How to Convert a Crib Into a Co-Sleeper

By Catlin Tidwell
Co-sleeping can help mothers get better sleep while providing babies with comfort and nourishment through the night.
Co-sleeping can help mothers get better sleep while providing babies with comfort and nourishment through the night.

Many mothers enjoy nursing their baby, but few enjoy having to get out of their cozy bed every couple hours to feed their baby. Co-sleeping, a sleeping arrangement that puts baby in or near the mother's bed, is practiced around the world as a way to help moms get more sleep while giving babies the comfort and nourishment they need at night. A mother who wants to enjoy the benefits of co-sleeping without giving up space in her bed all night can attach, or sidecar, baby's crib to an adult bed to add more sleeping space.

Remove the drop-rail side of the crib. If the crib does not have a drop-rail side, remove the long front side of the crib. Ensure that the crib is sturdy without the side, and that the mattress platform continues to attach securely to the crib frame.

Push the crib against the adult bed near the head of the bed. The crib should be against the side of the bed where the mother will sleep.

Raise the crib or the bed if the crib mattress and adult mattress are not at the same level. The two mattresses must be exactly the same height. Use bed risers if possible, or find a sturdy piece of foam that is the same height and width of the crib mattress and place it under the crib.

Secure the crib frame to the adult bed frame using zip ties and C-clamps. The crib must be attached so that it will not move away from the adult bed.

Push the crib mattress up against the adult mattress so that no gap remains between the mattresses. Shove a tightly rolled blanket between the crib mattress and the remaining long rail, so that the crib mattress will remain pushed tightly against the adult mattress. Fill any gaps with tightly rolled towels.

Ensure the safety of the adult bed. If the adult bed is against a wall, make sure the adult mattress is pushed firmly against the wall so that no gaps remain. Also, make sure that there is no space between the mattress and headboard, and no gaps in the headboard itself, which could pose a danger to the baby. Remove any soft pillows. Make sure sheets fight tightly, and that blankets are not used near the baby.

Cover the seam between the adult mattress and crib mattress with a blanket. If the mattresses are properly aligned, the seam should be nearly undetectable through the blanket.

Inspect the crib before every use to ensure that it remains securely attached and safe.

Things You Will Need

  • Adult bed
  • Crib
  • Screwdriver or hex wrench
  • Zip ties
  • C-clamps
  • Blankets
  • Towels

Tip

Bedding for both the crib and adult mattresses should fit tightly. To ensure that blankets and sheets do not come near a co-sleeping baby, dress for the nighttime temperature instead of using bedding.

Warning

Never leave the baby unattended in an adult bed or in a co-sleeper crib. Never co-sleep with a baby if you have been smoking, drinking or taking drugs. Be aware that prescription drugs can cause differences in sleep which can make co-sleeping unsafe. Never place a baby on his or her stomach to sleep. Do not co-sleep in a waterbed.

About the Author

Based in Seattle, Catlin Tidwell has been writing professionally since 1999. Her articles have appeared on websites and for professional blogs. Tidwell is a certified usability analyst, an experienced technical writer and a published short story author. She earned a Master of Arts in International Studies from the University of Washington.