In my previous post, I discuss the benefits to co sleeping with baby. In this post, I will go into more detail on safely co sleeping with baby.
Experts recommend that if your child is aged 0-6 months, he/she is better off sleeping in a Moses basket in your room, or on his back in a cot. This also applies to daytime naps. Even if you do not intend to co-sleep regularly with your baby, there are cases when it will be better to bring her into your bed for feedings or soothing. If you are doing dishes or laundry and you want to watch your baby while they nap, having a Moses basket is really convenient because you can easily scoop up your baby and take them wherever you go in your house.
Here are some really good quality Moses baskets from Amazon:
Some circumstances are not conducive for safely co-sleeping with your baby due to the high risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. Some factors will increase the risk of SIDS significantly for example:
Drugs or alcohol can affect your memory and you might forget that the baby is on the sofa or in the bed with you. You may end up sleeping so soundly that you become unaware that you have rolled onto the baby, or that he/she has become trapped between you and the sofa. Experts also recommend that you avoid co-sleeping when you are extremely tired for the same reason. It is also advised not to co-sleep with the baby if he/she has been discharged from a neonatal unit.
Practicing safe co-sleeping with your baby is always important regardless of your child’s age as there are always things capable of causing harm to the baby. Here are some tips on how to co-sleep safely with your baby so you can both reap the benefits.
If you know you will not be able to deal with it is something bad happened to your baby while co-sleeping then it might not be right for you. Consider your all the factors, and always reflect back to your childhood, as far back as you can remember, and think about your experiences with your parents. Did you sleep in your own bed for as long as you can remember and remember how lonely and afraid you were every night? If so, you may feel better having your child in bed with you.
The situation may be unsafe for the baby if both parents do not agree with the decision to co-sleep. The disagreeing parent may forget that the baby is in the bed and roll over during the night without knowing it, which can be a disastrous situation. You should also avoid co-sleeping if either parent is angry or if you have recently fought. Sleeping when angry can result in less control and more movement in the night even if you both would never harm the child intentionally. Just be aware of that.
Ensure you wake your partner when getting into bed with the baby if you are going to sleep later than him or her. Make sure your partner knows there is a child in the bed with both of you. It might be slightly inconvenient for both of you but it can do a lot to ensure your child’s safety as you sleep.
If your cat or dog is used to sleeping with you in the bed, you will need to make a choice if you are considering co-sleeping. Animals and babies should not sleep in one bed at the same time. It could be bad for your baby if she/he has animal allergies that you are unaware of, not to mention the pet can also sleep on top of the baby resulting in suffocation. In some cases, the pet can become jealous and harm the baby on purpose in the night. Until your baby is at least 20 pounds or a year old would be a good idea as a good time to have pets in bed at the same time.
It may be hard to keep yourself from moving pillows around during the night but you should always keep them away from the baby’s face as you co-sleep. This prevents accidental suffocation. You also shouldn’t use any big blankets or thick comforters either. If you must, make sure they are light lightweight and only wrapped around you, no near baby. Even just use a sheet if possible because you do not want to give anything a chance to suffocate your baby.
Some parents are peaceful sleepers while the same cannot be said for others; some of them may throw blankets and pillows off in the night. If this sounds like you, put a bed rail up to prevent you from knocking the baby off the bed when you turn over during the night, or maybe just not use blankets or pillows at all. Could you image accidentally knocking your baby off the bed in the middle of the night because you were half asleep and unknowingly did that? Omg…
Some experts say to place the baby between the mommy and the wall or the rail, you actually shouldn’t have baby between mommy and daddy. People like Elizabeth Pantley, who is the author of The No Cry Sleep Solution – think that dads, grandparents, older siblings and babysitters just don’t have that same “instinctual awareness” on the baby’s location and just can’t naturally respond to baby’s needs and baby’s positioning on the bed. Pantley also says that moms who are really deep sleepers, who just cannot wake up to baby’s subtle movements, just should refrain from co sleeping.
If you breastfeed your baby while lying down and she is on her side, ensure you put her back to sleep on her back after she is done. This helps to reduce the risk of SIDS.
The mattress must be firm and not quilted or soft, with a tight-fitted sheet used over it. Use only one firm pillow and preferably a cotton blanket kept away from the baby’s face. Try to sleep on the edge of the pillow and push it away from the baby. You can also place the baby higher up on the bed while making sure there is no gap where she can become wedged.
This may sound really silly. But you should consider recording yourself while you sleep on some nights. You might not be aware that you either talk in your sleep, walk in your sleep, fight ( punch at the air ) in your sleep, rock back and forth either slowly or aggressively, I mean you don’t know these things because you are sleeping. If your baby’s well-being and safety is important to you, doing things like recording yourself while you sleep can prevent a very serious consequence to being unaware of your sleep habits.
So whether you are happily co sleeping because you made a conscious decision to do so because for you it is emotionally satisfying and totally in tune with your parenting style, or whether you just sort of ended up with your baby in bed with you as the path of least resistance, safely co sleeping with baby involves doing all security checks and making sure all members of the family who share the bed are on board and aware of baby being in bed.
How is your family co sleeping together? What are some challenges you face while having your little one(s) in bed with you? Leave me a comment below on your experience of co sleeping with your kids!