Whether you choose to do it out of convenience or as a way to bond with your baby, co-sleeping can be a wonderful experience for your entire family. But if you've never slept with a tiny human being in your bed, the idea could take some getting used to. In the beginning, you may have some concerns about safety, comfort, and even how to make sure you can continue to have some level of intimacy with your partner after you've added someone new to the family bed. But there are little things that make co-sleeping easier and more comfortable for everyone involved.
When done safely, What To Expect noted that co-sleeping can build a stronger bond between baby and parents. Positioning your bed against a wall, and adding accessories like sleep sacks and body pillows can make your bed a little safer for baby and give you and your partner a greater sense of comfort while you sleep.
If you are introducing co-sleeping to your family for the first time, there may be some growing pains in the beginning. But with a little patience, and a few of the items on this list, your entire family can sleep a little easier.
1. Invest In A Bedside Sleeper
If you want to keep your baby close, but don't necessarily want to have him in your bed, a co-sleeper is the next best thing. Co-sleepers can attach to your bed, and give your baby a protected environment of their own to snooze in.
TRY: Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper ($190)
2. Snuggle Them In A Sleep Sack
As mentioned on Mark's Daily Apple blog, bulky blankets are unsafe for newborns, as there are risks that baby could become smothered or overheated. Instead, try zipping them up in a sleep sack that will keep them covered, without the risk.
TRY: HALO Sleep Sack ($19)
3. Build A Barricade
If you're worried about rolling over onto your baby at night, you might sleep easier knowing there was something there to stop you. As mentioned on Powerfulmothering.com, creating a barricade of books or a brush can prevent you from rolling over on to him during the night.
4. Utilize A Back Pillow
If you plan to nurse lying down, it can be more comfortable to sleep on your side, as mentioned on Hobo Mama. Place a back pillow behind you to provide yourself some support while you nurse during the night.
TRY: Leachco Total Body Pillow ($54)
5. Push Your Bed Against The Wall
By pushing your bed against the wall or a chest of drawers that won't move, you can keep baby from rolling off the side of the bed. Just make sure you and your partner are there for the side that is exposed.
6. Position Baby Next To The Mother
As Dr. Sears suggests, the baby's mother will have a heightened sense of awareness to baby's movements throughout the night. For this reason, it is best to position the baby between the mother and a guardrail or wall. Dad should only sleep next to the mother.
7. Use An Activity Mat
Because sleeping on his back is best for baby, be sure to give him plenty of tummy time during the day, as mentioned on Mommypotamus. A colorful activity mat that stimulates the senses is a great way to make sure baby's cranial bones don't form an unnatural shape.
TRY: Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Musical Activity Gym ($33)
8. Install A Bed Rail
Attaching a bed rail to one side of your bed will provide a barrier to keep baby from rolling off onto the floor. Just make sure it's made of a breathable fabric that won't cause baby to suffocate.
TRY: Regalo Swing Down Bed Rail ($20)
9. Get A Comfy Pet Bed
You may be used to having your favorite pet sleeping with you, but once baby starts sleeping with you, you will unfortunately have to give him the boot. According to the PhD in Parenting site, pets should not be allowed into your bed if you are co-sleeping with baby. So get a nice fluffy pet bed for Fido and break the news to him gently.
10. Create A Baby Nest
A baby nest is a perfect compromise between a co-sleeper and allowing baby to sleep in your bed unprotected. The contoured pillow gives baby the same comfort he would have if he were snuggled in your arms, without the danger and discomfort of sleeping snuggled up with you all night.
11. Schedule Sex
It may be difficult to maintain intimacy with your partner with a tiny little guest in your bed, but it's definitely not impossible. Schedule some of your romantic rendezvous for a time when you have a sitter or a few moments alone, as mentioned on the Alternative Mama site.