Co-sleeping or what I like to call it ‘Family Sleeping’ does not have to be taboo, I doesn’t have to be crowded, and it most certainly doesn’t have to be ugly :) Our son is three years old and sleeps in our king size family bed, when we found out we were expecting baby number two I was trying to think of how to make our family bed work for all of us. None of us were ready for Leo to sleep in his own bed and definitely not his own room. We asked Leo if he wanted to sleep on the other side of daddy (we have a platform bed and it is 13 inches off the ground) so baby could sleep in the middle and he wasn’t happy with that idea either. After lots of thinking and researching I came across Peaceful Parenting’s blog post about co-sleeping and decided that a side car co-sleeper with Leonidas’ old crib would be perfect for baby number two. I would be able to breastfeed him during the night and slide him safely into his own space.
My husband had to move the room around a little to make the bed and crib fit along one wall since we have a small room, but he made it work. He moved the bed and assembled the crib next to it, he then lowered the crib mattress to the lowest setting (since our bed is so low to the ground) and our mattress was lower than the crib mattress so he got to work of removing our mattress and the slats and raising the mattress.
While re assembling the bed and slats the mattress (that was propped against the wall) fell on him.. hahaha. I know I’m so mean for laughing and posting the picture, but he wasn’t hurt and it was funny.
After he got the evil mattress back on the bed it lined up perfect with the crib mattress. Our bed is on a rug and extremely heavy and low to the ground so it doesn’t move, we pushed the crib and bed against the wall and it didn’t budge. Some people use tie straps to attach the beds or bungee cords to secure it. He then pushed the crib mattress up against our bed mattress and rest it on the lip of our platform bed. The is a rather large gap on the far side of the crib but that is normal when side car-ing a crib. There are many ways to fill this gap safely. You want to make sure you use something firm enough that the baby will not suffocate or get stuck in the gap and something soft enough that the baby will not be injured. High density foam is what I wanted to use but it was kind of expensive, I waited for it to go on sale at a local craft store but it didn’t. I wanted to finish the bed before baby arrived and decided to use a twin size egg crate foam mattress pad from joann’s with a 40% off coupon. The gap in the crib was 6″ wide 6″ deep and 51″ long. I measured long ways 51″ and cut the access off, I then rolled the foam and tucked it in the gap nice and tight. It fit perfect and nothing moved :)
The crafter inside of me couldn’t stand putting a sheet on the mattress and then cover the foam with pillow cases or blankets, so I came up with a solution. I decided to take one of our sheets (they all match) and make a custom crib sheet that would fit over the mattress and the padding. So I started googling for a tutorial on how to make a crib sheet. I found one and got to work. :) The first thing I did was take all of the elastic out of the king size sheet (I recommend not being impatient and finding or purchasing a seam ripper if you ever need to remove stitches) so that I could re purpose as much as possible. The tutorial I found was measurements for a regular size crib sheet so I had to do some math, and added the 6″ gap to the width of the sheet pattern and tried to follow the directions the best I could. (I am so bad about following directions) The sheet came out great and fit on the mattress and padding perfect. Making a matching custom sized crib sheet was a success. But that wasn’t enough for me.. It looked to plain and didn’t add anything to the room so I came up with another idea. Matching decorative crib bumpers. I had Leonidas’ bumper set still so I decided to remove all of the fabric and recover them using my king size pillow shams. I also had to take all the stitches out of the pillow shams so that I didn’t waist any fabric. The bumpers that I had were for a full crib so they were to long for the partial crib I had. I measured the three side and cut the bumpers to the appropriate length. I then measured all the pieces of the pillow shams and pinned it all. I used the excess pieces and made ties to secure it to the crib sides and started sewing it all together to fit the bumper padding. When it was done I sewed three vertical lines in the bumpers so that it would fold in each of the corners and one in the center. This helped it fit tighter to the crib sides.
If you would like some information on the benefits of co-sleeping, here is a link to Peaceful Parenting’s ‘Baby Sleep Resource Page’ that I found helpful. She has a large list of articles, books, and subscriptions about the subject.
Happy Family Sleeping :)