Just like other aspects of parenting life, safe bed sharing comes with its own checklist of products to make those long nights a bit more manageable.
In the western world most mothers don’t start off planning to bed share. It is instead a result of struggling with the unrealistic expectations set by our society and wanting to maintain an ounce of sanity.
This lack of guidance results in there not being a handbook to help with the transition from crib to bed, ultimately resulting in unplanned and unsafe sleeping arrangements. This can include an inebriated parent in bed, too many pillows and blankets around the baby and nothing preventing the little one from rolling off the bed. That is why I’d like to share this updated check list of the best products for safe bed sharing in 2020.
When starting our bed sharing journey I had no idea that there were so many products for safe bed sharing out there because honestly… no one talked about it! Also, these products were not advertised for bed sharing so they were harder to search for.
To write this checklist of must have’s for safe bed sharing, mamas like us are forced to struggle through the discomfort as we sift through various hack ideas. After a lot of trial and errors and countless dollars spent we can finally find the right set up so now that I have plenty of experience with the good, bad and right out uncomfortable aspects of bed sharing I want to spare you the trouble and give you the answers right away.
Best Safe Bed Sharing Products for 2020
When bed sharing with a toddler it is common to still be nursing at night which therefore means you’ll likely lay on your side.
Laying on your side requires some support for your lower back as we want to lean away from our baby while sleeping. I spent a long time stuffing a spare pillow behind me and struggling with back pain trying to get comfortable. When I finally discovered the half moon back pillow I was able to find relief and get a better night’s sleep.
The reason I really like the half moon pillow is that it’s nice and solid (memory foam) but at the same time light-weight. It doesn’t slide around and is easily packed away if going on a trip.
I have a special set up when it comes to pillows. If you are just starting off with a new born you want them to be sleeping on a flat and clean surface so your pillow needs to be far away from their head.
I highly recommend the MyPillow which can be found on Amazon. I’m not the type of person that invests in TV advertised pillows but we had bought this one for when my elderly mother in law was coming to visit us and now it’s a staple in Luca’s and my bed.
The density of this pillow is perfect for bed sharing because it molds easily into different positions without being too thin. I can adjust this pillow to be far from my nursling head yet support my own.
Once your infant becomes a toddler it is common to introduce a small pillow. Our setup has a flat but long pillow for our toddler Luca and then my pillow (MyPillow) up above and usually pushed up against the headboard while the low pillow is flat against the mattress.
I’m not sure exactly where I got my flat pillows but this is an alternative that would be perfect for the aforementioned setup. I highly recommend getting two of these flat pillows to create a longer stretch across the bed. At around 2 years old Luca started rolling away from me when falling asleep and the consistency in pillow height helped to not wake him up.
Many people have waterproof mattress protectors on their beds already due to pets potentially peeing or even just for general precaution. If you don’t already have one under your sheets I highly recommend getting one whether you intend to bed share it not.
Reason being there is a lot of leaking in general when bringing a baby back home (from both mom and baby) from the hospital and spit up if your nursing in bed. The mattress protector will spare your mattress the messiness during those first few months.
If you haven’t used a mattress protector before it’s easy to imagine it being a plastic type material and that it could be uncomfortable. In reality the one we use has a soft texture on the surface facing outward and a thin layer of water resistant material against the mattress which you don’t notice.
I use this one on both our bed and our toddlers bed that he and I sleep in.
Toddler Bed Rail Bumper
I LOVE this product so much. All of us in the family use this in our own way without even moving it from its position. This side bed pillow creates a gentle boundary at the edge of the bed so that when your little one is moving around half a sleep they don’t go tumbling over.
In general bed sharing families all suggest having a floor bed or atleast one that is very low to the ground but even then, an additional measure of security is always good for a restful night.
Luca loves using it as a pillow, lounging around by and playing on it with his toys. It also makes him feel cuddled in bed when laying up against it.
My husband likes it because of the additional boundary for Luca when he’s putting him to bed. When not nursing his sleeping positions are all over the place often resulting in him inching his way closer to the edge of the bed. With the boundary he can leave Luca alone without worrying about potential sleepy falls.
We mainly used this bed rail when sleeping in our master bedroom. The mattress was on a tall bed frame and we were worried that our baby would fall out of bed. The mesh makes me feel more assured Luca is safe as putting your face against it still allows you to breathe. (there is a natural gap between rail and mattress that allows for breathing as well).
This particular product does required there to be a bedframe as the way it attaches requires straps that wrap under the mattress. However it is very easily secured and can be folded down when desired.
Once we moved Luca into his toddlers bedroom (where I sleep with him) and on a floor bed we switched to the bed rail bumper.
Hindsight is 20/20
I always take for granted that everyone has these products but when I think back on how I found them it was really by spending a ton of time searching through blog posts to figure out what others were using. The facebook group The Beyond Sleeping Training Project was very helpful as well and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a support system around them.
I also hope that Mama Questions can be a place for other mama’s to feel safe in asking questions in regards to bed sharing. So head on over and join our newsletter below.