There are loads of choices that you’re faced to make when you’re pregnant with your baby: Do I bottle-feed or breastfeed? Do I wear baby or use a stroller? Should I be co-sleeping or should baby go in a nursery?
There are many mixed views regarding co-sleeping and what is safe and not safe. in this article, we’ll explore whether or not co-sleeping is safe and what practices you should use to make sure that it works for everyone in your family.
What is co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping is when you sleep in close proximity to your child. This can mean in bed with you or in the same room as you.
While babies have been rooming in with their parents around the world for centuries, North American ideals have seemingly disputed these practices up until recent times. While the idea of a “nursery” is still regarded in some families the idea of co-sleeping has become more widely accepted amongst new parents who have been provided with research to support this practice.
There are many reasons why parents choose to co-sleep:
-parents and children get more sleep throughout the night
-breastfeeding is easier to establish and maintain
-co-sleeping reduces SIDS by up to 50%
Is it safe to co-sleep?
There are loads of benefits to having your baby room in with you, and there are certain ways that you can make sure that any surface you put your baby on is safe for them to sleep:
-don’t use soft surfaces, such as pillowtop mattress covers, sheepskin pads, waterbeds, pillows, beanbags, etc.
–always put baby to sleep on their back
-mattresses should be taut to the wall or headboard. Bedding should also fight tightly on the mattress.
-remove pillows or stuffed animals that could suffocate baby
These guidelines apply to any surface that you put your baby on whether it’s their own crib, a co-sleeper, or if you’re bed-sharing.
Wait, what’s bed-sharing?
Bed-sharing is the practice of bringing your baby into bed to sleep with you. While this is a highly controversial parenting topic there is a lot of evidence supporting it (check out James McKenna-sleep expert-and his opinion on the matter).
Along with the safety precautions detailed above for co-sleeping, there are some other considerations you need to make if you’re thinking about bringing your baby into bed with you:
-Was baby born at term? Pre-term or low-weight babies may be safer in the same room but another sleeping surface
-Are the parent(s) smokers? Second-hand smoke from being in the direct vicinity of a smoking parent can increase the risk of SIDS considerably
-Are the parent(s) under the influence of drugs or alcohol? This may make them less aware of baby’s presence and needs
-Do the parent(s) have long hair? It will need to be tied back to reduce the chance of strangling baby
–Is the baby being breastfed? Bed-sharing is recommended only for parents who are breastfeeding.
-Are there other children in the bed? If your baby is coming in bed with you it’s important that older siblings aren’t present. They don’t have the same awareness that the parent does of the baby.
-Is the baby dressed appropriately? Keep heavy clothes for another time. Dress baby in light sleepers to avoid over-heating.
-Do both parents agree that bed-sharing is the preferred sleeping arrangement?
-Are the parent(s) extremely obese?
When considering bed-sharing these are questions that you need to ask yourself and your partner. While research is important to do your gut instinct and comfort level is a huge component of whether you choose to co-sleep or bed-share with your baby.
How do you co-sleep?
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You have a few options when it comes to how you want to co-sleep with your baby. Fortunately, there are some great products that allow for seamless co-sleeping:
A bedside bassinet is a small bed for baby that is put right beside your bed. This gives you the space of your own bed but allows for you to easily reach in and take baby out without having to get out of bed.
The Arm’s Reach Versatile Co-Sleeper adjusts to the height of your bed and allows for the option of the bassinet to actually sit directly on top of your mattress.
One thing to note: The above model is the only one that’s available in Canada due to regulations. My friends to the South, you are free to order anything on the website without issues!
For everyone: Use coupon code “MODERN” to receive 10% off of all products at www.armsreach.com
Another option is the Bily bassinet. There are some bells and whistles on this guy (vibration, music, nightlight) and it can be rolled around or made to be stationary. This was the bassinet that I used and I absolutely loved it for my kids!
In bed co-sleeper
Having an in-bed co-sleeper works really well if you have a large bed or if only one parent is sleeping bed. This goes right on top of your mattress and acts as a bedside co-sleeper by providing the solid, breathable surface that is required for baby.
You don’t need anything special for this method of co-sleeping. Make sure that you’ve gone through the recommendations mentioned above to ensure that your bed is the safest environment for your sleeping baby.
All of this information regarding co-sleeping is meant to inform you of the options available and the benefits that it can provide. It is up to you to make an informed decision on which method of sleeping is going to suit you and your family best.
Get the facts. Trust your instincts.
Did you co-sleep with your babies? What was your experience?