Cosleeping has been a big part of our lives since the Grasshopper was a baby, and it seems especially relevant to me now that Cricket has declared her intent to sleep on her own like a big girl. So let’s rewind time a bit and I will show you how we sidecarred a crib so that Cricket could sleep safely with us.
I’m sharing what worked for our family, but you may find something else works better for yours and that is okay. There are so many roads to wonderful parenting. If you do decide that cosleeping is right for you, please research carefully to ensure you are following the guidelines for safe cosleeping. This post is not a recommendation for one type of sleeping over the other and it is your responsibility to make sure that the choice you make is made with safety at the top of your mind.
After doing our research on the risks/benefits of cosleeping, we decided that sidecarring a crib was the right choice for our family. Sidecarring a crib simply means attaching a crib to the side of the bed. For us, this allowed me to sleep with Cricket without having her on the same sleeping surface as myself, which felt safer than having her on the bed with me.
We explored commercial cosleepers, and they all looked really nice, but they all seemed pretty small, and it felt like she would outgrow them quickly. In the end, we created our own cosleeper out of a cheap convertible crib that we purchased at a big box store, and it worked beautifully for us!
We assembled the crib as you would a toddler bed with one side off, but instead of placing the mattress on the lowest position as you would for a toddler, we placed it at the highest position.
The trouble is, we have a tall bed with a tall mattress, so it still wasn’t quite high enough.
Lucky me, a young person I know had recently gone to college and I remembered that she had purchased risers to help lift her bed up so she could store things underneath. With a set of risers and a thick layer of high density foam under the crib mattress, we were able to get it to the right level.
To keep things from wobbling or falling over, we used industrial strength bungee cords to attach her crib to our bed. These had to be tight (and I mean TIGHT) so that the crib would be stable.
Still, we needed to bridge the gap between our mattress and hers. Because it was only a space of a few inches, I shifted her mattress over the gap and placed a second piece of high density foam behind her mattress to tightly fill the space left between her mattress and the crib frame.
It’s important to note that we made sure any gaps were either securely covered or tightly filled. Babies are wiley and it’s easy for them to wiggle and get their heads stuck in things. There’s a reason why crib slats are required to be no more than a certain distance apart, and it’s important to always keep an eye out for gaps.
This method of cosleeping was really helpful for us. Having Cricket in bed with us without actually being in the bed helped me sleep more and helped ease those frequent nighttime breastfeeding sessions.