the Snuggle Nest. The only problem? Every night, when I woke up to feed Luca, I’d find that Caleb had unknowingly scooted up to the top of the bed during his sleep. Ugh. This freaked me out because I thought that maybe he could accidentally roll on Luca during his sleep. Men (and everyone else) just aren’t built with the same baby radar that Mamas have. It’s fascinating. So anyway, now we’re back to having Luca in the co-sleeper, this time without the Snuggle Nest. It’s a bummer because I don’t wake as easily to feed him as I did when he was in bed with me so he will get kind of upset. Also, he doesn’t seem to be as comfortable and will wake, when wet or whatever, easier.

It seems to me that the ideal solution would be to have him in bed with us, on my side only, using the bed rail. Oh, and having a King sized bed. That seems perfect… Anyone have that setup? I’d love to hear about it! Until then, we’ll just have to keep switching it up until we find what works best!

An ad for the Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper. Don't they look so happy?
An ad for the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper. Don’t they look so happy?

Update: We didn’t get a King Size Bed (yet) but we did move Luca into the co-sleeper next to me and it’s been awesome. Now the hub and I can get our cuddle on but I still have quick access to the Boo for breast-feeding. Now that he’s quieter and sleeping longer, let me tell you, life is good.

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12 thoughts on “Adventures in Co-Sleeping

  1. We were planning on co-sleeping, with 2 options ready before birth. We had the pack-n-play with the co-sleeper top and a snuggle nest. The night my baby was born she slept on my chest just like your little Luca and hubby and this arrangement went on for a few weeks. At first working great but she would move during the night and wake me up. Now she sleeps in my arms on either side on me. I am not afraid if rolling over on her. She nurses a few times a night and neither of us really wakes up. I know this can’t last too much longer as her weight us causing my arms to fall asleep. Maybe the snuggle nest is our next step.
    Sleeping is so personal and I respect every parents choice but I personally can’t imagine being woke up by my daughter’s cries and walking down the hall to her crib and having to settle her down, nurse her in the rocker until she is asleep and walking back to bed. That process is too upsetting for my little one and too much work for me.

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  2. We had the arms reach mini and it worked perfectly for the first five months (until he started sitting and standing up). The size of it was perfect and he slept well in it. He would often start the night there and end up in bed with us. I wasn’t worried about rolling over on him because my mommy sense were super heightened back then. We also have a queen bed so just bed sharing isn’t a good option since my sleep suffers. When he outgrew the cosleeper we bought a crib and pushed it up against our bed with out the fourth side attached. This is the perfect set up for us. My son actually prefers to sleep in his own crib and when he wakes up to nurse he just scoots over to me. It makes our bed feel extra huge too! Hope you find a solution soon.

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  3. […] Posted on February 21, 2013 by Jaclyn The following is a guest post for the series, “Speak-Up Mama!” The purpose of this series is to help Mamas have more compassion for one another regarding controversial decisions. In light of that, feel free to comment but please play nicely or your comment will be removed. Thank you to Crystal for her willingness to share her story! SLEEP. Another very important and often extremely sensitive parenting topic. So… here I go! When my good friend and co-mommy, Jaclyn, asked me to share our story about “Sleep Training”, my mind started to race. I thought to myself, I have so much information to share, how exciting to be apart of this resourceful and educational channel! This is a passionate topic for me, which is why I became what I call a “research-aholic”. When I found out I was expecting our son, Cameron, my extreme type A personality kicked into high gear. I knew so many parts of parenting could not be planned or scheduled- but with my husband and I both working full-time jobs and owning a business, sleep needed to be as consistent as possible for us to function on a daily basis. I also knew I had a limited amount of time to implement something before my maternity leave would be up. The pressure was on!  It was time to do my homework and decide what would be best for us. I quickly hit the book stores and online articles for any piece of information I could get my hands on. I was totally obsessed, neurotic as ever. I picked the brains of parents around me, what worked for them, what didn’t? Why? I heard stories about everything from co-sleeping, independent sleeping, CIO-Cry it Out Method, sharing a Family Bed. I wanted to soak it all up and put a game plan together for OUR family. Because let’s be real, there is no perfect formula for any two families- that’s the beauty of life. I will be totally honest, I was completely and utterly overwhelmed and totally confused after gathering up all of this information. How do I know what will work best for us? And like most things in parenting- I took a deep breath and figured it would just be a process of elimination for us along the way. Aren’t most things in life that way? That is when I realized, in my opinion, sleep training isn’t for training the baby, it was for training the parents. Out of everything I heard and read, I related the most to the Baby Whisperer collection by Tracy Hogg. I decided to blend parts of her method of knowing how to follow your babies cues with the EAS cycle; first baby Eats, then has Activity, then Sleeps, and a ”Every 3 Hour” feeding schedule recommended by a midwife. I came to the conclusion that what you do during the day seemed to be what effected you the most at night. After my son was born, I decided that I would start slowly implementing OUR sleep program. BUT, and this was very important— implement our program following his cues. We started the 3 hour feeding schedule as soon as he was ready, and it worked like a charm. Our son would store food during the day with the consistent feeding schedule and quickly started cutting out night feedings at around 6 weeks. This is when we started our transition from his bassinet in our bedroom to napping in his crib in his room, so he could get to know this new space. Was this easy? NO WAY. I cried, A lot. But, in those first few weeks, I realized that Cameron wasn’t keeping us up at night, we were keeping him up! He was a newborn, a very light sleeper and anytime we made a peep, we disturbed his rest. I decided to see if moving him into his own space, would help him to rest more peacefully. That was the first night he slept through he night, 8 HOURS. If you have survived a newborn, you know just what 8 straight hours of sleep means to a new parent. This was an important step of our sleep journey that I felt re-assured we were making the right choice for our family. I also came to the conclusion that the sleep environment played just as big of a role in restful sleep as the program (I use program because I don’t like the term; training). Items like white noise, clothing that smelled like me and a sleep sack called the “Woombie” were the combination of what worked for our son as a little one. I am confident in this because we followed Cameron’s cues on what worked best for him. Over time, we have changed our sleep program as he grows and develops and provide him with the structure and tools to do so-that is our role. Has this sleep journey been perfect? No way. It’s a journey, our journey. Cameron is now 23 months, still sleeping 10 hours at night with an afternoon nap during the day. For me, a big part of the sleep program success is seeing his independence, his ability to feel totally safe, confident and comfortable in his own space, where mommy and daddy get to rock and sing him to sleep at night because we want to, not because we need to. I am proud of this. I hope you enjoyed our sleep journey. Hugs, Crystal Crystal, Louie, & Lil’ Man Cam! Please comment below instead of Facebook so that the author can see your comments too! It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there so I’m sure any encouragement would be appreciated! If you are interested in being a part of this series, please contact me at mrsjsnyder@yahoo.com If you liked this post, you may also like: -Stretch Marks, Jelly Belly and a Noisy Newborn -“Why We’re Kinda Vaccinating Our Baby.” -Adventures in Co-Sleeping […]

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