Many new parents struggle with the decision of whether or not to co-sleep with their baby. Some worry that it may be unsafe, while others find it to be a convenient way to bond with their child and get some much-needed rest.
Co-sleeping is when you and your baby share the same sleep surface. This could be in the same bed, or you might have your baby in a bassinet or crib next to your bed. There are many benefits to co-sleeping, including:
- It’s easier to feed your baby during the night
- You can respond quickly to your baby’s needs
- It can help you both get more sleep
However, there are also some risks associated with co-sleeping. These include:
- You or your partner might roll over on top of your baby in your sleep
- Your baby might get tangled in your bedding
- Your baby could be injured if you have a fall out of bed
- Your baby's airways become blocked because of bedding, pillows, items of clothing on you or your partner
There is no right or wrong answer, every family is different and it's important to do what feels right for YOU. But if you do choose to co-sleep, there are some things you can do to help ensure your baby's safety.
First of all, make sure your bed is firm and flat, without any pillows or loose blankets that could pose a suffocation hazard. Bub should sleep on their back and you should remove any toys or stuffed animals from the bed. Similarly, items such as jewellery, teething necklaces and dummy chains pose the risk of strangulation, so make sure these things are not close by. It's also important that your baby can't fall out of the bed, so you might want to consider moving your mattress to the floor if it's possible they may roll out.
In addition, never co-sleep with your baby if you have been drinking alcohol or taking any medication that could make you drowsy. Alcohol and drugs can often lead to being less aware of your surroundings and it's important that if you feel you are too close to bub, you can maintain a safe space.
To find out more about safe co-sleeping tips and information on safe sleeping, check out the Red Nose website.