Saturday, March 20, 2010

Our Sidecarred Crib

One of the things I am passionate about is being there for your babies, even during the night. Parenting doesn't end at 8pm. We had to learn this the hard way. During the first few weeks of Carson's life he screamed constantly. Josh and I were exhausted and we read a book saying that after two weeks old, your baby can cry it out. Obviously this author was a crackpot (my opinion at least). We were desperate and tired so we let our barely older than two week old son cry-it-out. My heart still breaks thinking about it. I cried the entire time and was proud of myself for not giving in and going in there (I know, ridiculous). We also tried the cry-it-out approach when Carson was about 4 months old. This is when my view changed for good. He was old enough then to communicate how traumatized he was. He would start shaking and clinging to me anytime we walked in his bedroom. Freaking out that I had ruined my child, I went to Barnes & Noble as fast as I could and picked up Attachment Parenting by Dr. Sears. We immediately implemented what we read and we started seeing huge changes in Carson for the better. This did mean many trips back and forth between rooms in the middle of the night. Finally, by the time Carson was 6 months old, I was exhausted and we knew we had to do something but didn't want to go down the path of cry-it-out again. We discussed co-sleeping but neither of us liked the idea of Carson in between us. Then I remembered that Dr. Sears' book recommended side-carring the crib. I googled it and found this great website with instructions: We side-carred his crib that night and we have been enjoying it ever since! I love having him close. It's also nice that when he's sick, which usually happens during the middle of the night for some reason, I know immediately. When he had croup, I heard that first wheeze and was instantly able to act, which I think helped prevent it from becoming more serious. I can't imagine putting our future babies down the hall in another room now. So this crib will probably be hooked to our bed for quite awhile. I wanted to post this because I thought it was a good alternative for people that aren't quite comfortable with co-sleeping, either because of safety worries or issues of the baby being in the marriage bed, but are tired of sitting in the rocking chair of their baby's nursery all night long.

We took the front rail off of Carson's crib and used the wall to keep our beds together. Right now we have nothing holding them together so every night I have to double check that they are as tight as can possibly be. I would suggest using zip ties and actually securing the bed frames together. I've never had a separation, but I always check just in case. Even if you secure the frames together, you still need to double check that the mattresses are tight each night which just takes a few seconds. There also can be no gap at the head of the bed and if your baby is a mover then there should be no gap at the end either. If you have side handles on either of your mattresses, you can use a bungee cord to secure the mattresses together. We also used another mattress to bring Carson's mattress up to match the height of ours. You could also use old comforters and blankets. We used an old quilt and rolled it up really tight and wrapped a sheet around it to go in the crack between his mattress and his headboard. The website I mentioned above suggests using high-density foam that you can pick up at any fabric store for that gap. Which if there is a gap between the foot board and mattress, you can use it to fill that gap as well. Which we will probably do for our next baby. Carson spends most of his sleep time half on our bed and half on his so he really never touches the rolled up quilt, which could be too soft for a new baby.

We love this arrangement and highly recommend it!

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