where should the baby sleep?
October 25, 2011 2:23 PM   Subscribe

Is there a good source to neutrally explain various baby sleeping options?

I'm pregnant with our first child, due in May. (Happy ending: this was me.)

It's early yet -- 10+ weeks -- but due to pre-existing health complications, I've already had two ultrasounds. So maybe it's just barely time to start thinking that in about 7 months there will be a screaming poop machine in the house!

The question: are there any good OVERVIEW books about sleeping arrangements? It all seems so fraught and controversial. I just want a decent, and decently detailed, presentation of the options. If it matters, I think full-on co-sleeping is almost certainly out. The real issue is starting with a crib in our room and moving it to a room down the hall in 4-6 months, vs. starting out with the crib in a separate room. Your own answers welcomed, as well as book or website suggestions.

I know there are a million baby questions on Ask, including a million baby-sleep questions, and I've read a lot of them. But none seem to address my question.
posted by kestrel251 to Health & Fitness (33 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I think a big part of the reason you're not finding what you want is that it really depends on all of you - on your family and on the kid him/her self. What works for my family might be a nightmare for yours, and vice versa.

We (as a society) have gotten this idea that there is one RIGHT way to do all these things, and if only we make the right choices we'll be ok -- or, worse, that if we make even one wrong choice we'll somehow mess things up forever. It's just not true.

I did not think "full-on" co-sleeping would be an option for my family. We started with my son in a co-sleeper, intending to move him to his room when he was about 6 months old.

The reality of the situation is that I have a child who struggles with sleep, even when he was an infant. He is much more secure when snuggled up with us. Also, after a couple of sleep deprived months of night-nursing, I discovered how to breastfeed him while lying on my side - he would nurse and nap, nap and nurse, and I could actually (sort of) sleep (which kept me from losing my mind).

In the end, my son is five and I still co-sleep with him a few nights a week (by his choice). My best advice to you would be to have a flexible set up (I agree that the side-car style co-sleeper is a godsend, especially if you're concerned about having a newborn in the bed with you) so you can make adjustments as you go, and do what's right for you, your child, and your family. And there is no way (yet) to predict what that will be.

Congratulations on the baby!
posted by anastasiav at 2:34 PM on October 25, 2011 [9 favorites]

Best answer: This book (From the Hips) isn't just about sleeping, although it is much more about baby care and becoming a parent than the pregnancy focused cover would suggest. It is the only book I've ever found on pregnancy and babies that covers a range of options without pushing one. It does a lot of it by quoting different parents about how they felt about their choices and why they made them. It's a really nice affirming, realistic book to have around for all aspects of pregnancy birth and baby care I think.

I have my own views and have made my own decisions (that the nearer the baby is the more sleep we'll all get, basically) and I don't want to derail this thread, but I am curious why "full-on" co-sleeping is out for you. I also just want to note that the common US option of having the baby in a separate room from day 1 is very, very, unusual globally. In the UK, which is pretty close to the US on most baby matters, having the baby in a crib in the same room is medically recommended and not even considered a form of co-sleeping.
posted by crabintheocean at 2:38 PM on October 25, 2011 [5 favorites]

Yes, what Anastasiav said. I didn't think long term co-sleeping (as in longer than a few weeks) would be for us either, but it has been wonderful for my sanity and a really wonderful time for me to reconnect with my child when we are apart all day. Dr. Sears is an advocate for co-sleeping (which doesn't necessarily mean "bed sharing"), and offers comprehensive how-to guides in most of his books. I liked "Attachment Parenting". Dr. Sears' ideas about sleep are quite balanced, unlike what some would have you believe- he advises doing what works for everyone in the family. Some products you might look into are the Arm's Reach Co-sleeper, the Amby Hammock, and side-carring a crib.

As a side note, I have a degree in developmental psychology and sociology, and wouldn't you know that co-sleeping (and attachment parenting too, though it wasn't called that) was discussed in my classes as being "the right thing to do" to promote independent and healthily attached children/adults. It leads to more sleep for mom and a greater chance of establishing a successful breastfeeding relationship. Studies have shown that the incidence of SIDS is lower among babies who cosleep safely. It's what our ancestors and people in other cultures have done for thousands of years. Please don't dismiss the idea out of hand.
posted by LyndsayMW at 2:57 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

My first, now two months old, is in a cosleeper that is next to our bed and we use as a crib. I never intended to let him sleep in our room, but once he was born I wasn't comfortable having him in another room. I would recommend getting one, or a pack n play and saving the receipt so you can use it if you want it and take it back if you don't need it. Also, and not that you asked, but he's only recently started sleeping well in it, the first 6 weeks were crazy.

My experience has been that what I read and thought I would want has not been how things have worked out - so I would recommend getting extra things from places with good return/refund policies and keeping the receipts. I wish we had done that - it would have been much easier to return things via Amazon than needing to run out with a newborn. Good luck, and just keep in mind that what really matters is a healthy happy baby, and not what other people or books recommend.
posted by cestmoi15 at 2:58 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

My only advice is be willing to compromise on what you come up with and try different things. We did a co sleeper, then didn't then did half a night in a co sleeper then a full night through in her crib, then spent half the night holding her. It all depended on what we thought would work best given the situation - travel, sick baby, other life changes, etc. The key was being willing to compromise with each other as partners and be willing to change things up when stuff wasn't going as planned.

With that said, we found a co sleeper by the bed the easiest to get by with initially, for when we did put her down.

posted by iamabot at 3:05 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Man here: Wish I could help with a good source, but when my wife was making this decision (she breast-fed and wanted sleep, so she opted for baby-in-bed), as far as overviews go, all seemed to be just variations on the proximity of a hopefully-sleeping child to its hopefully-sleeping parent, with one's choice of feeding methodology acting as essentially the sole variable. One size does not fit all.

(Also, I think the idea of a entire furnished-in-baby-looking-stuff, separate infant's room is mainly propped up by sellers of baby stuff and perpetuated by new moms' Facebook photos. It's a pretty novel approach to forming babby.)
posted by resurrexit at 3:09 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Great Expectations: Baby Sleep Guide by Sandy & Marcie Jones covers the reasearch and addresses the many approaches without necessarily advocating one, as I recall.
posted by kittydelsol at 3:10 PM on October 25, 2011

You end up doing whatever gets everyone the most sleep, pretty much. And it varies by the personality of the child, for sure. I think it ends up being a mix of options for most people.

We've always done both co-sleeping & baby in his/her own bed in our room. Some of our babies ended up in their own bed more; some less. One of mine preferred to sleep in his car seat when he was tiny (co-sleeping made him restless and wake up a lot). And they mostly want to sleep *on* us for the first month or so, so there's a lot of sling and chest naps.

In my opinion having the baby in another room entirely is too nerve-wracking for me - I wouldn't get good enough sleep myself from worrying if they were okay. (I still instinctively check for breathing, that never went away!) And it's much more convenient for nursing if they're right there; my husband gets the crying baby and hands her off, I roll over and start nursing, and we all drift back off to sleep very quickly. But I like them having their own bed to sleep in - it's good for naps and it's good for me to get at least some sleep with space to move around; I sleep better. With my oldest I didn't mind the sharing so much; he was a polite sleeper as a baby. As I've had more children, I value my un-touched time SO MUCH since I don't get a lot of it.

Basically, as with all things parenting-related, you consider what you think will work best for your family before you have the baby - then you have the baby and you work it out on the fly. So be prepared to be flexible.
posted by flex at 3:16 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Nthing what others have said about being flexible. Each baby is, indeed, a special snowflake. We had not planned on co-sleeping, but our first made that clear that's what *he* wanted, so we rolled with it. Eight weeks later he made it clear he wanted to be in the bassinet. It's funny how babies can't talk, but if you pay attention they absolutely can communicate. Just be willing to roll with the punches, and you'll be fine. But if there are any bright-line no-no's for you, it's good to be clear on that ahead of time.

I have found Ask Moxie to be a fantastic resource on sleep questions, among other things. Specifically, this:

There's only so much a parent can do to influence the way a baby or child sleeps, so you can stop feeling either guilty or smug right now.

Following from that, don't believe the "bad habit" hype. Think about it: If you had to switch job schedules so you slept a completely opposite schedule, you could do it if you had a week or two to make the switch. And you're a full-grown adult with years of sleeping experience and full-blown preferences. Babies are way more flexible, so they can certainly make a switch in sleeping styles/locations/times/etc. You just can't expect it to happen overnight. But given a week or two, you can make changes.

Therefore, in the first 12-14 weeks of parenthood you should take your lead from Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary. If your baby only sleeps on your chest with his/her head wedged up into your neck*, do it if you can sleep that way. If your baby only sleeps in the swing or sling or Amby hammock thing or car seat or car or front carrier or laundry basket or between you in bed or holding onto the cat's tail or on the bathroom floor or in a tent in your backyard, do it. If you have to run the hairdryer, clothes dryer, white noise machine, "La Vida Loca" CD, or any other noise, more power to you. Whatever gets the maximum number of hours of sleep for the maximum number of people in your household, that's what you should do. And when anyone asks you how your baby's sleeping, just lie and say everything's great.

posted by ambrosia at 3:25 PM on October 25, 2011 [7 favorites]

Oh, and I forgot to add that it all seems fraught and controversial because often people think what works for them and their family and their babies' personalities is something that can be extrapolated to everyone. Also since raising a healthy, happy child is important, people invest a lot of themselves into the parenting choices they've made, and feel it reflects on them, that it's part of their identity; and it does and is, because people do judge you by how you're raising your kids and how your kids behave.

But you're going to be the best judge of what works for your family, and you're going to be the one most invested in and most affected by your choices, so do what works for you at that time. You'll have good reasons for what works for you. You care, and that's important, that's going to guide you well.
posted by flex at 3:25 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I just have the one kid (thus far - I am due quite soon with #2) but if there is anything I've learned about my own kid and from my friends' experiences, it's that the stuff (sleeping, eating, functioning) in the first 12-16 weeks? It so depends on the baby. Sometimes what works for the oldest kid in one family doesn't work for the next one, even if the parents are firmly committed to co-sleeping, or not co-sleeping, or whatever.

I would have a solution that would allow you some flexibility so that you could always change it up if you needed to. I have this co-sleeper, which you can attach to the bed or you can freely detach it and use it as a bassinet. (Do note it comes in bigger sizes, which wasn't really an option for us since our bedroom is pretty small). It has wheels on it, as well, so you could even wheel it out of your bedroom and into the baby's room if you wanted to, or you can just keep it in your bedroom but not attached to the bed.

What I ended up doing with my daughter is attaching it to the bed as a co-sleeper, and about half the time I would put her in there and the other half I would hold her in the crook of my arm while we both slept in the bed, thinking that if she did roll out of my arms, she would land in the co-sleeper. (My husband is an extremely deep sleeper and neither of us were comfortable putting her between us).

So - it really depends. I wouldn't make any decisions right away, and I would prepare to be flexible about whatever the solution ends up being. Some babies do better apart from their parents; some babies do better. Whatever results in the most sleep for everyone is what you'll want to do, but you won't know that until the baby gets here.

Congrats and good luck!
posted by sutel at 3:25 PM on October 25, 2011

We started out with our son in bed with us, and then gradually moved him to a crib in his own room when he started sleeping for longer periods (4 mos or so) and it seemed like everyone was waking everyone else up.

I found this book helpful only for dealing with infant sleep issues but also with getting him to take a nap on his own. But, like everyone has said, the snowflake conjecture holds here; our son is a great sleeper, and this approach fit with his temperament.
posted by chbrooks at 3:58 PM on October 25, 2011

+1 for didn't plan on co-sleeping, ended up co-sleeping. And my pediatrician is down with it. We have tried moving on to other arrangements, but so far my baby (10.5 months) is not ready to sleep without a parent within touching range.

It's ridiculous, the baby has his own room, with a pack n play in it for sleeping in, and he has never spent any time in his room except for diaper changes. Man plans, God laughs. Don't get too committed to any one solution.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 4:02 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, and as far as books go... they all have an agenda, it seems to me. I personally am probably most in line with Sears, though he seems to me to be the most devout agenda-pusher of them all. Weissbluth and Ferber are the CIO guys (they blend together in my mind which probably isn't fair to them) but some of their stuff makes sense. I forget who talks about sleep cues but that rang really true for me. Pantley didn't seem to me to have an agenda, but the stuff she wants you to do (keep a sleep journal, really?) was just so beyond my capability.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 4:13 PM on October 25, 2011

On the flip side, I planned to co-sleep and had a bassinet and everything, but my daughter wasn't having any of it. She was loud and restless, but we learned REAL QUICK that she was deeply asleep as well, and I was jumping up to tend to her needs when she just wanted to be left alone. Made us all crazy. So swaddled and into the other room she went, and we never looked back. She's 2.5 now, a great sleeper (but still noisy!) and self-soother and all-around happy kid. So keep an open mind, and do whatever works for y'all.
posted by nkknkk at 5:06 PM on October 25, 2011

Best answer: No Cry Sleep Solution seemed very non-judgmental, to me (I'd ignore the rating there - it's artificially low because someone who didn't understand the concept voted 1* twice).

We had a mini-co-sleeper (get the full-size if you've the room!) and it was just the ticket. There was some ability to be separate without freaking her either of us out and it felt so much safer than anything else we tried. We eventually also figured out side-nursing, too, and that saved my sanity.

I was pretty sure I wouldn't do full on co-sleeping. I'm now a full on co-sleeper. As in, now that she's a hale & hearty one year old, she sleeps with me every night and her crib is mostly used like a playpen or lounge.

Based on the advice in NCSS, the goal will be to transition her into her own space starting when she's around 2 (I'm not romantically partnered with her dad, so I don't need to reclaim any "couple space") using a blend of approaches from NCSS and other resources.
posted by batmonkey at 5:07 PM on October 25, 2011

You won't get an unbiased viewpoint, everyone is going to have an example they push.

What worked my my wife and I was this:

First three months, baby slept in room with us in a crib. The crib could open on the side so my wife could get the baby without getting out of bed.

After three months, we moved the crib into the baby's room and she slept in there. We took turns getting up to feed. When it was my turn I used expressed milk or formula and sat in a rocker in the baby's room so my wife could sleep.

Can't remember when we did the Ferber thing to get her to sleep through the night, but a baby's room made it much easier.

Worked the same way for girl #2, but complicated by girl #2 waking up girl #1.

They are 15 & 13 now and see to have been spared any damage from not sleeping in our bed. They do love a good snuggle still and there are plenty of times with four of us on the bed watching a movie.

Congrats on the baby. Go see movies and eat out a lot now. You won't for a while once baby kestrel251 arrives. ;)

My last advice is Trust Yourself. You are hard-wired to be a parent. Do what YOU feel is right and don't concern yourself what others do.
posted by Argyle at 5:08 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was going to say exactly what rabbitrabbit said regarding the books all having an agenda. Sleeping is often just part of an overarching programme for raising the Perfect Child. Which kind of sets you to up to believe that if your 6 week old doesn't sleep through the night you are a terrible parent and she will almost certainly fail at everything in life.

I have two recommendations: (1) Don't buy baby books. Any local public library will have a ton. Mine did, and I saved wads of cash. Then, when you hit the part in a book that makes you roll your eyes/gag/throw it across the room, you don't have the $25 insult added to the injury.

(2) Eschew orthodoxy! I can see you are leaning that way anyway, with your asking for a broad overview, but it's really something that can be hard to keep in mind. It's so easy to get sucked into one philosophy or another and I think it does you a great disservice in the long run. And the rigid adherence to one guru or another can kind of sneak up on you! I spent a lot of time on parenting boards, one parenting board in particular, in the early years, and while it seemed really great and supportive at the time (and I'm still in daily contact with many of those women) it was also kind of group-thinky in a way I didn't fully absorb until recently. We were hard asses! Looking back, I can see a few important moments where I was led astray by trying to offer The Best to my kid, rather than seeing what was actually going to work for us, at the time, in that place.

I just typed out then deleted what I did for sleeping arrangements because there's no way your kid is going to be exactly like mine. What will work for you will likely be a whole combination of things. In the 8 and a half years my kid's been alive, there have been a lot of different sleeping arrangements. In the first two years, I found that just about everything lasted six weeks: sleeping through the night, waking every hour, the good, the bad. Even when I found a really fantastic solution, six weeks later she'd be a whole other baby and I'd have to change gears to catch up with her. Luckily the same thing went for the bad weeks.
posted by looli at 5:33 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

First, congratulations on the baby! What a time it is.

Second, let me tell the story of sleep in our household, with the disclaimer that this will not be relevant to you for a couple of years. By then you may not be asking and I may not be reading, so here goes.

We were headed down the (in my experience) traditional path of bed-time battles. Tuck kids in bed; 15 minutes later 1+ are up asking for [drink, snack, story, monster eradication, etc.]. It was growing increasingly frustrating and sometimes we'd loose our tempers at the little angels.

I noodled on the issue for a while until I realized two things. 1) kids don't automatically know what "going to bed" means and how to do it, and 2) what the darlings really wanted was time with us.

We started staying in the girls' bedroom settling them in, holding, snuggling, back-rubbing, until they were actually asleep. If they got up after that it was a legit need that we had to address.

In the beginning this effort required 30+ minutes/night. The hope was that over time (as in years) this would taper off which thankfully turned out to be the case. Eventually they were completely capable of putting themselves to bed without any fuss or drama.

I remember those nights as a great bonding time with my girls.
posted by trinity8-director at 6:08 PM on October 25, 2011

You've gotten lots of good advice here, so I'll add another voice to the chorus of "do whatever works, and try keep an open mind about everything".

To give a more concrete example: while expecting I figured I would have him in our room, for ease of nursing and because it's just what you *do* with a newborn. But within a couple of weeks he was in his own room - similar to nkknkk's baby above, he was a LOUD sleeper and we'd disturb him with our fussing over him thinking he was awake and hungry. His room shares a wall with ours, we could hear him when he fussed for real but didn't get freaked out by every little squeak and sigh.

Something that I sort-of knew was that sleep improvements - whatever approach you choose, or even if you choose no approach at all - aren't linear, meaning the situation will probably get better, then regress a bit, then get better, then regress a little again, over and over and over. But what I didn't realize was that different approaches can work at different times with the same kid. So really, just be prepared to be flexible and you'll be fine! Congratulations!
posted by shrieking violet at 6:08 PM on October 25, 2011

Best answer: nthing the co-sleeper (I had the mini co-sleeper, kinda wish we'd gone for the big one) and need for flexibility

My oldest had reflux, so for awhile we set the swing up in our room and he slept next to the bed in the swing -- he could NOT sleep lying flat, and that felt safer than any other option.

Both my kids started out in the cosleeper next to me and moved gradually into their own rooms as they got older. We did do some in-bed cosleeping with my daughter when she was a bit older - 10-12 months or so - because she went through a big phase of night waking.

This site at UM is pretty comprehensive, and links out to other good info about safe sleeping.

Congrats on the pregnancy!
posted by hms71 at 6:42 PM on October 25, 2011

I think we did everything at one time or another. Things that worked for us a 1 week didn't work at 1 month, then didn't work again at 3 months and then didn't work again at a year. So we've at various point done co-sleeping (bed sharing), co-sleeper adjacent to bed, crib in bedroom, crib in separate bedroom, and crib with side removed for toddler access. As others have said, we ready to be flexible and what you expect to be your way may not be your way or at least your way for very long.

Maybe there are other books that cover this but, and I am NOT suggesting the methodology he advocates, Dr. Ferbers book has a really great chapter on the science of sleep. It was an invaluable read to me in that it explained sleep cycles in infants, toddlers, and adults and knowing a little bit about how sleep cycles work was incredibly helpful to me in figuring out how to meet the needs of my child at every stage of her babyhood.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:59 PM on October 25, 2011

I came in to recommend Ask Moxie as the most neutral, non-judgmental source of information on infant sleep I have found anywhere, but ambrosia beat me to it.

But I also want to emphasize that no matter how much you read beforehand, you are REALLY going to want to play the sleep thing by ear. Reading up now is great, but be prepared to throw all your plans/preferences out the window once the munchkin arrives. There is no One True Answer to the sleep question, and what works for your baby one week may be utterly ineffective the next week.

Congrats and best of luck!
posted by somanyamys at 6:59 AM on October 26, 2011

When I had my babies I was pretty militant about co-sleeping (family bed-style) but now they're 4 and 5, I am much more mellow, not just about the sleeping arrangements but anyting relating to raising children.

It really is whatever works for you and your munchkin.

We had the family bed the first six months and then transferred each baby to their crib in our room. When they were 2 and 3 we moved to a larger home and they each got their own room. There was no trauma at any transition point.
posted by Dragonness at 7:26 AM on October 26, 2011

So it's 2 a.m., and we decide to start sleep training. We pick up one book that we grabbed somewhere and read that if we coddle our child, he will be a dependent insomniac for the rest of his life. We pick up another: if we let our child cry, he will be an emotional wreck for the rest of his life. We throw both books across the room (literally).

This NYT article cites research saying that pretty much any technique works, as long as you are consistent. It's quite reassuring.

Also, get a Miracle Blanket. It's pricey but so worth it.

posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:57 AM on October 26, 2011

Real Simple article on Parenting Sites.
Parenting sites

Welcome to being a parent; there's tons of advice, and people are passionate about their way of parenting. Your family has to find its own way.

My son's dad was opposed to co-sleeping, and I'm very sorry we didn't co-sleep, but you're a family, and everybody's needs have to be addressed. Yours, too.
posted by theora55 at 8:44 AM on October 26, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, all. I only marked a couple as best answer, largely for the links, but this has all been helpful.

Those of you you used a co-sleeper that attaches to the bed -- how does it attach securely enough that there is no issue about the baby rolling into the crevice between it and the bed? And what about pets? I'm pretty sure one of our cats would be all over a co-sleeper.
posted by kestrel251 at 11:12 AM on October 26, 2011

There's a plastic anchor attached to straps that go under the mattress so that the anchor catches against the mattress/box spring and keeps things snug. You do have to adjust it from time to time (mostly when changing sheets or after moving co-sleeper around). We never had an issue of separation between the sleeping surfaces.

YES, pets will try to adopt it as their own. You can put a sheet over it (which they will inevitably jump into and collapse, but it keeps fur and other detritus out of the sleeper itself) or one of those crib tents (generally mesh over pvc) or, like one of my friends, a window screen from the hardware store (they will also jump on these things but it seemed the resulting confusion led to less curiosity). That's just if the baby isn't in it, though. It's recommended by most sources that pets be kept out of the sleeping area when parents and baby are asleep (since parents can't manage interactions/contact and baby is defenseless).
posted by batmonkey at 12:47 PM on October 26, 2011

We have this co-sleeper. It works a different way from the ones that attach to the side of the bed. Babies outgrow it fast, but it's cheap and portable and means we can have baby between us rather than having to pick a side. We also have cats and we just keep them out of the bedroom all together with a cheap baby gate.
posted by crabintheocean at 1:22 PM on October 26, 2011

We never did the tethering of the co-sleeper. It sat snugly next to our bed and by the time the baby was rolling around and there was any concern about falling btwn it and our bed, we were pretty much done with needing the co-sleeper.

Also, although our cat manages to worm her way into our bed every night, she's never once tried to get in the co-sleeper or the crib. So it's not a given that your cat will want anything to do with the baby's sleeping areas.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 2:18 PM on October 26, 2011

Congratulations! Our evolution of sleep has been: she hated the co-sleeper but loved the Moses basket, swaddled. She slept in the basket in the co-sleeper for the first couple months until she outgrew the basket. Then she was fine in the mini-bedside bassinet/co-sleeper. We also had a "snuggle nest" for sleeping in the bed between us but we didn't like that as much as it took up a lot of room. She slept on or between us on some nights when she just wouldn't settle. However, she seemed to sleep best swaddled and in the co-sleeper. Once she was about six months she graduated to a crib in the other room, still swaddling. That's where she sleeps now, fairly easily and unswaddled at 10 months. I didn't breastfeed after 3 months. And bottles were always in the rotation. I had a c-section and was never comfortable trying to side-nurse.

So, you can see how many variables there are: baby's temperament, you and your partner's needs and temperament, breast feeding, whether your baby has reflux or colic, c-section issues, etc.

I just flipped through my Sears, "The Baby Book" that I think is pretty good in that it covers a ton of bases without seeming too didactic about anything. And I agree with those who said: check stuff out from the library! I've checked out dozens of books on pregnancy, infant care and breast feeding. Some I put in the return pile a few pages in for their writing style or assertions and others were great! Most of these books are only valuable for a few weeks or months. Also, borrow from friends! Every one of the sleeping things I got was either a gift or a hand-me-down. If you can, do that!
posted by amanda at 2:24 PM on October 26, 2011

oh! should have mentioned that - also used Snuggle Nest. fantastic invention! used it slightly off-label for safer side-nursing. amazing travel sleep solution, too.
posted by batmonkey at 5:04 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

We found the tether straps for the cosleeper worked well - but I had my husband put it all together, and he's good with that sort of thing. Just make sure it's really tight to the bed.

We didn't have a cat at the time... eek! Hadn't thought about that. Maybe set it up early and put some of that plastic hall-runner stuff in it, upside down so the pointy parts are sticking up? That way if the cat jumps in, they'll jump right out, and maybe by the time baby comes the cat will have lost interest?
posted by hms71 at 7:18 AM on November 19, 2011

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