The Sidecar. How to Set it Up. It’s Easy!

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.

How to:

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.

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Crib height at lowest setting; approximately 1 foot below the top of our mattress. Works great for keeping crawlers and walkers a little more contained!

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Crib height at its highest setting. Just an inch or so short of our bed height. Easy access to mommy for little fellas.

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!!!

hfdvgyya  What is Co-sleeping? Isn’t that Dangerous?

 

MpkaaCo-sleeping is a very controversial topic even amongst crunchiest of folk. There’s also confusion around the word cosleeping itself. You may have also heard of the terms bed-sharing or room sharing adding further to the confusion.

Co-sleeping merely means sleeping close to your baby. Whether that mean the same room, the same corner of a room, or in the same bed. This is the broadest of the three terms.

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The co-sleeping “controversy” is mostly limited to the western world especially here in the US. According to Dr. James McKenna, specialist in mother-infant cosleeping in relationship to breastfeeding and SIDS, “For the overwhelming majority of mothers and babies around the globe today, cosleeping is an unquestioned practice”. He states that in much of southern Europe, Asia, Africa and Central and South America, mothers and babies routinely share sleep. In many cultures, co-sleeping is the norm until children are weaned, and some continue long after weaning.

We are taught here in the US that placing baby on their back in an empty crib to sleep is the safest way for our babies to sleep in order to lower the risk of SIDS. However the issue is that science just doesn’t back up this idea. In the 1970s and 1980s, the rate of infant deaths per 1,000 live births was 1.5; it’s now 0.5. Placing baby to sleep on their back drastically reduced the risk of SIDS, however, there are still 3500 SIDS deaths in the US each year.

The question is are some of these 3500 annual SIDS deaths caused by cosleeping? New research published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in October 2016 states that, based on research, bed-sharing is positively associated with increased SIDS risk while co-sleeping in the same room is negatively associated with SIDS risk.

The AAP also listed recommendations for reducing SIDS risk in order of importance:

  1. Back to sleep
  2. Sleep on firm surface
  3. Breastfeeding is preferred
  4. Infant should sleep on a separate surface BUT close to parents in same room for the first year of life
  5. No loose sheets or toys while sleeping
  6. Use pacifiers
  7. Avoid smoke exposure
  8. Avoid alcohol and drug exposure
  9. Avoid infant overheating and from covering head
  10. Pregnant women should obtain regular prenatal care
  11. Immunize baby according to AAP and CDC recommendations
  12. Don’t use sleep wedges or positioners
  13. Don’t use cardio respiratory monitors to attempt to prevent SIDS
  14. Supervised awake tummy time for baby to strengthen neck

The main issue surrounding bed sharing is the lack of information regarding how to safely bed share. The following are important tips to  keep in mind if you choose to bed share:

  1. Sleep on a firm surface with tight fitting sheets
  2. Keep covers low on the bed and away from baby
  3. Dress baby with the same amount and thickness of clothes as you will wear to sleep. If you are warm in a tee-shirt and shorts baby will be warm in the same. It’s important to keep baby from overheating.
  4. Keep baby away from pillows
  5. Keep baby near mom and away from dad. Mom is more aware of baby’s presence even while sleeping.
  6. Do not drink or do drugs and bed share
  7. Use a safe method to keep baby from rolling off the edge of bed (i.e. toddler bed rails, side car crib etc)

Personal experience:

Before I had my baby I had never even heard of co-sleeping or bed sharing and naturally expected to lay my baby to sleep in her crib and her sleep blissfully through the night after a little practice. Well… that didn’t happen.

I had a pack n play that I received at my baby shower set up with the included bassinet intending for baby to sleep in the bassinet by my bed after coming home from the hospital.

Important note: I was breastfeeding at the hospital but started exclusively pumping as soon as we got home because baby’s latch was not perfected and had caused a great deal of pain and damage to my nipples by the time we left the hospital.

I tried getting baby to sleep in her bassinet but she wouldn’t have it. At most she would sleep 10 minutes and then cry for me to hold her. At that point I was desperate for sleep I knew she wouldn’t sleep in her crib and only wanted me to hold her so I laid slightly reclined in my bed propped up with a couple pillows holding my 7.5 lb baby asleep on me. Lying chest to chest with her little head under my chin and my arms wrapped securely around her we finally slept…amazingly! This continued for a couple weeks. I kept trying to see if she had warmed up to the idea of sleeping alone in the bassinet.. nope (I don’t blame her haha).

During the day I was trying out the Leachco podster, an infant seat lounger that lovingly envelopes baby in an adjustable support. Baby really enjoyed the way it kept her snuggled but she wasn’t lying flat so that she could see what I was doing. I cautiously decided to let her nap in the podster. I had heard positioners and props were bad but this thing was made perfect. Baby couldn’t wiggle to press her face on any part of the lounger. She was stuck in a comfy cloud. She slept like a rock. The podster was then a permanent addition to our pack n play bassinet. This setup worked perfect for us until she reached the bassinet weight limit at about 3.5 months when we started bed sharing.


Leachco Podster Sling-Style Infant Seat Lounger, Sage Pin Dot