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Everything You Need to Know About Co-Sleeping

What is Co-Sleeping?

Co-sleeping is simply sharing a bed with your baby.

Should I co-sleep with my baby?

Whether to co-sleep is a very personal choice and it is definitely worth arming yourself with as much information as possible to make an informed decision. Research shows that lots of parents who start off choosing not to sleep with their baby change their minds, so it’s important to share with you information on how to do it as safely as possible. There are also a few circumstances, which we will cover, where co-sleeping is unsafe.

When co-sleeping might be the right choice.

Some of the commonest reasons why so many parents choose to co-sleep are very straightforward: They find it helps them to get more sleep because they spend less time settling their baby down after feeding. Babies often sleep better close to their mums and it can make night time breastfeeding a whole lot easier. Also, many parents enjoy it!

When co-sleeping is definitely the wrong choice.

Some factors are associated with an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) when co-sleeping.

I strongly advise you not to co-sleep:

  • If your baby was born premature.
  • If either you or your partner smokes (even if you don’t smoke in the house) or if your baby is regularly exposed to smoke.
  • If your baby had a low birth weight (below 2.5kg)

Never co-sleep if either you or your partner are very drowsy or have drunk alcohol, taken drugs, including medications that may cause drowsiness (especially if the medication packet says do not operate any heavy machinery, that is a dead give-away!)

Tips For Co-sleeping Safely

  • Never place a baby between parents.
  • Clear a space for your baby away from pillows, duvets and stuffed toys or other things that could potentially suffocate or cause them to overheat
  • Make sure your baby cannot fall out of bed or get trapped between the mattress and the wall.
  • Avoid hats and overheating.
  • Babies should always sleep on their backs.
  • The mattress should be firm and flat (no nests or pods).
  • No pets in bed with you and baby!
  • The safest sleeping position is for your baby to be at nipple height, with you sleeping on your side and your knees pulled up to about 90 degrees creating a “c shaped” safe zone.
  • Avoid letting other children in the bed with your baby.

Never ever fall asleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby as this hugely increases the risk of SIDS If you can feel yourself drifting off while snuggling on the sofa it’s safest to put your baby down somewhere safe.

The Lullaby Trust has lots more excellent information on safe sleeping – Read further here

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Anna Bracher - Private Health Visitor

About Anna

RN, BA (HONS), MSC.

Anna is a qualified health professional specialising in sleep. Aiming to empower families to get more rest through responsive methods without leaving little ones to cry alone.

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