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Crib or not?


Gwenny
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I need some crib alternative ideas.  I'm on my third baby, due in Oct., and I can't decide whether or not to buy a crib.  With my first two, I rarely used the crib.  I have no clue how people get a baby in the crib without them waking up and crying.  After trying hundreds of times with the two of them, I think it's safe to say I lack this skill.  What I did for them, was put the crib mattress on the floor next to my queen mattress that was also on the floor.  Then I could nurse the baby to sleep and slide away (usually).  This time around, however, I don't want to sleep on the floor. 

 

Maybe I just had bad luck with the first two and this one will sleep in the crib?  I've considered attaching the crib like a side-car.  But with the crib attached to the left side of the bed, what do I do when she nurses on my other side?  I could put a bed rail up on the other side, but that doesn't seem the safest with a young baby.  I'm all for co-sleeping, but I worry about baby sleeping in the bed when I'm not in there.  How do co-sleepers handle naps?  What if he wakes without me hearing and crawls or rolls over the edge?

 

I know this all seems stupid coming from someone expecting their 3rd baby, but I really don't know how to get a baby to sleep.  The ONLY way I ever got my first two to sleep was by nursing or bouncing on the birthing ball.  They NEVER feel asleep on their own and spent the first year of life crying unless they were nursing.  I have the babies that are never content and nobody ever asks to hold. 

 

Maybe I ought to be asking for book recommendations instead?  Any books on how to transfer sleeping babies to cribs?  Or how to get an awake baby to fall asleep in a crib?  I won't let the baby cry, so don't recommend any that suggest it.  I already read The Happiest Baby on the Block and it's the only way I survived the first year.

 

Thanks!

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This is not the kind of thing that anyone else can decide for you, and certainly not before you meet the baby.  Maybe start with a bassinet and see how this baby reacts to it?  Maybe try putting them down before they're asleep.

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We just use pack n plays until they're ready for a big kid bed. We did use an arms reach cosleeper for the first two kids and then let them nap on it as a play yard, but full sized cribs were something we stopped using altogether. They're just a complete waste of space in our tiny home.

 

We usually cosleep in the same bed or in a pack n play next to the bed until they're sleeping through the night, then we move them into a room with the other kids.

 

We put the kids down when drowsy or after nursing. I've never bounced or rocked a baby to sleep, but I'll do it until they're just on the edge and *then* transfer them. That might not work with every kid at every stage but it's our basic procedure. Pacifiers also help once they've nursed - the sucking on something helps keep them asleep for some reason :)

Edited by Arctic Mama
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My kids weren't great in the crib when they were teeny tiny but by the time they were 7-10 months old they would go to sleep on their own in their cribs and they slept great in them. My kids both loved their crib, especially dd, she wanted to stay in hers for a long time but we had to get rid of it when she was about 3.5 because it was falling apart. She never slept as well after that. ☹ï¸

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DD15 slept in a laundry basket next to my bed. I would nurse her in bed then roll over and put her in it. That lasted until she was about three months old. After that, she moved into a crib, but I put the mattress way up. I would nurse her in the rocking chair then lay her on the mattress that was about waist high for me. Both ways, there was little "laying her down", so she generally stayed asleep.

 

I never could sleep with a baby in my bed - it took years for me to get used to having DH there.

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For grandbaby, we bought them a pack n play with the bassinet insert. Dd set it up right next to her side of the bed so it was easy to grab him to nurse, then lay him down. She gets better sleep that wway, co sleeping was for good for her. The pack n play then goes with them when they travel, easy peasy. It is big enough for him until he is old enough for a toddler bed.

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We used a crib as sidecar set up for all four of our babies. When they were really little I think I would put them back in the crib after nightime nursing. But as they got bigger I think they would often just go back to sleep next to me on whichever side they were on. DH pretty much slept on the very edge of the bed for ten years, poor guy!

 

Very rarely have I ever had a baby roll off the bed, and if they did it was my fault for nursing them too close to the edge or something. We purposely bought a low profile mattress years ago, though, so they wouldn't have so far to fall if it happened.

 

Naps, naps, naps. No ideas there. Once they could crawl off the bed if they didn't feel like sleeping I was out of luck. Not sorry to be past napping age with all my kids! You could always try a side car arrangement and put the side back on of you need to.

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You could put a mattress that is twin sized on the floor for when you need to lay with baby, then get up and sleep in your own bed that isn't on the floor.

We have a crib in the attic that has been sparcely used over the last 20 years, but the crib mattress has been used like this for all of them at some point. especially as a transition from cosleeping to their own bed. And I gave them naps on it so that when I got up I didn't have to worry about them rolling off the big bed.

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For naps, I would lie down and nurse them to sleep and then slip away if I wanted to get up.  Mine weren't wiggly sleepers as infants, so I just used a baby monitor to listen so i could hear their little noises when they first woke up and could get them before they'd roll off the bed.

 

 

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A friend told me the crib was "the most expensive laundry basket" he ever bought. I thought that about summed it up.

 

I agree with others about getting a bassinet or something really small and just waiting to see. Maybe the third time's the charm for a baby that transfers to a sleeping place. We co-slept, but we never faced the issue of babies sleeping alone in a big bed. They refused to sleep unless they were touching us.

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My babies and I cosleep in a queen sized bed shoved up against the wall (no gap at the side or head).  For naps, I just put them to bed near the wall.  It is too far to the edge for them to fall off in sleep.  I use a baby monitor, so that I can hear them wake.  I also teach my babies how to get off the bed feet first.  

 

I also adore the rock & play.  It is the perfect height to sit next to my bed.  I can take it to grandma's house or other rooms as need be.

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Hmm.  I never nursed my babies to sleep.  I nursed them when they woke up, then they had their wake/play time, then I put them down when they acted sleepy, and they'd go to sleep.  The exception was middle of the night feedings, for which they all conked out cold at the breast, I'd lay them back down, and they'd sleep till morning.  Maybe you could try changing the wake/sleep routine so that this baby learns to comfort himself to sleep from an early age.  

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We put the kids down when drowsy or after nursing.

 

This is what I did, and it worked with both of mine.  Some people advise never to nurse a child to sleep, but I always did and neither the child nor I suffered any adverse reactions.  When I no longer nursed at night, both of my kids easily adapted to falling asleep on their own because it was their habit.

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When we last bought a bed, I made sure to get a king so we'd have enough room for the baby. It is amazing :D I can put a pillow on each side of me with plenty of space in between for me to lay and nurse the baby when DH isn't there in the morning. With DH there, I only put up the pillow on my edge of the bed if the baby isn't laying in the middle. At 5 months and not yet crawling, the pillow is a big enough obstacle that she can't fall out of bed with it there (and if she was moving THAT much I'd wake up by the time the pillow falls. AND, if she falls, she'll probably be ok, especially given how many times she's already fallen before we discovered the pillow barricade.

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My children sound similar to yours in terms of sleeping.

 

For naps, baby sleeps with me (in Ergo), in the car (on the go!), in my arms (as we read aloud on the sofa), or in the rare instance of a bed nap, on a mattress on the floor. 

 

For bed, baby sleeps with me. 

 

I don't prefer this situation, but I went through two children determined to get them to sleep on my terms, and I finally gave up, gave in, and decided that I'd not fight it any longer. 

 

(I secretly hope that the children who were easy sleepers end up having some much worse difficulty as teenagers. OK, very misanthropic of me, I confess lots of sleep jealousy. As I type this, DD5 just woke up...)

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(I secretly hope that the children who were easy sleepers end up having some much worse difficulty as teenagers. OK, very misanthropic of me, I confess lots of sleep jealousy. As I type this, DD5 just woke up...)

Ah, this has been my fervent hope as well!  Every time I see a baby sitting in a stroller or car seat looking around, babbling, and happy, I get jealous.  Mine never babbled or cooed.  I adore my kids, but they were the most contrary infants. 

 

I keep hearing about these rock and plays.  Maybe I'll start with that and save the crib for later if the baby seems to be transferrable.  I did have luck getting my first two transferred to a swing once nursed, shushed, and swaddled.

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I need some crib alternative ideas. I'm on my third baby, due in Oct., and I can't decide whether or not to buy a crib. With my first two, I rarely used the crib. I have no clue how people get a baby in the crib without them waking up and crying. After trying hundreds of times with the two of them, I think it's safe to say I lack this skill. What I did for them, was put the crib mattress on the floor next to my queen mattress that was also on the floor. Then I could nurse the baby to sleep and slide away (usually). This time around, however, I don't want to sleep on the floor.

 

Maybe I just had bad luck with the first two and this one will sleep in the crib? I've considered attaching the crib like a side-car. But with the crib attached to the left side of the bed, what do I do when she nurses on my other side? I could put a bed rail up on the other side, but that doesn't seem the safest with a young baby. I'm all for co-sleeping, but I worry about baby sleeping in the bed when I'm not in there. How do co-sleepers handle naps? What if he wakes without me hearing and crawls or rolls over the edge?

 

I know this all seems stupid coming from someone expecting their 3rd baby, but I really don't know how to get a baby to sleep. The ONLY way I ever got my first two to sleep was by nursing or bouncing on the birthing ball. They NEVER feel asleep on their own and spent the first year of life crying unless they were nursing. I have the babies that are never content and nobody ever asks to hold.

 

Maybe I ought to be asking for book recommendations instead? Any books on how to transfer sleeping babies to cribs? Or how to get an awake baby to fall asleep in a crib? I won't let the baby cry, so don't recommend any that suggest it. I already read The Happiest Baby on the Block and it's the only way I survived the first year.

 

Thanks!

I had the same with ours. I put them on a floor mattress like you. You may like to look into Montessori toddler beds as an alternative. I did use a bassinet for the early months for safety reasons though.

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I always 'co-slept' and never used a crib. I tried a bassinet with my eldest and it was just too painful for me. I like the idea of side cars cot but we never used one, though we had a leaned back rocking chair type almost bassinet-type thing next to the bed for my third after 7 or so months because she moved so much and slept better [as did we!] when she was more confined before she moved to her own bed in the kids' room at just short of a year. 

 

With my eldest, we used a mattress on the floor for the first few months but after that we just were in a normal bed. I found I'd often just roll myself over to offer the other breast rather than moving them though I had little concern with them sleeping in the middle [though my wall of a partner was a good barrier  :lol: ] if I was more comfortable that way.

 

For naps...when they were tiny, it was usually on a wrap around cushion on my waist [i almost fondly remember finishing my dissertation with M curled up against me], when they were bigger it was usually in the lean-back rocking chair all swaddled up or laying in the bed with my partner who had either a book or a laptop. My eldest had a few months where a carrier on Daddy was the only way, then laying on Daddy in bed was the only way...we would change 'shifts' by him rolling O off of him and next my chest so I could nurse O back to sleep if he was disturbed in this process. The leaned back baby rocking chair was our favourite for naps. . 

 

And, at least for my kids, they are far more likely to repeatedly smack Mummy or Daddy in the face for being asleep than roll/crawl off. The number of mornings I've been woken up being poked in the eye or having a nappy butt to the face followed by giggling when I opened my eyes...

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We have a side-car crib and baby is now crawling. It makes for some crazy making weeks at first.

 

Right now I stack up all the pillows in a wall next to the crib and then listen diligently to the monitor and go up (or send a sibling up) at first sound of activity.

 

We also teach the baby to get off the bed safely but there is usually a fall or two before they really realize that it is a long drop to the floor.

 

Additionally, I put several toys in the bed so that hopefully he will just play first instead of trying to escape. Usually works too.

 

I have found that my last two babes only fell out of the bed 1-3 times the entire time they coslept. No one got really hurt in the process, just startled mostly.

 

Oh and for nursing - I can nurse from both breasts on my side. I have to lean forward a lot and it's not completely comfortable but it's good enough to get the job done.

Edited by xixstar
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My bio kids I nursed & had the transfering to crib problem with my first- big time. We wound up co sleeping a long time.

With my second, I nursed but tried to put her down awake at night & naps. It worked, but maybe she was just a good sleeper.

 

When we started fostering, no nursing allowed. For Foster babies, we swaddle really well (I use zip front Woombies which are stretchy), feed, then lay them down awake for bed & naps (from day one- our babies come right from the hospital nursery). Has worked very, very well for the last 4 babies.

Last infant had a broken collarbone & slept best swaddled in the rock n play instead of crib for first month or so, but moved to crib no problem.

 

It's very freeing to not rock to sleep & have to hold your breath if they will stay asleep when transfering:). We rock & cuddle when feeding, but then they go right into crib.

 

I love our cribs to contain mobile ones at nap & bedtime (especially because they share rooms with older kiddos).

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I keep hearing about these rock and plays. Maybe I'll start with that and save the crib for later if the baby seems to be transferrable. I did have luck getting my first two transferred to a swing once nursed, shushed, and swaddled.

The rock n play is magic. I only had one for my youngest, but it was amazing. It is on my must-have list, along with Velcro swaddle blankets.

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Both my kids coslept. For naps, when DS was tiny, we had a portable folding baby cot/cradle we would use for naps; when they were at that stage where they were capable of rolling off the bed and still little enough that a standard rail seemed unwise, we employed a blanket on the floor. DD napped in a sling/carrier on my person quite a lot, too. DS was much easier to get down for a nap without waking.

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A friend told me the crib was "the most expensive laundry basket" he ever bought. I thought that about summed it up.

 

I agree with others about getting a bassinet or something really small and just waiting to see. Maybe the third time's the charm for a baby that transfers to a sleeping place. We co-slept, but we never faced the issue of babies sleeping alone in a big bed. They refused to sleep unless they were touching us.

We never owned a bassinet. We always used a large rectangular laundry basket for that phase. Loved it. Easy. Cheap. Light weight. Easy clean.

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Dd co-slept, but used a crib for naps with grandma as it was easier for grandma. 

 

Next kiddo I'm planning on co-sleeping again, but nixing the crib altogether. I'm going to take a regular twin bed that is low, put it in a corner with a padded head & footboard, and a nearly full length bed rail. Put a nap mat on the floor next to the bed just in case maybe. My friend did this and it was MUCH easier - no transitioning to a big kid bed, no odd sized sheets, and it was big enough for her to crawl in and cuddle / nurse if needed. 

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Hmm, am I actually in the minority of cribs?  After nursing, I would get up from couch, walk them to crib (another room), put them down.  They did have to be wrapped fairly tight, but I didn't have issues.  Every once and a while, sure, they would wake up, but just putting my hand on chest and patting usually did the trick.  At night, we used a bassinet in our room so I didn't have to walk as far, and the baby doesn't wake up the other kids.  Then when they were about 7-8 months they would move to the crib for both naps and night.  

 

The crib, though, does have to have the mattress at the highest setting.  My first crib (first 2 kids) had a sliding up/down side which made it easier to put a kid down without having to separate them from your body until the last minute.  Alas, I guess those were deemed unsafe (I mean, better to have a safe crib, but too bad the convenience had to go.) With our current crib I was able to have the mattress high up enough that it was only for half a second the baby would be suspended away from my body before he hit the mattress -- it's the lack of contact I think that wakes them up, so minimizing this is essential to a good transfer.  And, also trying to put them down when drowsy, not already asleep, helped a lot and probably made our later life easier, getting to sleep by themselves. 

 

The 2.5 yo is still in the crib, though it is more because I'm waiting until I get my daughter a new bed, then everyone will move up one.  He doesn't notice the rails anymore and has a setup that lets him climb in and out safely and whenever he wants. I liked the fact that when they are at the age of crawling/walking, they are put in a spot that is safe and can't walk out of while I am asleep. 

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Ease of transfer may be a height thing....at 5'1 I'm short, so it is much harder for me to lean over the rail and put them down without losing contact. I actually balance them on my arm, putting them down on top of my arm, then slide my arm out, but it doesn't always work. 

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I liked our Arms Reach co-sleeper. And we had the one that converts to a pack n play, so when baby outgrew the bassinet height, we dropped down to the pack n play level.

 

One thing I haven't seen mentioned: pack n play mattresses. I am a nut about outgassing mattresses, so if this doesn't phase you, it's ok. But you may want to research it. That's up to you. Our middle son has asthma that increases with outgassing, so it's on my radar. If you go with a pack n play, you can check into replacing the bottom mattress/foldable floor or whatever it's called. Arms Reach sells an organic option, so we went with that. That was important to me.

 

Once our last little one moved to her room, the crib was minimally useful. We eventually went with a Montessori inspired room, and put her crib mattress on the floor. It was on a soft rug, so no worries about falling. I wish we had done that for all the kids, from day 1. Hindsight, right?

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I loved the Rock n Play. Had it right next to my bed at night, and would move it around the house with me for naps during the day. 

 

We used a crib for both boys but only for around 6mo-14mo. Then switched to a mattress on the floor as both kids could climb out of the crib. I only like the old style drop side cribs because I'm so short that putting a baby down in a regular crib is essential dropping them - kinda hard not to wake them up.

 

I'd suggest getting a rock and play and going from there. You can always buy a crib later if you need it.

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Ease of transfer may be a height thing....at 5'1 I'm short, so it is much harder for me to lean over the rail and put them down without losing contact. I actually balance them on my arm, putting them down on top of my arm, then slide my arm out, but it doesn't always work. 

 

I just went and did a test with a doll, lol.  Okay, I do the same as you, at 5'7", with my arm underneath and then slide out. I guess the difference is that I can keep them next to my chest, until the last 1-2 seconds when they are solely balanced. Then slide out my arm once down.  The crib does hit my stomach uncomfortably, and I remember doing this with the real babies and having the same hitting. When the crib mattress is down lower like it is now, the drop is farther. [test of where the mattress was for a newborn done by putting a box to imitate mattress height on top of current mattress] 

 

I do think the big thing about whether or not the transfer was successful was how tightly they were wrapped.  My kids liked to be squeezed burritos. 

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I just went and did a test with a doll, lol.  Okay, I do the same as you, at 5'7", with my arm underneath and then slide out. I guess the difference is that I can keep them next to my chest, until the last 1-2 seconds when they are solely balanced.

 

 

Yeah, that extra 6 inches makes a big difference I bet!

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Ease of transfer may be a height thing....at 5'1 I'm short, so it is much harder for me to lean over the rail and put them down without losing contact. I actually balance them on my arm, putting them down on top of my arm, then slide my arm out, but it doesn't always work.

Yeah, on a good day with a forgiving measurer I'm 5'2" and even on the highest setting I found our crib difficult to access for infants who couldn't kneel or stand yet. It was quite a jump. The pack in play, being losing to the ground has worked better. It is still a bit of a struggle if they're laying down in the play hard setting but I can usually reach.

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Yeah, on a good day with a forgiving measurer I'm 5'2" and even on the highest setting I found our crib difficult to access for infants who couldn't kneel or stand yet. It was quite a jump. The pack in play, being losing to the ground has worked better. It is still a bit of a struggle if they're laying down in the play hard setting but I can usually reach.

 

We had a drop side once (and checked it frequently to be sure it was safe). I don't know what I'd do with a regular one. Sigh..I don't know that we kept that crib. So I may be finding out. 

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I'm a crib hater.  Little baby prisons!

 

Having said that, my oldest did the stereotypical crib from birth thing until 18 months, then moved to a big boy bed.  My second moved to a real bed at 18 months as well, but the first 6 months were co-sleeping.  

 

My third was "free range"- never even set the crib up.  Coslept for 4 months, followed by mattress on the ground from then on.

 

My fourth... sigh.  He was free range until 18 months.  Then we went to visit family and he slept in a pack-and-play.  He slept so much better in the pack-and-play than he did at home that the very first thing I did upon arriving home was buy a pack-and-play.  He's turning 2 soon, and has been in it ever since.  LOL.  So, never say never.  :-D  He'll probably stay in that thing until he's reached the age of reason, because he's just one of *those* kids where a little prison time is probably a good thing...

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This book really helped me with my babies who really struggled to sleep and stay asleep.

 

https://www.amazon.com/No-Cry-Sleep-Solution-Gentle-Through/dp/0071381392

 

Parts of it worked for me, like learning to keep track of their natural sleep pattern. But the rest made me a crazy lady. Settle baby, lay baby down, pick up crying baby, settle baby, lay baby down, pick up baby....for an hour straight and by that point I was losing my mind. 

 

I'm either a lazy parent or just not cut out for that stuff, but I decided it was way easier to just nurse them to sleep while watching star trek reruns on the couch with my feet up on a comfy ottoman, lol. But man, did that book have me stressed while i tried it. 

 

Of course, others love it. Worth trying i would think, but for me it was way more stress than it was worth.

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