9 Safety tips for newborn co sleeping - About bed sharing dangers and safer alternatives
Newborn co sleeping is by far one of the most natural things on the planet for a parent; it is a practice that is done since historic times and all over the world.
Not just that a mother has the possibility to comfort her newborn baby instantly, but numerous parents find it helps to get their newborn baby off to sleep.
Co sleeping is particularly convenient when women are breast feeding, particularly during the nighttime feedings.
As they are less disturbed in their sleep, women are encouraged to breastfeed more frequent, providing their baby with the wondrous benefits of breast milk and allowing both mother and child to enjoy a good night’s rest.
There are additionally advantages of newborn co sleeping; it reduces the danger of an infant dying of SIDS (cot death) by half because the infant is sleeping in the same room as its committed parent.
Professor James J. McKenna, author of the book “Sleeping With Your Baby: A Parents Guide To Co-sleeping”, explains that when we sleep close to our children, it is easier to respond when they cry or if they have a clogged nose or have breathing issues.
Pros and cons of co-sleeping
However, there’re various thoughts that question the safety aspects of a newborn co sleeping with his or her parents in the family bed. Apart from the benefits we mentioned there are a few important safety rules for co sleeping safely with a baby.
Tragedies that occurred in the past show us that the newborn baby may also run a risk of being laid upon or being suffocated, or possibly hanging himself or herself from the headboard.
Safe co-sleeping guidelines
Newborn babies are very sensitive and in the event that you’re considering co-sleeping with your newborn baby, here are some safety tips for newborn co sleeping you must consider.
- Replace your duvet with blankets and sheet.
- Newborn baby don't require pillows until they’re over one year old.
- Ensure your bed is close to the wall or use a bed guard in order to stop the newborn baby from rolling out of bed.
- Ensure that the mattress is close fitting. In case there’s a little gap, they can slip through it and hang themselves.
- Always try to get your newborn baby to sleep in a crib firstly; they’ll be more averse to depend on you being there to get to sleep.
- Newborn babies ought to be put to sleep on their back, at least until when they’re older and they can move themselves and sleep on the side they prefer.
- Swaddle - To help imitate the feeling of the womb, it serves to swaddle your newborn baby. This essentially means to wrap him or her up in a blanket. This makes him or her feel secure and safe and likewise enables him or her stay asleep during any or more reflex moments.
- In the event that you’re over-tired, it’s not advisable to sleep with your newborn baby.
- Never at any point sleep with your newborn baby when you had an alcoholic drink, or smoke or have taken drugs even prescription medicine.
Beds for co-sleeping
Co-sleeping is good for both the newborn baby and the parent, and it also creates a special bond between both of them. However, in some cases it does put a strain on a relationship when a newborn baby invades the marital bed.
Also know that a baby can keep the mother awake with constant noise and movement and she will not get the rest she so desperately needs.
Looking for co-sleeping products?
Apart from co sleeping in the family bed parents also have the possibility to sleep close to their baby with products specially designed for newborn co sleeping.
A popular product is the Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper Bassinet that eliminates the risks that comes with bed sharing. This little crib allows one side to flush against the parental bed.
The benefits of co-sleepers are that the infant is sleeping safely on its back in his own space; still you do not need to get out of your bed to feed or comfort him.
Bassinet or cradle
Newborn co sleeping bassinet
For newborn co sleeping there are other options like a bassinet or a cradle. They are smaller in size than the usual crib for baby and take up less space in the parent’s bedroom.
Although, they are only suitable for the first months because of their size, they will make babies sleep better as they feel cozier and more secure.
Recommended by the CJ foundation for SIDS and definitely my favorite is the Halo bassinet swivel sleeper. The bassinet has a stable "swivel" base that allows you to rotate the bassinet 360 degrees so you can bring your baby close to you.
The sides are made of a breathable mesh so mothers can keep an eye on their baby and to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Another option is the Moses basket, which is compact, lightweight and cheap. They are usually made of natural materials like wicker or straw wrapped in maize. Although they come with handles suggesting you can carry your baby in it, for safety reasons most manufacturers advice against this.
Most baskets are made of natural woven fiber and with intensive use there may be breakages after some time. When carrying your baby in a Moses basket, always support the bottom with one hand for safety.
The basket can be used on the floor next to the adult bed or on a special wooden stand. How long baby can sleep in a Moses basket depends on his height and weight. Stop using the basket when a baby is able to pull himself up, usually around the age of 3 to 4 months.
How to end co-sleeping?
After years of co sleeping with your child, inevitably the moment will arrive that you’d like him or her to sleep in a separate room. Logically most children will protest to this transition. Here are some tips to help you weaning a toddler off co sleeping;
- Prepare your child by talking several days about the upcoming transition. Explain that he or she will have his/her own bed and they may get even more exited if you let them help you choose the bedding themselves.
- Once your child is in its own bed give him something comforting to sleep with. This can be your pillow or one of your pajamas, something the smell of your skin lingers on.
- You may consider sleeping for a few days in the child’s new room until he ro she gets used to it. It is not advisable to share the same bed again as this may create a new challenge you will have to deal with again.
You can find more information about gently stopping co-sleeping in the book, Good Night Sleep Tight, by Kim West (the Sleep Lady).
When newborn co sleeping is done safely, it can save infant’s lives and contributes to the baby’s and mother’s health and well being.