How To Use Your Baby’s Crib As Co Sleeper

Do you have a crib that you’d like to convert into a co sleeper?

Would you like to come up with a way to safely make this change in your baby’s sleeping arrangements without having to spend a lot of money on a separate co sleeper altogether?

Do you feel safer with your child sleeping in a crib-sized sidecar attachment, or has he or she outgrown other co sleepers you might be able to buy?

There are a lot of reasons why you might be considering using your crib as co sleeper, but no matter what brings you here, you’re in the right place.

In this article, you’ll find out everything you need to know about how to convert your baby’s crib into a safe and effective co sleeper that he or she will be able to use for the same length of time your child would have been able to use the crib. This way, you won’t have to feel limited in the amount of time your child can spend co sleeping, and you’ll have a much safer setup than some other options as well.

Throughout this article, you can find step-by-step directions to help you learn everything you need to know about how to turn crib into co sleeper. You’ll also find a few tips at the end of the article to help you ensure the safety of your new DIY project.

So, are you ready to get started?

Cribs as Co Sleepers?

There are a lot of parents and caregivers who utilize cribs as co sleepers. In any group of co sleeping parents, you can usually find at least a few who have completed this DIY project. However, if you’re not the type to usually take up projects like this one, you may find yourself wondering why anybody would want to. Isn’t it easier to just buy a co sleeper? Below, we’ll mention a few of the reasons why you might want to use a crib as a co sleeper as well as some of the benefits you can get from it, too.

If you already own a crib, this can be an affordable alternative. Provided you have a modern crib that has one removable side, this is a very easy transition to make with your baby’s furniture, and you won’t have to spend any extra money to accomplish it.

an affordable alternative

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You can purchase “some assembly required” cribs at low prices that may be more budget-friendly than specific co-sleepers. With these cribs, you can usually put them together normally and just leave out the steps in which you’ll put the final side together. From there, you can attach your crib to your bed normally by following the directions below.

If you have safety concerns about bringing your baby into the bed with you but still want to co sleep, this can be a very safe solution. In this setup, your child will never be directly in the same bed with you, but he or she also won’t have to sleep in a cot attachment or any other sleeper that may be unsafe as your baby gets older and heavier.

This type of co sleeping can give you a lot of peace of mind while still giving your baby all the benefits of closeness throughout the night. You’ll still be able to sit up and reach your child during the night without having to get out of bed, but you won’t have to worry about falls or other safety concerns.

Step-By-Step Directions

When you’re converting your crib to a co sleeper, it’s very important to follow the directions in order to be sure you complete the project correctly. Although the steps will be slightly different depending on whether or not you’re purchasing a crib specifically for this task or using one you already have, we will include specifications for both options. That way, no matter which type of project you’re trying to complete, you’ll be able to be successful.

Materials Needed

a co sleeper
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    A crib

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    Optionally, wood boards
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    Hammer, nails, screwdriver, screws

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    Wrench

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    Allen wrench

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    Optionally, drill

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    Bungee cords

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    Pool noodles or other large, soft pieces of foam

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    Bed sheets, etc. for crib

Steps

If you already own a crib, take a look at the type of rail it has on the side that can be put up or down. You may have a rail that slides all the way down to the ground, or you may have one that stops halfway. Either way, you’ll still need to remove it before you can use it as a co sleeper.

1. If your rail is bolted in place, use a wrench or an Allen wrench to remove the bolts. If your rail slides into place and is held in position by stoppers, use a screwdriver to remove the stoppers and then just slide the rail up and out of the crib setup.

2. If you are purchasing a crib specifically for this project, buy one that has the sliding type of rail for best results. However, no matter which type you purchase, you can simply put it together and leave off one side. That will make the crib totally usable for this project.

3. Once you have a crib with no rail on one side, you’re ready to get started.

4. Double-check the crib to make sure that it’s very sturdy when you shake it or move it around, even without its fourth side. If necessary, use a hammer and nails (or a drill) to attach a few long pieces of wood to the bottom of the crib. If you need to attach these pieces, make sure you place them lower than the side of your own bed so they won’t interfere with the placement of the crib.

5. Pull the mattress off of your bed so that you can easily access the frame. If your bed doesn’t have a traditional bed frame, you won’t be able to complete this DIY project, so make sure you have the right type of bed before you get started!

6. Use the bungee cords to loop between the crib frame and the bed frame. Attach them together firmly and securely. Do not skimp out on the bungee cords here! Use as many as necessary to keep the crib frame from moving around.

7. Put your bed mattress back in place, as well as the mattress for the crib.

8. Wedge the pool noodles or other large pieces of foam down between the crib mattress and your bed’s mattress. Even if there isn’t a lot of space there, make sure you fill what you can with foam. Cover it with towels or sheets if you prefer, but this isn’t a requirement.

9. Dress both beds with sheets, mattress covers and any other dressings necessary.

10. Congratulations! You’re all done!

Troubleshooting

Is your crib still wobbly even after adding wood boards? Try adding more supports and wedging the crib firmly between the bed and the wall of your bedroom. This will help hold it in place even more securely. If this still doesn’t work, you may need to think about using a different type of crib for this project, as the one you’ve chosen may not be safe or stable enough for use without its fourth side.

 crib as co sleeper

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Is your bed a different height from your crib? If so, try raising or lowering your own bed frame or the legs of the crib. You may also be able to raise or lower the crib’s mattress depending on the design of the crib you’ve chosen. In some extreme cases, you may have to cut off part of the crib legs to make this work—but most cribs can be adjusted enough to fit with just about any traditional bed height.

Are the bungee cords not holding the crib in place well? Look for adjustable metal or plastic clamps that can be affixed to the bed rail and crib frame with screws. This is a little more hands-on in terms of modification options, but it can be much more secure overall. You may also be able to find some clamps that work through tension and don’t require anything to attach them. Check out your local hardware store and don’t be afraid to ask around if you’re looking for something specific.

co sleeper

Is a pool noodle too thick to help fill in the gap between your baby’s crib and your own mattress? If so, you might want to try a thinner strip of foam that you can purchase from a hardware store or even from a craft store. You might also want to try a rolled-up towel, depending on the width of the gap you’re trying to fill. A bed bridge intended to convert to twins into a larger bed may work for some situations, but it may also become dislodged easily. No matter what you choose to use, be sure it can’t pose any choking hazards or cause a suffocation risk.

Are you having trouble removing the rail from your crib? Depending on the type of crib you’re using, you may find it more challenging to remove the rail than it might be on others. Older cribs that may be a little outdated may not be able to have the rail removed at all. If this is the case, your best bet may be to buy a different type of crib altogether or to try another option for your co sleeping scenario.

After all this work, what happens if your little one doesn’t like co sleeping? If this is the case, you might want to try co sleeping with two mattresses pushed together on the floor rather than attaching bed and crib frames together. This option doesn’t work for everyone, either, but it can be a great way to try out co sleeping when attaching your beds just isn’t quite cutting it.

5 Ways to Ensure Your Converted Sleeper is Safe

More than anything, when it comes to co sleeping and any other part of your child’s life, it’s crucial to ensure that your little one is safe and secure at all times. If you are ever concerned about the safety of your DIY co sleeper, stop using it immediately. However, as long as you follow the directions and pay attention to these 5 ways to ensure the safety of your sleeper, you should have no trouble. Just remember to check your sleeper every day and make sure that it doesn’t show any signs of damage or potential risk factors, either.

ensure the safety of your sleeper

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1. Always give your crib sleeper a little shake before your put your baby to bed at night to ensure that it isn’t going to wiggle around or become too unsteady for use. Do this nightly before bed, as you never know what could have changed about your crib from one night to the next. For example, if the family pet has been sneaking a snooze in the sleeper while no one is at home, this could be causing some weakness in the legs of the crib. Although it may seem a little unnecessary, this extra step can go a long way toward keeping your baby safe.

2. Check on your bungee cords or other type of attachment method once a week. This may mean lifting up your mattress or taking it off altogether, and this may feel like a big hassle. However, once again, it can make a big difference toward ensuring your baby’s safety throughout the co sleeping experience.

3. Never use your sleeper crib after your baby has outgrown it as a traditional crib. If your baby shouldn’t be able to use it as a normal crib, then he or she should still not be able to use it as an attachment. As a matter of fact, it may be in your best interest to either stop co sleeping or go to a different co sleeping method before your baby reaches the weight limit for your crib since you’re using it with a little less support than it ordinarily ought to have.

4. Every night before bed, check the space between your mattress and your baby’s mattress to be sure there is no gap. Get into the habit of adjusting the foam or towels you’re using to fill the gap every night when you and your little one go to bed. This will keep your baby from being able to be wedged into these spaces.

5. As with any co sleeper option, always be sure your baby’s crib is free and clear of any suffocation or choking hazards. Do not place any pillows in the crib with your baby or on the side of the bed with the co sleeper. Use only a lightweight sheet as a cover in the event that it gets pulled up around your child’s sleeping area. Do not let the family pet sleep in the bed with you while your child is co sleeping in any way, including in a DIY sidecar attachment.

As a note, always remember that modifying your crib in this way means you will be using it in a way that it wasn’t originally intended. Although many parents and caregivers do this successfully with no harm to their little ones, there is always some risk associated with using anything in a way other than the manufacturer intended. However, if you have a crib that’s supposed to be able to be modified into a toddler bed or day bed, then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about, as you’re still using it for more or less its intended purpose.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve learned a little bit about how to put together a fun crib-to-sidecar DIY project, we hope you’ll feel comfortable enough to try it for yourself. Just remember that you should always pay close attention to the safety of your child’s co sleeper, whether you purchase a premade one or put one together yourself. Always double-check for any safety concerns, and discontinue the use of your co sleeper as soon as you notice anything that could be potentially harmful to your child.

We understand that this may seem like a daunting task, especially if you don’t have a lot of DIY project experience already, but don’t worry! This is actually a very common project that many parents and caregivers perform successfully. If you have any further questions about how to convert your crib to a co sleeper, you can find lots of videos as well as message board discussions online to help you learn more.

And once you have a successful, safe and effective co sleeper for your little one, don’t forget to look up more information about co sleeping in general! There are tons of excellent tips you can check out to help you get the most out of your co sleeping experience—and help you wean your baby from co sleeping when the time comes, too.

Good luck with your DIY project, and have fun!