When I was pregnant with my first I didn't put a lot of thought into where our baby would sleep. We were gifted a crib and set it up in our room, our tiny home not allowing for baby to have a room of their own. Like many parents our research hadn't expanded much further than birth and basic baby care. I had read bits about a family bed in Dr. Sears The Baby Book and didn't think much of it. As time went by that crib just collected dust and laundry, my baby sleeping in there for maybe 2 naps. When we played with the idea of converting it to a toddler bed the manufacturer told me that they didn't have the parts and it would be months before they would be able to send me what I needed. So we packed it up and put it in storage. All the while my kiddo sleeping quite happily in the middle of our bed, where he had done so since the day he was born. My research had expanded quite a bit as my journey to becoming a doula was also in full swing and my love for Dr. Mckenna and his research on mother-baby sleep began. Knowing that we had created a safe sleeping environment for our child that also supported our breastfeeding journey and everyone was sleeping well was wonderful and our family has remained in the same sleeping arrangement ever since.
Jump forward to now... Something needed to shift as my belly started to grow. Our queen size bed and our preschoolers refusal to sleep anywhere but next to me was not quite conducive to our space. He had a toddler bed but much like the crib it was just for show. I really wanted to do something that would serve the whole family and we clearly need more space to sleep, not just for my belly but for the baby that will be here sooner than later. Since we are still in our tiny home with our one bedroom I got creative. I did some research and found the best way to side-car our crib. After four and a half years our crib finally has a purpose! We did rearrange the bedroom pretty early into the pregnancy to help ease the distress of the big change on our kiddo and to help us all get used to the new sleeping arrangements before baby arrives. The actual process of getting the crib into a side car position was simple and only took one trip to our local Lowes for flat bungee cords.
I have set it up to have the preschooler sleep there, not the baby, so it does have a pillow, blankets, and a rotating supply of stuffed animals and books. Plus my pregnancy pillow now fits in the bed (more on the pillow its self in a up coming blog!) When the baby is born we will make the proper changes to make our bed a safe place for the baby to join our family bed (we follow Dr. McKenna's safe sleeping guidelines. Click here to see those guidelines). In the time being we are still adjusting to the change, loving the extra space at the foot of the bed, and the kiddo is slowly but surely coming around to giving his pregnant mama a little more room to sleep!