Where should baby sleep at night?

One thing that really had me worrying when I was pregnant with Eva was where she should sleep at night when she finally decided to come out. I wanted her to sleep next to my side of the bed, but at that time we lived in a small and rather old apartment where there was really only one way to place the the furniture to make room for all Eva’s stuff (maybe babies don’t take up much space, but their stuff sure do). This meant that there wasn’t room for a cot next to my side of the bed if we wanted to be able use our balcony and changing table. Instead we had to think of a different solution. And I’m glad we had to because we ended up with a solution that I think made night times feedings a whole lot easier, but also made me – and Eva I think – feel more secure.

Thoughts on co-sleeping

We had talked about co-sleeping, that is having her sleep in the bed with us, but decided against it. We both thought our bed was too small and the madras too soft. And I just couldn’t get the idea out of my head, that one of us might roll over her in our sleep. Rationally I know we wouldn’t, as we are both fit, don’t drink or smoke or are heavy sleepers, but if that thought first creeps into the back of your mind I think it’s hard to ignore. We then contemplated a babynest, so she would be safe from our turning and twisting, but again thought against it as our bed felt to small for it to be comfortable for us.

The solution instead seemed to be a small bedside crib, that we could fasten to our own bed. And I know many of you probably heard of this before, but this was a new thing for us. And it really exited me! That was until we realized that even small bedside cribs were way too wide.

With the hormones raging in my body it really upset me. I kept reading about all the benefits of having her so close at night – about not having to get up at night to feed her, the lower risk of SIDS as her heart rate and breathing would be regulated by ours and about how we would all be able to sleep more peacefully (I’ve later learned that Eva is not a silent sleeper and I have more than once woken up by her kicking me or recently with her butt in my face. And yes, she needed a diaper change).

Turning a crib with wheels into a secure bedside crib

The solution turned out to be a bedside crib – or a sidecar if you will – with wheels, so we would be able to move it to make a passageway to the changing table. In reality we ended up with just enough room for us to squeeze by it, so the only time we really needed the wheels was the day we moved.

However finding the right bedside crib was still difficult as most bedside cribs were still too wide. We found one from Troll with a side that could be slid up and down and wheels with brakes. Unfortunaly it just didn’t come with any means for attaching it to our bed.

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Photo borrowed from lekmer.dk

To make it more secure we fastened it to our bed with straps that went all the way around our bed and under the mattress of Eva’s bed and around. It worked much better than expected as the height was easy to adjust so it stayed put and fit snugly against my side of the bed. 

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We forgot to take pictures of crib setup, before moving Eva into a cot. This is however how we’ve fastened her new bed to my side of the bed. With the crib the straps went all the way under Eva’s mattress and not just around the sides like in the photo.

The mattres that we were recommended to buy with the crib was however too small when we had the side down. It fit nicely into the bed when all the sides were up, but when the one side was down there was a gap between my mattress and hers. And that was not going to work. We were afraid she would either fall down in the gap or if we filled it with something like a towel that they would come loose and she would suffocate in them before she she was able to turn her head (when it comes to Eva we might have a tendency to work in worst case scenarios).

We could have made (read: ordered) a customized foam mattress, but that thought first crossed our minds months later. At the time it instead took a close friend of mine to figure out what to do. She dropped by a few days before my due date and decided to measure the gap. And two days later she had made a foam “noodle” and sewn a washable cover for it. And it was a perfect fit! We decided the noodle should be on the side away from the bed, so we didn’t risk it coming loose. And to just be even more on the secure side we placed a small cotton blanket under under Eva’s mattress and up on top of mine. Just to make sure that if bed moved a inch or two there would not suddenly be a hole between the two matress, but a blanket. 

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Best photo we have of the setup. On the left is the noodle with the blue and white fabric, in the middle Eva and her matress and on the right you can just see a bit of the blanket that goes under Eva’s mattress and over mine.

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A closer look at the “oh so simple, yet so brilliant”-foam noodle

Then another problem arose. The mattress was not meant to overlap the sides of the bed, but to fit snugly into a little frame. This meant that when we placed the noodle next to the mattress, the mattress would now be placed over the frame thus resulting a slope (which my pregnant mind of course made out to be a huge 45 degree drop, but in retrospect maybe was more of a 5 degree drop). My dad, who is a lot more handy than us, fortunately was a bit more cool headed and cut us a board from a leftover piece of wooden board he had lying around. He made it the height of the frame and the length and width of the mattress making it fit perfectly into the frame for the mattress. This made sure that the mattress and noodle was in a perfect horizontal line.

I’m really grateful to have friends and family who were willing to help – even without us asking. Otherwise I’m not sure we would have finished the setup before Eva arrived and that would have been very stressful.

A variation of co-sleeping I would definitely recommend!

Even though we’d decided against co-sleeping Eva still ended up in our bed every night during feedings. And quite often I would fall asleep breastfeeding and she would sleep with her mouth close to my breast with my arms securely around until she woke up to eat again. I really loved this closeness and would not have been without it, but I’m still glad I had the opportunity to put her in her own bed. Especially the times when I started to become numb in my arm from lying on one side. 

If I have to recommend a setup for anyone who wants to co-sleep, but feel too nervous about it, the sidecar will definitely be my advice. It does however come with an experation date – at least the one we have. It worked really well for almost 6 months, but around this christmas she began rolling in her sleep and is starting to figure out how to pull herself up from a lying position and we felt the crib was getting too dangerous. We have therefore upgraded her to a cot. It is however still attached to my bed with one side down, but our madresses is not level anymore. Far from it.

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Our current setup

We’re still trying to figure out whether this is the best solution or if we should just put up the other side or maybe something completely different. Maybe the next move will be moving her into her own room, but that will require her not to wake up two-four times at night, if I’m not to go crazy. 

 

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