For those of you considering trying out co-sleeping but you aren’t 100% sure you’re ready to commit (who could say no to all night snuggles), try the sidecar.
If you already have a crib the sidecar is super simple. Just break out the screwdriver and take off the front panel of your crib. This should be very straightforward for most cribs as they are designed to take this panel off for replacing with the toddler bed rail. Helpful hint: Don’t lose the screws like I did; you’ll probably need them later 🙂
Now you’re left with a 3 sided crib with a mattress. You might be a little concerned with the slight wobbliness of the 2 short sides…don’t be. Just make sure the rest of your screws are still tight and have faith! My 3 sided crib has not broken despite being swung on by my toddler many times.
Put the crib against the side of your bed with the open portion facing the bed. I have my sidecar adjusted so that the top of the crib is pushed all the way up the bed beside my pillows. This leaves no space for baby to accidentally fall out near the top of the bed. Don’t worry about the portion of the bed past the end of the crib near where your lower legs will be. Baby only crawls down there if they’re trying to get off the bed. Baby will be plenty happy snuggling with you at night. My daughter hasn’t tried to escape the bed at night.
Now you will want to figure out which height setting to use for your crib. Before my baby was a crawler I chose to keep her crib at a height that was about equivalent to the height of my own mattress. This enabled easy transfer of the sleepy head into her own crib if she fell asleep in our bed. After she learned to crawl I quickly moved the crib mattress height to its lowest setting for 2 main reasons: 1.) She was almost able to throw herself over the side rails of the crib at its highest setting 2.) She would crawl in the bed too quickly and without crying for me to pick her up for help; this made me nervous that she would escape and fall off the bed without me ever knowing. Now at the lowest height setting her crib mattress height is about 1 foot lower than our mattress top so she either cries for me to lift her into our bed (usually this happens when she wakes in the middle of the night) or has to climb up on her own (usually only when she’s lightly sleeping during the day). Either way I am 100% aware when she has transitioned to our bed. See pictures below for a comparison of the highest vs lowest crib height settings. Don’t worry if the height of the crib mattress doesn’t perfectly align with the height of your mattress. Now you will need to do 1 of 2 things: 1.) attach the crib frame to the frame of your bed using rope or tight bungees or 2.) push your bed to the closest wall so that the crib is against the wall and your bed is touching the crib. The goal here is to ensure that no gap forms between the crib and your bed. Either method will work. We use the second method; no gaps have occurred to date. Now that your crib frame and height is set up, on to the mattress.
At this point you have likely noticed the “gap”. The extra wiggle room between the crib mattress and the crib and/or your bed. Again, do not fear! To fix this “gap” slide the crib mattress so that there is no gap between your mattress and the crib mattress leaving the entire “gap” at the back of the crib. To fill the “gap” I rolled a couple extra bed sheets that I had in my linen closet and stuffed them in the crack. I have read that a lot of moms successfully fill the “gap” with pool noodles. The idea is to choose something that will be safe (not fluffy, no loose pieces, etc.) to fill the “gap”. If you’re worried that baby will be removing the “gap” filler, my baby never once removed the rolled sheets or even seemed to notice that they were there.
Good luck and happy snuggles!!!