Six things to know for co-sleeping with baby
Co-sleeping is sleeping within close proximity to your baby.
Co-sleeping does not necessarily mean sharing a bed with your baby but it can also mean sleeping in the same room with the baby.
Co-sleeping has numerous benefits to the baby and the mother. It has many benefits: it can make breastfeeding easier, increases the bond between the mother and the baby, and makes the baby fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
The debate of whether to co-sleep or not has been around for a while and has elicited a lot of reactions from different people. The truth is, the decision to co-sleep with your baby is usually a personal one. Before you decide to co-sleep with your baby, it is important to understand the necessary precautions that will make the experience more convenient and safe for the baby.
Below, we discuss some safety tips when co-sleeping with your baby.
Always supervise your baby
If you have decided to share your bed with your baby, do not leave the baby unattended. Babies take many naps during the day and you may not always be available to accompany them in the bed. In such instances, you can let them sleep in the crib and leave the bed for the evenings when you are available to supervise them.
Invest in a good co-sleeper
Co-sleepers come in different forms and styles. Co-sleepers can be a good option when you are sharing your bed with your baby because they provide some sort of a safety barrier between you and the baby.
Some great options for co-sleepers are portable baby loungers and nest beds. They are made with soft, breathable materials that ensure your baby remains comfortable throughout the night. They also have well-designed headrests and pillows to support the baby’s head and prevent the flat head syndrome. They can be used in different rooms as they are portable and lightweight.
When co-sleeping with your baby, always ensure you dress yourself and the baby with warm clothes such that you don’t need heavy blankets. Blankets and other loose beddings can be risky to infants because they increase the chances of suffocation. If you have to cover yourself and the baby, use a light blanket and don’t cover the face of the baby.
Have the baby sleep on their back
To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), always have your baby sleep on their back and not on their tummy or the side. Also, ensure the surface is firm enough so that it does not interfere with their breathing.
The La Leche League has some great tips with their "Safe Sleep Seven."
Place your baby on the side
When you are co-sleeping with your baby, always place your baby on one side and not in the middle of two people. Placing your baby between you and your spouse can increase the risk of the baby getting rolled on. It can also make the baby uncomfortable due to excess heat.
Declutter your bedroom
When you decide to share your bed with your baby, it is important to review your room especially the area around the bed to ensure there are no potential hazards. These could include, items that can topple over, curtain blinds, or photo frames. Such items can accidentally fall on the baby and cause injury or suffocation.
When not to co-sleep with your baby
The following are instances when you should avoid co-sleeping with your baby.
- When you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication that can impair your judgement.
- When you or your spouse is a smoker
- When you are extremely exhausted or unwell.
If you decide to co-sleep with your baby, the most important thing is to always ensure you follow the recommended guidelines about co-sleeping.