living simply

life is sweeter when it is simple

Co-Sleeper Goodness

38 Comments

Long before the Little Peanut arrived, my husband and I knew we wanted to have her sleep in our room with us for at least the first couple of months. As I did research on bassinets and portable cribs, I couldn’t find any that I found to be “stylish”, let alone at a reasonable price. Most were clunky or cage-like. Somewhere along the way I stumbled upon “co-sleeping.” No, this isn’t a new concept, but for a first time mom, it was pretty intriguing. I loved the idea that the baby could be right there next to you, without the danger of sleeping in bed with you. Even more so, I loved how she could be right at my level, so I could easily calm her during the night without having to get out of bed or even lift my head off the pillow. Unfortunately, I could find no co-sleepers that I liked here in the United States. I did find the Bednest, which I absolutely loved, but the expensive price tag and long waiting list unfortunately did not make it a viable option for us. So, it seemed that in order to get what I wanted, I had to make it myself. After some very quick sketches, I used SketchUp (aka my best design-friend) to help visualize the bassinet in 3D before finalizing the design. Here is some images of what I came up with.

I wanted something very simple and clean with no fuss. But above all, safety was my number one concern. When I told some of our family members that I was making a bassinet that connected to our bed, we got more than one strange and concerned looks, but I assured them it was going to be completely safe. This was MY child after all! I decided on MDF as a building material for its strength and inexpensive price. When designing, I didn’t want any screws or nails showing in the final product, both for appearance and safety. So once a generic “box” was designed, I worked in “slots” in which one piece could slide into another, making the co-sleeper even stronger. There are screws and brackets holding this together, they are just hidden. I will get more into that later. My entire design is based on the mattress size. I didnt want to build this huge bassinet and have no mattress to fit it. So after a strenuous internet search to find the smallest crib mattress I could, I found what I needed at Walmart. It is a great size at 16″x24″ and only 2″ thick. And at $19.99, I couldn’t have asked for more! (They no longer sell the exact one that I purchased, but they now have MORE size options and this one is a pretty close match to the one I bought.)

Once the design was finalized, I used AutoCad to create templates for each piece that needed to be cut out. With the simplicity of the design, there is only 5 pieces to the actual bassinet. I went to my local hardware store and bought 1/2″ MDF which is plenty strong. And because I only needed 5 pieces, one sheet at 48×96 would do just fine. That’s $23.99 people! Now I could have easily measured my templates out onto the board and cut these 5 easy pieces myself, but I was 7 months pregnant, and didn’t feel like cutting these out on my own, so I cheated and decided to use a CNC router which would make every cut perfect. I actually had another project that I wanted to get started on using a CNC router as well. This project, which I hope to detail when it is done, required 3/4″ MDF. So just to be super, duper safe, I decided to change the design at the last minute and make the support that Peanut would be laying on out of 3/4″ instead of 1/2″ MDF. This was no biggie to change a couple dimensions and I had plenty of MDF to spare (On a side note though, this 3/4″ change was highly unnecessary and I wish I had left it at 1/2″ because it is way HeAvY now). Here are is what the sheet looked like after I had it went through the router.

Once the pieces were cut out, I sanded the edges to get rid of any loose splinters and I made sure the pieces fit together with a quick assembly. Once I made sure they fit, things were a go!

After priming the pieces, it was time for final assembly. Daniel, my husband, and I ran to our local hardware store and bought 10 brackets and some screws (carefully making sure they would not be longer than 1/2″, as they would have gone through the bassinet). We arranged the brackets underneath the bassinet and in between the bottom panel and the bed panel so that all brackets would be hidden and the look would be very clean.

We put the bottom panel in last, so that we could reach the other brackets with the drill.  The bottom panel brackets are secured from below, so they are not seen.

We also planned ahead. We figured out where we wanted the brackets to go before we bought them. In doing so, we figured out we needed at least two brackets above the bed panel in order to secure the upper portion of the bassinet. Since our mattress is only 2″ thick, we bought brackets that are only 2″ thick as well so that the two brackets needed above the bed panel will actually be hidden once the mattress is in place.

It is important to pre-drill your screws if you are using MDF. It is very dense, and the screws are not strong enough to go in on their own – they need some help. From here it was smooth sailing once we finished painting (well I shouldn’t say we!)

In order for the co-sleeper to work, as in attach to our bed, it has to actually…attach to our bed. We couldn’t just attach four legs to the bottom, butt it up against the bed and call it a day. For safety, it has to remain as close as possible to our bed while remaining sturdy. The bassinet is actually connected to the bed with MDF scraps that are fastened to the bottom of the bassinet and then slid between our mattress and box spring. Daniel found the longest scraps he could of the MDF and did some rough cuts in order to get them somewhat “lumber size”. Then he went ahead and attached those to the bottom of the bassinet. You can see where I added a “lip” on the side panels of the bassinet. I did this so that the support pieces that went under our mattress would remain somewhat hidden.

Because the MDF is sooo heavy, we had to add two legs to the bassinet as well. After doing some research, we decided to just pick up these puppies from IKEA. They were not the correct height we needed (around 17″), but because they were hollow and $3.50 a piece, we knew we could cut them down and make them work for us.

Once Daniel cut them down to size, he attached them to the bottom of the bassinet and we were done! Just slide between the mattress an box spring and voila!


We are extremely happy with how the co-sleeper turned out. Since day one, Finley has slept at least 6 hours a night. And at 3 weeks, it became 8 to 10 hours. People may not believe me, but I give a lot of credit to this co-sleeper. She can look over and see me at anytime and I am right there when she needs me and she is right there when I need her :)

 

 

*UPDATE: We are thrilled with the responses we have gotten for the co-sleeper.  At this time, we are not going to sell the co-sleeper.  There is just too much liability for other peoples’ precious little ones.  We are however ‘thinking’ about selling the plans for it.  I will keep you posted when we give this the go ahead.  Also a thank you to those who have expressed their concerns about our choice to use this co-sleeper.  This resolution is not for everyone, however, this is a choice my family and I have made together after careful thought and consideration.

About these ads

38 thoughts on “Co-Sleeper Goodness

  1. Pingback: A Nursery for Finley « Living Simply

  2. Why do you have the extra shelf. Is it for as the baby grows so you can make the co sleeper deeper?

    Also how tall are the sides?

    • It’s not actually an extra “shelf” so to speak. The runner boards that slid between the mattress attach to the bottom of the lower “shelf”. You don’t necessarily need the upper “shelf” – the baby’s mattress can sit on the lower “shelf”. We wanted to have our baby’s mattress to be just slightly lower than our own mattress, so the upper shelf is placed strategically to allow the 2″ baby mattress to sit just 1″ below our mattress. The extra shelf DOES create more stability though, so I would keep that in mind.
      The sides would be different for each person. We measured 2″ below the lower shelf, to help hide the runner boards. Then we made sure that there was at least 4″ to the top of the co-sleeper when the baby mattress was in place to avoid any accidents. Most mattresses are 8-10″, so our sides are about 16″ total.

  3. Pingback: Happy Friday and Happy Sleep! « Living Simply

  4. Do you have a copy of the plans to share? Love to make this if you have the Auto Cad dimensions… Ingenious! Please I would love to follow your plans it seems the most straight forward of all of the co sleepers i have seen.

  5. Where did you find sheets for your cosleeper? Or did you make them?

    • King sized pillow cases actually fit the mattress perfectly.
      I went over to Bed Bath and Beyond and hit up their clearance section to find some cheap pillow cases. I ended up finding some that were 500 thread count that almost matched the color of our own sheets for around $10! And they come in twos, which is great when you need a quick sheet change! Hope this helps!

  6. Two questions: 1) what is the purpose of the small rectangle (the 5th piece on the MDF board)
    2)since I read that you are not willing to give out the measurements (although, trust me, I am too lazy to steal the design LOL) are you selling the co-sleepers yet?? I will buy one from you!

    • Hi Nicole,
      The 5th piece on my board was actually not used. I cut a piece out as a safety precaution. It was going to go in between the horizontal pieces to prevent sagging, but it turns out it wasn’t necessary. – sorry for the confusion.
      I love that you would like to buy one. My husband and I actually had a long talk over the weekend about whether or not we were ready to start selling. However, there is a lot of issues associated with “children’s furniture.” Specifically a crib. So I am still looking into it, but we are not ready as of yet. I am so excited though that you like the co-sleeper, we love it, and as soon as we decide to give the thumbs up – i will track you down! ;)

  7. We’ll buy one too! Email me!

  8. I love your co-sleeper and I think it’s fantastic that you designed and built it while pregnant! I just have to comment on your use of MDF to build it: MDF (medium-density fiberboard) is bound together using “formaldehyde resins” and testing has consistently showed that MDF emit urea-formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds that pose serious health risks for at least several months after manufacture. Urea-formaldehyde, in particular, is classified as a”known human carcinogen” associated with nasal sinus cancer and nasopharyngeal cancer, and possibly with leukemia. Most troublesome is that urea- formaldehyde is always being slowly released from the surface of MDF. Painting all surfaces and edges will help to seal it in, but there are no guarantees!

    • Thank you very much.
      I appreciate your constructive criticism. This should be noted – that this co-sleeper was for us, and may not be right for everyone. We felt safe about our choices, and respect others opinions about it.
      Thank you for helping to educate on the possible implications of MDF, education is always invaluable. :)

  9. Love. love, love! I’d love if it converted by day to a bench so we could put it at the foot of our bed. I’m not so crafty-my husband can be when he wants to, but is so busy! Our little one has special needs and wakes often in the night, we co sleep in our bed, but now that she’s getting older we want options and this is perfect! Email me too!

    • That is a really great idea. When I look at it without the legs and the braces on it, it really is the perfect little bench – with a little shelf for toys too!
      Thanks for the love!

  10. Wish I had seen this when I.was pregnant! Such a great idea, and it looks so much safer than the store-bought ones. We’re getting ready to transition to.her own room after the new year (7 months old now), but keping this in mind for the next one!

  11. I would buy one! Email me, my baby is due in march:)

  12. I’d love to buy one! Please email me too!

  13. Can you give us the demensions of the co sleeper? I love this idea & want to build this ASAP!!

  14. first i would like to comend you for using a Sony DSC device to upload your photos. I am in the process of making my own, and your blog really helped thanks.

  15. commend :)

  16. Hey there! Such a cool co sleeper! Do you have the file from autocad/ the router that you would be willing to email me? I have access to all of the tools but it would be great if my husband could have the file that is already designed!
    I you would be willing to share, It would be GREATLY apperciated!
    Montgomery.tayler@gmail.com
    -Tayler

  17. i totally love ur idea. can i have the measurement for the co sleeper?

  18. If you are giving out measurements that’d be fantastic! My husband is making ours this weekend! Thank you.,

  19. This is AWSOME! My son will b 1 son & he still co-sleeps with us! I love having my baby in the same room with me & will continue to do so until I feel comfortable with him in his own room. I would buy this co-sleeper bed if it was sold in stores because his pack & play is to big for my room.

  20. I just saw this, I wish this was available 20 yrs ago when I had my daughter! I absolutely LOVE it!

  21. Love this! What I love most about it was that I saw one (for sell, around $300! Yikes!) So I showed it to my husband and we just built one last weekend. :) Good to know we aren’t the only ones crazy enough to make this ourselves.

    • Awesome! They really aren’t too hard to make. Mine is a little more intricate, but really they aren’t that complicated. I haven’t sold my pattern because I can’t stand next to people and watch to make sure they put it together correctly – leaving me liable for any injuries. But I’m glad to see people can get creative and use my idea to make something that works for them. Enjoy the new baby!!!

  22. i just had my baby 7 weeks ago and we have a bassinet and i hate it because i can not see him at all and im a first time mommy and i saw this online and have bought all the stuff to make it and me and my bf are going to start on it tomorrow i really wish we new the measurements i see your not giving them out witch really sucks i’m nervous to make one and not have the right sizes :/ and i also see your not going to sell them witch also sucks it looks like an amazing idea thank you for sharing it though now i just pray to get the measurements right :] Ashley C.. Ashleycaruso22@gmail.com

  23. My first grandchild will be co-sleeping with her parents. (my daughter) I think is a wonderful, lovely idea. Anything that helps a child feel safe. And loved is perfect for me. I wish an idea like this little attached bed had been around when my daughter was a newborn 26 years ago. She’s turned out just fine without it though!!!!

  24. I co-slept with my daughter in the bed, because that was my chose and my husband was deployed at the time. Now that we are having our second and he will be here I felt that a co-sleeper like this would be amazing. This co-sleeper def meets your needs. Our bed is a little different. We have a platform bed that has 5” lip that goes around and by making it a bit smaller we won’t need the legs. My husband was able to modify this co-sleeper to meet our needs and it we be fantastic… Very very very excited

  25. I noticed that you posted a picture of the board after the cutting was done. I count 4 pieces on the cut board (minus the “extra piece” you mentioned for sagging that was not needed) By my count 5 pieces are needed in total to construct this. Kind of confused where the 5th piece comes in, for second shelf. Help?

    • There are two “shelves” or horizontal pieces. Take a look at the 6th picture down. There are 2 horizontal pieces then the 3 sides.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.