BabyBanter: Not All Cribs are Created Equal & Side Caring


A couple of weeks ago we made the call and traveled along to IKEA for a crib for our Little Guy. We’d already looked at a couple and had a few ideas about what we wanted, but nothing beats looking at the crib in person and being able to feel it, shake it to check its sturdiness, and get a good look at it in a bedroom setting. Not that we needed much convincing or a good reason to go visit IKEA, but it’s got to be one of best places to see an actual item in situ and help you decide if it’s right for you.

After checking out the various cribs in the bedroom scenes, we settled on the Hensvik.

It was strong and sturdy. I know we’re not exactly putting a heavy weight in it, but putting your hand on a wooden frame and feeling it strong and stable definitely helps in gaining your trust in it. The soft white was a nice color that would match just fine with our bedroom’s decor, and I really liked the curvy sweep of the top of the frame on the short sides. Plus the nominal price tag of $99 was definitely something I could get behind, having visited a number of baby stores earlier and seeing the range of cribs in all shapes, colors and sizes in the price range of $200-$500.

That was the other thing I liked about the Hensvik crib: it was a good large size, which may seem like overdoing it somewhat for a newborn, but we wanted a crib that would last a while and we could get plenty of use out of.

Side Caring

The other reason we needed to find the right crib that was again sturdy and one we liked was because we we’re “side caring” it. That’s side caring as in “car” not “care.” This is a relatively new “fad” in child upbringing that makes a ton of sense and is really more in the style of the way it has been done for many centuries previous to the 20th century. It really seems like scientists and pediatricians drank some special juice in the previous century that made them say a lot of stupid things, like breast milk isn’t that good for the baby, or the baby doesn’t need much skin to skin contact, or it’s good to keep the baby in a separate room, especially when it’s a newborn so it can start learning about being independent.


A newborn spends its first couple of months trying to deal with why it’s no longer in its warm, watery cocoon and what the hell is going on?

So we elected to go with side caring. This is basically using a crib minus one long side, so only three sides on it. The open side is then placed beside the parents’ bed, giving the mother full reach of her child in the crib. This does a number of things:

  1.  The baby is calmer because its mother and parents are close to it all through the night;
  2. Feeding is a lot easier, as the mother simply has to reach over and pull her child to her and feed him or her; supposedly mothers will do this almost automatically in their sleep;
  3. If the baby starts crying or needs something during the night, the mother or father doesn’t have to get up and leave the room, but can attend to the child right away.

One of the most important lessons a newborn needs to learn is that its parents are always close at hand and will answer its cries, which helps the baby develop trust in its parents.

There are a number of websites that show you how to side car your crib for co-sleeping.  Here’s one, and here’s another. There are plenty more, and a Google search will turn up a number of them, along with YouTube videos showing in detail how best to do it.

For us, I think we did a bit of overkill as our crib is secured between the bedroom wall and the bed, but we also have long bungee cords going from the far end of our bed (it attaches around the handles used to lift the mattress) and goes under the mattress of our queen bed, then under the mattress of the crib and is secured on the far side spokes.

Like I said, I think it’s overkill, but this crib ain’t going nowhere, even if you try to drag on it.

So below is the finished product. And in a few weeks or a month or so (or the next chance I have a combination of being awake enough and having some free time after our Little Guy is born) I’ll do a follow-up post about how well this side car co-sleeping works. Of course, it’s always up to the particular baby, and perhaps our Little Guy hates co-sleeping and wants to be on his own in his own room; we’ll just have to see.

Today’s Giggle Brought to You by . . .

One funny anecdote I do want to share is when we were building the crib. I was following the instructions, but simply leaving one long side off. Little did I know that halfway through the detailed instruction book is a whole section on building the crib for side caring. Anyway, I thought I had everything set up, but had a couple of strange looking curled screws left over, but figured because I was building the side car version, I didn’t need them. Well, when we had the crib standing and ready, I added the mattresses to the base of the crib and it looked perfect for a whole two seconds, and then the bottom fell out and (along with the mattresses) dropped to the floor.

Turns out those strange screws were very important. Glad we did a dummy run!