Co-sleep Safety: Everything about co-sleeping with baby

The comprehensive co-sleep safety guide for all parents

By Joseph T
Co-sleep Safety: Everything about co-sleeping with baby

Co-sleeping has remained a controversial discussion online, and it implies sleeping in close range to your baby and not necessarily on the same bed surface. It is recognized that in the first six months, the safest place for your baby to sleep is in a separate bed or a cot, though it can be in the same room.  While he/she sleeps on his/her back, co-sleeping has been proven to reduce your child chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also called the Cot Death.

The Pros and Cons of Co-sleep

Below are 4 advantages of co-sleep: 

1. Nurtures and Comfort Your Baby

Many breastfeeding mothers who co-sleep with their babies have acknowledged that it brings comfort and nurture their babies i.e. it results in less crying or experiencing distressed behavior. The placing of your baby on the same bed surface or in a cot close to your bed can equally decrease your baby anxiety which can further result into having a less disruptive sleeping pattern and also good quality of sleep.

2. Makes Breastfeeding Easier

With co-sleeping, breastfeeding mothers don’t necessarily have to get up at night to breastfeed their babies. While standing up intermittently can be quite exhausting and physically challenging, co-sleeping with your baby within your arms reach will assist both you and your baby to easily get back to sleep afterward.

3. Makes Your Baby Feel Safe

As early as six to seven months old, many babies tend to show signs of anxiety. Your baby during this period might scream out loud once you leave him/her in the room or your baby might be quite reluctant to be carried by other family members, this is a normal stage of development which every baby have to pass through. While the stage will, however, pass with time, co-sleep is often the best means of re-assuring babies that they are safe and you are with them always.

4. Helps Mothers Recover from Postnatal Depression

With more than one in fifteen new mothers believed to be suffering from postnatal depression, researches have indicated that co-sleeping with your baby can help mothers prevent and overcome such traumatic experience.

The Cons of Co-sleep

Below are another 4 disadvantages of co-sleep:

1. Increase the Risks of SIDS

While the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is quite rare, the chances of your baby developing such syndrome can however greatly increase once you and your partner have been consuming alcohol excessively, smoking or using e-cigarettes in bed and when both parents have been under medications or drugs that cause drowsiness.

2. Disrupts Father and Mother's Relationship

One of the most dangerous impacts of co-sleeping is that it disrupts a mother and father’s relationship. While the mindset of a man heading hurriedly from work to the house is having sex, on reaching home he might find the baby in the room which is not the best recipe for active sex life thereby undermining their sexual relationship.

3. Increase Risk of Child Falling Out of Bed

Yes! Co-sleeping can be very safe, and can also be very unsafe if your baby eventually falls out of his/her crib or cot. It is expected that parents get a firm bed with no gaps around their edges; this would prevent your baby from getting hurt and squashed.

4. Might Allow Your Baby Overheat

Overheat is another possibility that could occur as a result of co-sleeping which can lead to SIDS. While it is essential to snuggle up with your newborn baby, it is required that they stay at an even temperature throughout the night. As a breastfeeding mother, it is recommended that you and your baby sleep in warm clothes and not in blankets in order to avoid the occurrence overheat.

Tips for Co-sleeping

With the 9 inseparable months between a mother and her baby, it is very natural for you to want to stay close as much as possible, even while sleeping. However, there are some tips for co-sleeping you should be conversant with before deciding if you can embark on it or not.

8 Important Tips for Co-sleeping With Your Child

  1. Place him/her to sleep on his/her back
  2. Avoid duvet and blanket.
  3. Always wear simple warm clothes to bed.
  4. Be sure your baby mattress is firm.
  5. Carefully check for crevices and gaps in your baby mattress or cot.
  6. Avoid pets for sleepovers.
  7. Avoid alcohol and cigarettes when going to bed.
  8. Importantly, never leave your child unattended to.

Co-sleep Safety

Co-sleeping is usually thought to be synonymous with bed sharing, meaning allowing your baby to sleep in the same bed with you and your partner. However, bed sharing and co-sleeping are two different practices. The term ‘co-sleep’ means the placing of your baby to sleep in the same room as you either on the same or separate bed. If you ever decide to co-sleep with your baby, there are important co-sleep safety you would have to know.

Some of which includes:

  1. Place your child where he/she cannot fall out or get stuck. Importantly, put your child away from the walls and pillows as he/she might suffocate and get trapped
  2. Create a safe sleep environment for your child and avoid harsh perfumes and deodorant.
  3. Secure your child perimeter by moving possible entrapment hazards and furniture away from your child’s bed. While if your bedroom has concrete/tile/wood floor, it then a good idea to cushion it up a bit.
  4. Preferably use lightweight blankets or an infant sleeping bag for your child; this will prevent your child from sharing with you your bedding and duvet.
  5. While babies can easily suffocate, it is also very important that you don’t place babies between parents. Tenderly place your child beside one parent, preferably the mother.
  6. Avoid using water bed or any mattress that is soft underneath. Hence, be sure your child’s bed is laid very firmly.

Newborn Position To Take Note

When your baby arrives, it is expected to have numerous questions on how to care for them. More importantly, is how to position your newborn. Below are newborn positions to take note of:

Cradle Hold

This is one of the best and easiest ways to hold your newborn for the first six to seven weeks. With your child horizontally held at your chest level, you can slide your hand from their bottom and also support their neck. Equally, nudge the head of your baby into your elbow while cradling their head; gently move your other hand from your baby’s arm to the bottom.

Belly Hold

For the belly hold, you can lay your child stomach down, across your forearm with his/her head up towards your elbow. Additionally, your child’s feet should lie on either side of your hand. This position is required if your baby is gassy. You can also gently stroke his/her back to release out the gas.

Lap Hold

For this position, it is required that you sit in a chair with your feet firmly on the ground. Then, you will place your baby on your lap while his/her hand should be on your knees facing up. You can afterward, place both of your hand under their body for support.

Shoulder Hold

This position would make your baby practically feel your heartbeat. Lay your baby’s body parallel to yours, lifts his/her head to your shoulder height. Then, rest your child’s head on your chest and shoulder; this would give your baby a soothing relief.

Newborn On Chest

Many parents allow their newborns to fall asleep on their chest. According to researches, once your baby sleep on your chest, you expose them to the risk of developing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It increases the chances of your child being suffocated because their face might have been covered by your shoulder.

On the other hand, allowing your newborn to sleep on your chest improves your relationship with them, mainly due to the skin to skin contact. It is revealed that skin to skin contact between a mother and her child acts as a painkiller and help reduce birth fatigue and apneas.

Related Article: What are the Big NOs for baby sleeping on stomach
What are the Big NOs for baby sleeping on stomach
Is it okay for baby sleeping on stomach and the risks of doing so

Conclusion

A lot of parents find it very much comfortable to have their baby in bed with them and also see it as the best way of having a good night rest. Many parents, on the other hand, find themselves dozing off while breastfeeding their baby in bed and keeps wondering if ever co-sleeping would work better for them and their baby. There are comprehensive co-sleep safety guide resources, including this article here. It is important to discuss with your medical adviser to know if co-sleeping is suitable for you and your baby.

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