How we "sidecarred" our crib, making cosleeping and night time parenting work for us!
The following is how we turned our crib and adult bed into a side car arrangement.
Each family should decide for themselves what sleeping arrangement is best and safest for them and their children.
This is what works for our family.
Please excuse typos and poor punctuation...I do most of my page work while NAK (nursing at the keys)
There are many benefits of cosleeping Babies sleep better, Mothers sleep better, Breastfeeding is easier, It's contemporary parenting, Babies thrive better, Parents and infants become more connected, Reduces the risk of SIDS
"Children who share sleep with their parents are actually more independent than their peers. They perform better in school, have higher self esteem, and fewer health problems. After all, who is more likely to be well-adjusted, the child who learns that his needs will be met, or the one who is left alone for long periods of time? McKenna suggests that it is confusing for a baby to receive cuddles during the day while also being taught that the same behavior is inappropriate at night." More here
Why a sidecar a crib?
There are many reasons why a family may use this set up as a form of cosleeping. Not enough room in the parent's bed, or parents not comfortable with baby being directly in adult bed, for us, I loved the idea of cosleeping but having the a small baby near my husband isn't safe due to OSA ( obstructive sleep apnea) so this was the best of both worlds for us. When our toddler sleeps with us he sleeps between mommy and daddy, but as for our baby, there were genuine saftey concerns about his daddy rolling on him and not being aware (due to his OSA) or getting tangled in daddy's CPAP hose ( which provides continued air pressure to keep daddy's air ways open and breathing.)
So this is what we did!
We started out with an ordinary crib, with just one side removed. ***If you are using a drop-side crib, remove the side that goes up and down.
We attached the frame of the crib to the mattress using bungee cords. I hooked them to the slats of the crib and ran them under our mattress and hooked them on the other side to the mattress handles of our adult size bed. This keeps the two mattresses from moving apart. We also have the crib pushed tightly between the wall and our bed.
See the following photos
Next we added "high density" foam we purchased at the craft store, with out it there is a gap between the crib mattress and the crib railing when the crib and adult mattresses are pushed together (from having the crib side removed) this ensures the crib mattress is pushed TIGHT against the adult mattress. We've heard of others using folded blankets and bumper railings and pool noodles as well- I like the "high density" foam best because it's very firm. I left it bare for the photo but as you will see in later photos I wrapped in tightly in a sheet.
Our next step may not be necessary for some....Our crib only has two height settings and neither brought the mattress level with our mattress...there are many ways to get the two mattresses level... from taking off the casters on the adult bed to adjust the height, some lay blankets, foam or plywood under the baby mattress to lift it up and some cribs have many heights so there isn't an issue at all. We were about to go with a layer of the "high density" foam (comes in many different widths) under the crib mattress when we realized we had a second crib mattress that was a hand me down from the boys' cousin so we used two mattresses and the height came out perfect.
This picture is with just one mattress.Way too low!
Here (below) with two mattress the height is just right ( flush with the adult mattress and the foam on the side)
Now baby has a place to sleep that is "separate" but still close to mommy. We will be able to enjoy the many benefits of co-sleeping and not fear that Steve's sleep apnea ( or more specifically his CPAP) will be a danger to baby.
The pad David is sleeping on in this photo, I made as a mattress protector to soak up diaper leaks and mommy milk leaks too. It also covers the seam of the two mattresses that my boys seemed to like to sleep on- it's not a necessary addition but it is convenient
Night Nursing is a breeze!
Just have to throw this in for giggles.....
What Davey did with poor daddy's CPAP when he got a hold of it!
photo taken on a vacation
The Little One pictured in the photos above is our second son, Davey (now 6 yrs old) we now have had two more bundles of joy to take their turns in the sidecar crib...
After the baby arrived, the sidecar provided more space for our little ones, so we could co-sleep with baby and toddler, until our toddlers were ready to make the transition to big boy beds.
Sammy sound asleep beside his mommy, right where he belongs!
Check out FAQ, Tips and photos from other sidecar families here
Also check the photo album
Below are some of my favorite links, I hope you find them helpful!
read here for cosleeping saftey
For more information on cosleeping and children's sleep issues, check out the following links
My favorite site Kellymom.com has lots of info on infant sleep and cosleeping
A MUST READ!!!
Excellent Article written by pediatrician Jennifer Rebecca Thomas, MD, FAAP, IBCLC
by Jennifer Cobrun courtesy of The Compleat Mother
By Elizabeth Pantley, author of Gentle Baby Care
By Alvin Powell The Harvard University Gazette
Pillow Talk: Helping your Child Get a Good Night's Sleep
By Paul M. Fleiss
Mothering Magazine Issue 96, September/October 1999
Why are nursing babies often night owls? by Kathy Kuhn, RN
"the sidecar crib emerges...as the most effective post-natal ward sleeping environment for infants in optimising both breastfeeding initiation and infant safety" Durham University Research News article
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