My youngest has just turned 4 and I’m only becoming aware of co-sleepers now. Boy how I wish I’d known about these when my children were babies! I would have definitely gotten one.
It’s hard to look back now at how clueless we were about babies before we had them… but here’s our fumbled history of sleeping arrangements:
We did no research. We inherited a wooden cot which we proudly plonked in baby’s room and bought a moses basket because that’s what a baby’s bed looks like in nursery rhymes right? We sighed contentedly at our picture perfect set-up, blissfully unaware of the practicalities.
So Baby no. 1 arrived. He slept well in the moses basket but it was tricky putting him back in without waking him up. We didn’t even have the good sense to get the stand so I was laying him back in to the basket on the floor which was a killer on my back…what a dope! I actually don’t remember it being awful though, I think I just didn’t know any better, or else I’m blanking out the trauma…
He grew out of the moses basket pretty fast but was still breastfeeding round the clock and we for sure weren’t ready to move him all the way out to the nursery so… he slept in our bed. Because we had a standard size double bed this meant my husband had to sleep in the spare room. And a lot of months passed before eventually we moved him out to his cot when he was fully weaned at 13 months.
For Baby no. 2 we upgraded to a king size bed and got the Graco Travel Lite crib which sat beside the bed. She napped in it during the day and at night I managed to occasionally successfully lay her back in it after feeds but a lot of the time she slept with me in our bed. Of course by that time baby no. 1 was a toddler and suffered from night terrors so he crawled in a lot. Spare room again for hubby! There was a lot of bed hopping in those days. And then Baby no. 3 arrived…
So looking back, how much easier would a co-sleeper have been? Answer: A lot!!!
What is a co-sleeper?
A co sleeper is a bedside crib that is open on one side to allow for reaching over to soothe your baby during the night or take them out for feeding. Effectively, you get to lie side-by-side with your baby while also following safety guidelines of having him/her in a separate crib.
If you are breastfeeding your baby the advantages are obvious. You can reach over and take your infant as soon as he wakes and slide him back after feeding. If you have a C-section, then getting in and out of bed is going to be painful for a while. The co-sleeper will be a life-saver, allowing you to feed and attend to your baby with minimal movement for you both.
Most co-sleepers last until baby reaches 9kg, around 6 months, or until baby can pull themselves into an upright position. Some are lightweight enough that you could also use them as a travel crib. Some, e.g. the Chicco Next2Me and the Arms Reach, attach to the bed via straps. Others like the Snuzpod and Halo are free-standing, which means you could carry them downstairs if you wanted baby to nap while you work. Most are height adjustable also so they are flush with your mattress.
Choice of co-sleepers
With zip-down side panel, mesh sides and removable/washable linings. There are 6 adjustable height positions on each side. You can also incline the crib to help congestion during colds or reflux. The bedside feet are also adjustable for height. Attaches to the bed with straps.
Read more about the Chicco Next2Me co-sleeper.
Three modes of use, co-sleeper, bassinet and playard. Big, but it will last your baby until they are ready to move to their own bed. Also suitable for twins.
Beech wood frame with see-through zip-down mesh wall, lift-off rockable bassinet, good for napping around the house. Storage shelf underneath. Attaches via straps, height adjustable (mattress height 35-57cm). Lasts 0-6 months. Comes with a Little Green Sheep natural mattress.
Read more about the Snuzpod co-sleeper.
Sidewall lowers, also lockable. 360 degree swivel action, especially useful for C section moms – makes it easier to get out of bed without having to scoot down to the bottom. Light, can move around the house. Includes night light, soothing sounds, vibrations and nursing timer. Recommended for up to 5 months.
Read more about the Halo co-sleeper.
5. An in-bed bassinet
If you have a king size (or larger) size bed you could think about an in-bed option like the Swaddle Me co-sleeper
or the Snuggle Me organic cushion
6. A DIY solution
Further reading on co-sleeping
Read what Dr. Sears has to say about co-sleeping.
Read more about co-sleeping from the Natural Child Organization.