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Is there a safe way to co-sleep with my baby?
When I had my first baby, I was terrified of sleeping with her because I thought that I would roll over on her and she would pass in the night. And once we had our second child, I was still quite nervous and wanted to have him sleep in a bassinet next to our bed but never in bed with me.
Well, that didn’t work out as planned. Throughout the first few days of having our new baby home after having a c-section delivery, we put him to sleep next to me in the bassinet by our bed. But as he started needing to breastfeed more and more throughout the night, I began falling asleep during his nighttime feedings.
I remember waking up the next morning shocked that he had slept with me in bed and was able to sleep more soundly being next to me. And that’s when we started our co-sleeping routine.
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This page may contain affiliate links, however, I will never recommend anything that I do not believe in and use myself. You can read more about my disclosure policy here. I am not a medical professional of a doctor of any kind so always check with your child’s pediatrician before using these tips.
What Can Make Co-Sleeping Dangerous
So if you are an expecting mom you have probably heard from others that co-sleeping is dangerous and you should never sleep with your baby in your bed. Well, I thought the same thing. I was told by many that babies who sleep in the bed with their parents die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
But after doing a ton of research and learning from my own experience, I have found that there is a safe way to co-sleep with your baby.
However, there are some things that can definitely make co-sleeping with your baby dangerous. For example, it is not a good idea to co-sleep with your baby if any of the following applies to you:
- You are taking tranquilizing medications or intoxicated.
- If you are sleeping somewhere other than a bed, such as a couch or a chair.
- Your bed has gaps between the mattress and the wall which your baby can fall into and suffocate.
- You are a heavy sleeper and would not be aware that your baby is in the bed with you.
- You are a smoker. If you smoke, sleeping with your baby on the same surface exposes your baby to smoke that is left in your clothes and can heighten risks of SIDS for your baby.
Tips for Co-Sleeping Safely
So if you are interested in co-sleeping with your baby, then be sure to take all of these tips into consideration because they can provide a safe and comfortable environment for both you and your baby to co-sleep safely.
It has been found that breastfeeding mothers are much more sensitive to their baby while they are cosleeping which allows them to be aware and more instinctive to her baby’s needs during the night.
Breastfeeding mothers also often nurse their babies to sleep while in bed and the release of hormones during nighttime breastfeeding helps both mom and baby to fall asleep.
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2. Have Baby Next to Breastfeeding Mother
Sleeping arrangements while co-sleeping is crucial.
You should always place your baby to sleep next to their breastfeeding mother, but not between both parents. So the mother should be sleeping between the baby and anyone else in bed. This is because dad’s and any other kids that are in bed will not be as aware of the baby during the night.
3. Put Your Baby to Sleep Unswaddled
Okay so this may sound a bit strange because we all know that most babies love to be swaddled, but when it comes to co-sleeping it’s not a good idea.
When your baby is co-sleeping with their breastfeeding mother, they will naturally gravitate towards their mother for breast milk, warmth, and comfort. And if they are swaddled, they can overheat or be limited to get to their mother.
4. Enough Room in the Bed
If you are thinking about co-sleeping with your baby, you’re going to need a bed that will be big enough for you, your spouse, and your baby to all sleep comfortably.
The last thing you want is to be all on top of each other fighting for more space in the bed.
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5. Firm Mattress
Check to make sure that your mattress is firm and supportive so that your baby will not be sinking into a soft part of the mattress. If you need to invest in a new mattress before your baby is born.
6. Different Blankets
One tip that really worked for our family was each of us having our own blankets.
So for our baby, I always used a 100% cotton muslin blanket since because I knew that it was completely breathable for him. My husband had a heavier warm blanket that he cuddled up with behind me and I just used the sheet since I was always hot throughout the night.
7. Keep Pillows and Comforters Away from Your Baby
You want to keep all extra pillows and comforters away from your baby to prevent them from covering him/her.
I would usually fall asleep while breastfeeding my baby in a side-lying position, so I would use one pillow that was under my head and one small pillow between my knees. But we didn’t use any pillows for the baby. He was comfortable with just being on the mattress.
Once your baby starts learning how to roll over you will need something to prevent him/her from falling out of the bed and onto the floor. That’s where a bed rail comes in handy. Just secure it under your mattress and you have a barrier to prevent your baby from falling out of bed.
Just like everything in life, there are sometimes where co-sleeping with their baby in bed is not right for some parents – and that’s okay. Here are some really great alternatives for parents that want to keep their baby close to them but not in bed with them.
Did you know that there are numerous benefits for moms and babies that cosleep together at night? I honestly didn’t until I started co-sleeping with my son. Co-Sleeping can:
- Encourage nighttime breastfeeding because the baby is easily accessible.
- Help babies fall asleep much faster and stay asleep longer because they are next to their mother and feel safe and secure.
- Help Mom and baby get more sleep because you don’t have to get up to feed your baby throughout the night.
- Let Mom quickly comfort baby since you are right there able to assess their needs.
- Give more bonding time and more cuddling time.
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When to Stop Co-Sleeping
There is really no perfect answer for when you should stop co-sleeping with your child.
We stopped co-sleeping when my son was around 9 months old because he could not go to sleep anymore while I was next to him. He thought it was time to play instead of time to relax. That’s when we moved him into his own room to help him calm down for bed.