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Finding The Right Co-Sleeper For You

by Amelia on November 6, 2008
category: 0 – 1 year (baby),Feeding,Pregnancy

I had a friend recently email me asking what I thought about the different co-sleepers available and if I used one.  Then I thought it might make a good post!  Even if you are having your first, second, or third baby you might be on the hunt for a new or alternative sleeping arrangement rather than having the baby sleep in a different room from yourself.  Regardless of your parenting philosophy, many parents find that having baby nearby, sharing their bed, or right next to them is easier for night time feedings and those middle of the night diaper changes.Co-sleepers are similar to pack and plays in the way the look but they attach to the bed, giving the baby a special space of his/her own.  The co-sleeper is level with the bed which allows easy access for the mother or father to scoop up the baby when he/she is ready to eat, needs a diaper change, or just needs some attention.    mini-co-sleeper.jpg

The Arms Reach Co-Sleeper has become rather popular for moms who are planning on breastfeeding and want easy access to their babies at night.  I asked a friend who has the Mini Co Sleeper and she raved about it. Her husband is a heavy sleeper and she didn’t feel comfortable having the baby in bed with them while he tossed and turned at night.  She also knew that she would sleep more comfortably if she had the freedom to move and change positions without worrying about waking up the baby.  She mentioned that the co sleeper was also helpful right after the baby was born because she had a c-section and it allowed her to only have to sit up in bed to feed the baby rather than have to get up and go across the room or into another room to get her baby before feeding him.  She said it was very helpful for her recovery and healing process.  Not only that, but it also helps her get through the whole feeding, diaper changing ritual faster which results in her getting a little more sleep.  And every mom with a newborn is thankful for as much sleep as possible! The only drawback she said about the co-sleeper is that in order to get out of bed you have to either get out on the side the co-sleeper isn’t attached to or slide down past it and then get out of bed.  She likes the mini co-sleeper because it takes up less room and you don’t have to go as far down to slide out of bed.   The Arms Reach co-sleepers are portable and break down similarly to a pack and play which make them appealing for travel as well. And some take up less room when broken down.       snuggle-nest.jpg

Some parents like the feeling of closeness created by having the baby in bed with them. An alternative to bedside co-sleepers is something called a Snuggle Nest.  A Snuggle Nest creates a place for the baby in your bed and provides some boundaries so pillows or blankets don’t get too close to the baby’s face. I have another friend who used this with one of her babies and she loves it. She likes being able to hear the baby breathe at night.   She used it her second baby until he started rolling around a lot and getting out of his swaddle.  It became too hard for him to stay in the little nest. She is also using it for her third baby and still loves it.  At night when the baby wakes up to nurse she slides her down from the Snuggle Nest and nurses the baby and then slides her back up after she is done.  It makes it easy to doze while the baby is nursing and easier for her to go back to sleep since she didn’t have to get out of bed.  The other plus my friend mentioned to me is that since the baby is so close by she can listen for whether or not the baby is due for a diaper change.        

We have always had our babies in the room with us for the first several months–our first had the shortest stay in our room–only about 31/2 months.  He slept in a pack and play near our bed.  Our second and third slept in bed with us until they were 4 months old and then moved into a bed (still in our room) until they were close to a year old.  One was moved to a pack and play, the other to a crib.  I liked not having to get up and go to another room to get them for feedings and I liked that they were nearby in case I needed or wanted to check on them at night.  I had contemplated getting a co-sleeper with our thrid but decided to see if I still wanted on after he was born.  I thought about borrowing one from someone, but I didn’t know anyone at the time who had one laying around.  We just did what worked for us as a family. Although I enjoyed the babies sleeping with us or near us, I was ecstatic when I finally had my own space and room back. It was so nice to be able to read in bed and not worry about making any other noises that might wake up the baby–if you know what I mean :) .

Where did your baby sleep after he/she was born? What worked for your family? What didn’t work?

6 Responses to Finding The Right Co-Sleeper For You

  • Comment by Amanda
    November 6, 2008 @ 11:29 am

    Annabelle slept in our room just a few feet from me in a pack-n-play. My husband would get up in the middle of the night and bring the baby to me at night for feeding. So I didn’t have to get out of bed and he felt apart of the feedings. Also, he liked that he could just go right back to sleep.

    For my second one I really want to get a bassinet instead of the pack-n-play, because the p-n-p started sagging in the middle when our first was three months old.

    She slept in our room for the first 4 months. When she could sleep longer through night and didn’t need the 4 a.m. feeding we moved her to her crib, which is in the room right next to ours.

  • Comment by Dawn
    November 6, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

    My story is the same as Amanda’s, though I did all the getting up. If I needed something, like a diaper, Dave was on it, though. I just wanted to say that our in-room p & p was a smaller travel-size one. It had the portability of a p & p but it looked like a sweet little bassinet, which made me happy. Maybe the smaller size is what made it not sag in the middle.

    It sounds crazy, but I miss those quiet nights of feedings with my son in our room. Guess I’m ready for another one. ;)

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Melissa
    November 6, 2008 @ 7:39 pm

    Addie sleeps in a Pack and Play in our room. After being in the NICU for four and a half months, I wasn’t quite ready to put her in her crib in her room right away.

    We started with her right next to the bed. Adam and I take turns getting up with her every three hours, and the person responsible for her next feeding has been sleeping on her side of the bed in case she needs comforting before it’s time to eat. That way, we each have a chance of getting 5-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep between our turns of getting up.

    I don’t know how you ladies could feed in your room…I have enough of a time keeping Addie awake while she is eating; I think if I was in bed, I’d have a hard time not falling asleep.

    I’m starting to feel more comfortable about her having a little independence, so the Pack and Play is now on the wall at the end of our bed. We will probably start using the crib in her room for naps during the day once Adam and I go back to work and my mom is here taking care of Addie.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Heidi
    November 10, 2008 @ 10:18 am

    We own the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper and have used it with both kids. It’s definitely a great product and served it’s purpose with us, but I prefer using a bassinett since those are smaller. I never liked crawling to the bottom end of our bed to get down since the co-sleeper is so large.

    My hubby and I had trouble getting sleep when both kids were sleeping in the co-sleeper. Every movement or sound they make would wake us up. Caleb lasted 2 months before we had to move him to his own bedroom, and Ava lasted 1 month. Once we moved them out of our bedroom, my hubby and I were sleeping significantly better!

  • Comment by Amelia
    November 10, 2008 @ 5:24 pm

    Melissa–I fed the boys in our bed in our room–sometimes I would lay my head back and fall asleep while I waited for them to finish nursing. Ewan was bottle fed for most of his babyhood and we would feed him in a rocking chair in his room after he moved out of our room. I have a hard time not falling asleep in the middle of the night feeding babies–breast or bottle fed! It is hard!

    I think parents should do whatever works for them–baby in room, baby in own room, baby in parents bed, baby in their own bed nearby. Whatever makes the parents comfortable usually makes everyone happy.

    Heidi–I know that once my kiddos were out of our room I felt like I slept better too.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Smalltowngirl
    November 12, 2008 @ 11:54 pm

    This is great info- thank you! We are trying to figure out what to do with #3.

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