Co-Sleeping Options: Bed-Sharing, Co-Sleepers, Mattresses, and Crib Sidecars
Have you been researching co-sleeping options since you first saw those two pink lines? Or are you a total newbie to the idea of sharing a bed with your child? It can be an intimidating prospect when you finally get to that first night home. Knowing your options is the first step to deciding if co-sleeping is right for your family and if so, which method will work best in your house. Here are four popular co-sleeping options.
This is what comes to mind for most people when they think of co-sleeping: parents and baby in the same bed. Many cultures bed-share quite safely and successfully. But you will need to be very aware of safe co-sleeping guidelines with this method. Modern comforts like soft, cushy mattresses, down pillows, and warm comforters are all no-nos. Bed-sharing is safest when neither parent smokes and the mother is breastfeeding.
Manufacturers have not missed the opportunity to capitalize on the re-popularization of co-sleeping. There is a decent selection of commercial co-sleepers currently available from big box stores and online. Arm's Reach makes a version that attaches to the side of your bed. There are also in bed co-sleepers that keep the child in his own space while still right beside the parents. Commercial co-sleepers can be a great option. However, if you're planning on co-sleeping past those initial newborn weeks, you may want to look at another option. Co-sleepers can be rather pricey and have a relatively low weight limit that babies usually exceed after a few months.
Mattresses on the floor
Co-sleeping parents often move to this setup as an intermediary step once the baby is old enough to roll. Once a baby becomes mobile, a regular height mattress can pose a substantial fall risk if the baby were to roll off the edge. Put the parents' mattresses on the floor and a twin mattress next to it (also on the floor up against the wall in a corner of the room). This way, you get closeness and ease for breastfeeding while also getting the child used to his own space. Bonus: the mattress can move with the child when it's time for separate rooms.
The crib sidecar
Maybe you planned on having your baby sleep in a crib, but colic had a different plan. Or a well-meaning relative gifted you a crib that you want to use. In a few situations, a sidecar is a particularly convenient choice. When you sidecar, you'll need to make sure that the crib and parent mattresses are extremely snug together. The crib and bed frame heights need to match, as well. This sometimes takes some plywood, rolled up blankets or dense crafting foam to achieve. But if you're handy, it usually only takes a few hours to setup a sidecar. Keep in mind that this option also only works until the child is rolling. After that, you'll need to switch to something lower to the ground for safety.
Have you considered co-sleeping options?