Co-sleeping seems to be getting a bad rap in the news with the Milwaukee Health Department’s campaign against co-sleeping and the recent cases of babies dying while co-sleeping, but I have always been an advocate of co-sleeping. Our family has found co-sleeping to be the perfect fit for us.
We didn’t come to co-sleeping as a plan or by way of drawing a line in the parenting sand. We came to co-sleeping because our first-born would always fall asleep when I nursed her (on me). I would try to put her into her bassinet but as soon as she was removed from my warm body or from her place in bed next to me and laid on the cool sheets, she would wake up and cry. Read more…
Looking for a modern bassinet or co-sleeper and only finding icky, frilly wedding cakes on stilts? Yeah, I hate most of what I saw out there in the marketplace, too. I thought I’d round up the best of the modern bassinets and co-sleepers I found.
But first, a little bit about co-sleeping. While doing my research I found so many articles for and against co-sleeping that I nearly gave up on the idea of making a decision, but then realized that no decision was in fact a decision so I trudged on.
The argument that stood out for me in favor co-sleeping was that, by sleeping with your infant you are teaching them how to sleep. Until they arrive, your body is their body; so connected are mother and baby. When they come out, you realize they are not still a part of your body (believe me, you realize this) but they don’t. It takes them a long while to understand that separation…(see separation anxiety). In keeping with this line of thought, then, by modeling sleep behavior you in essence are teaching your baby how to sleep. Generations of parents across cultures have done so. Not until recently (relatively speaking, say within the last 200 years) have parents removed the infant from their own bed and put them into a separate room. Now, I could go on about the pros of co-sleeping, but this is the one that really felt right to me. This and the fact that, once my baby joined us, I was so intent on watching her every breath (to make sure she was still taking them) that I felt better with her next to me.
But, to be fair, the argument that putting a baby in his or her own room fosters independence also resonated with me. I mean, afterall, we are raising little adults and I’d like to think that my child will be independent when she grows - not an emotionally stilted dependent being. Plus, independence is integral to the Montessori method that we choose to raise our daughter by, so I felt conflicted about the decision.
However, the essence of Montessori, to me, is to teach your child when the child is ready to learn that lesson. Since an infant is still mentally attached to the mother, I figure that co-sleeping is the appropriate lesson for that age and teaching my child how to sleep by essentially modeling the behavior seemed like the thing to do. I could be rationalizing here, but it felt right.
Which leads me back to finding a good co-sleeper. Since we have a queen size bed, the one that fits in-between the parents was out - simply not enough room. Of course, there is always the time honored practice of laying the baby down on the bed, but I was afraid of smothering and excessive rolling over that that was out as well.
What I found fits into to two categories: the co-sleeper and the bassinet. One actually attaches to the bed, making a tiny bed for the baby but still next to the mom (or dad). The other can be placed anywhere, either next to the bed or simply in the room. I loved the Nest-Bassinet: simple, elegant. And, expensive!
Not bad, but I was leaning more toward having my baby sleep next to me so that I wouldn’t have to be continually getting out of bed to check on her. Here are the co-sleepers I liked the best.
My favorite by a mile: Cully Bella co-sleeper from Italy. Unfortunately, it’s not in production. But just look at it!
Finally, hiding in the depths of the internet I found the Baby Bunk. Not too expensive, simple, and elegant. The perfect combo for me. Here is my bed with the bunk we bought and one with my baby in it…
All three of us loved it. We each had our own space to sleep but we were all cozy next to each other. I didn’t have to get out of bed in the night to check on my baby and we all slept as good as can be expected those first three months. Really, with just a few hiccups, we slept pretty much right on her feeding schedule: at first every three hours we woke, then every four, then we made it to six (what a night!) and then we were getting through from about 11 pm to 7 am. We used the bunk for roughly 4 months, until our little climber started to sit up and try to pull on the edges to investigate the other side…then, she went straight to the floor bed (see post).
Co-sleeping was the exact right decision for our family and using the baby bunk was perfect. Hope you find what you’re looking for, too.