Do you wish to know the dos and don’ts of co-sleeping with your baby? Are you an accidental co-sleeper but have a persistent passion for enjoying sleep with your baby? This article is an enlightening guide to get you started.
Often, parents bring their babies in bed with them at one point or another. Usually, it happens in the early days, especially when both mom and dad are super-exhausted.
But co-sleeping can be more than a move out of fear. For some families, it’s a choice.
What is co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping means sleeping close to your newborn baby. It may be in the same bed or in the same room.
Research has proven that there are countless benefits to sleeping with your baby, including convenient night-time feeding. Also, a secure environment that helps to raise a happy and confident child, as well as protection from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
However, for you to share a bed with your baby for one night, or for much longer, according to Dr. James McKenna, an author of Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Co-sleeping, you have to ensure that you provide the safest sleeping environment for your child.
According to McKenna: the idea of a bed-sharing family is made up of sober, non-smoking, and breastfeeding mothers who have made the most careful decision to co-sleep.
However, the safest way to sleep with your baby is to set up a mattress on the floor in the middle of the room, away from walls and bed frames.
Below are the safest rules to adopt:
- If you use a framed bed, make sure the headboard and footboard fit firmly, preventing any possibility of the baby getting stuck in a crack. This tactic ensures that the baby cannot roll into the crack between the bed and the wall.
- Also, use a bedside sleeper or bassinet next to the bed so that your baby can be near, but not sharing a bed with an adult or older sibling.
- Use thin blankets as covers and a firm mattress and pillows.
- Consider using a bed rail if your bed is high off the ground to prevent the newborn baby from rolling off at night.
- Make sure the baby is on their back when putting to sleep.
- Keep drapes, blinds, or ropes away from the bed to prevent strangulation.
- Co-sleep in a water bed.
- Leave a baby alone in an adult bed.
- Co-sleep with a baby younger than four months old
- Use heavy comforters, duvets, or fluffy pillows.
- Forget to fall asleep with a baby on your chest – they must sleep on their back every time.
- Sleep with your baby on a sofa or couch.
- Co-sleep in a room that is too warm or dress your baby too warmly. Dr. McKenna says that overheating can lead to SIDS.
- Co-sleep if you smoke or smoked throughout your pregnancy. Newborn babies whose mothers smoked throughout their pregnancies can have tissue damage in the brain, particularly the part that helps them wake up at night.
- Co-sleep if you are excessively tired, especially if intoxicated.
- Co-sleep if you have excessively long hair to prevent infant entanglement around the neck.
- Co-sleep with a baby that is bottle feeding. However, bottle-fed babies reap many of the same rewards of bed-sharing when placed in a crib beside the mother. A breastfeeding mom and baby pairs are more sensitive and responsive to each other than non-breastfeeding pairs. Hence sensitivity is key to safe sleeping.
- Co-sleep if there are other children or pets, who are likely to climb into the bed and possibly suffocate the baby, research has proven that older siblings who don’t understand the risks of suffocation pose a threat to babies under a year old.
Nevertheless, keeping your baby safe and secure during sleep is an individual responsibility. As a parent, it’s essential to make sure all caregivers who care for your baby know and follow these safe sleep recommendations.
Although, you may end up doing things you didn’t plan on doing, since we have given you some tips, please consider these guidelines so that you can keep your baby safe at all times.
Do you have any special experiences with co-sleeping? Feel free to share them!