BABY BED-SHARING/ CO-SLEEPING
What worked for us: Baby sleeping on my arm to breastfeed, buying a massive bed and fencing the side, three big blankets, being conveniently already teetotal.
We currently all sleep together in a super-king size bed with the sides blocked off. We sleep cosily through the night, and wake happy to see one another.
Originally, Baby rested their head on my arm because they couldn't reach my nipple otherwise. Later, however, we just grew used to this position. It gave us the reassurance of knowing where one another were, and Baby could easily reach out for a snack.
We could breastfeed at night while horizontal, and without fully waking up. If Baby Vegan took a while to settle, then I could also roll them onto my chest and rub their back. When at first we sat up at night, I found a clip on lamp useful.
One thing which has made life easier for me is living in a flat, as I can easily hear Baby and get to them quickly, wherever I am. Now Baby is older they can get themselves out of bed and casually walk into the living room. I think a big soft bedsit would be really nice.
When we had trouble putting baby to sleep, I bounced on a birth ball with them in a carrier.
Bed sharing can be controversial. Below I have summarised some of the advice we followed:
BED SHARING GUIDELINES
Breastfeeding (Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDs. Frequent night-time nursing helps mothers to make sufficient milk.)
Both parents aware, involved, and responsible
Long hair tied up
Smoking currently or smoking during the pregnancy (Smoking is correlated with increased risk of infant death. There are no studied on e-cigarettes or vaping.)
Alcohol, sedatives, medications, drugs, substances
Pets and other children in the bed
Firm and clean surface
Light, comfortable blankets with holes
Mattress meets bed frame, so as baby cannot fall between
Baby can't fall out (you could put a mattress on the floor or use a bed rail)
It is not advised to sleep on the settee
Keep pillows and soft bedding away from baby (ie duvet, sheepskin)
Infants are advised to sleep on their backs (Baby Vegan actually slept on their side on my arm. The Durham reference states that it is common for baby and mother to face one another.)
It is suggested babies do not bed share if:
Born prematurely or with a low birth weight
Feverish or unwell (we did not follow this, and not every reference mentions it)
Breaks in routine, such as visiting friends and family overnight or going on holiday.
A close alternative to bed sharing
Co-sleeping cot alongside bed
It is usually advised that babies sleep in the same room as adults for at least the first six months