How to Safely Bed Share
Bed sharing, also known as co-sleeping, is a practice where parents and infants sleep in close proximity to each other. This bonding experience can be beneficial for both the baby and the parents. However, it is crucial to ensure safety while bed sharing to reduce the risk of accidents or harm. Here are some guidelines to follow for safe bed sharing:
1. Choose a Firm Mattress: Opt for a firm mattress without any gaps or indentations. This provides a stable surface for both the baby and parents to sleep on.
2. Clear the Bed: Remove any pillows, blankets, or stuffed toys from the bed, as they can pose a suffocation hazard to the baby. Keep the bed clean and free of any potential hazards.
3. Create a Safe Sleeping Space: Use a co-sleeper or a sidecar bassinet to create a separate sleeping space for the baby while still being close to the parents. This ensures a safe sleeping environment for the baby.
4. Practice Safe Bedding: Use a fitted sheet that securely covers the mattress. Avoid using loose blankets or comforters as they can increase the risk of suffocation. Instead, dress the baby in appropriate sleepwear to keep them warm.
5. Avoid Alcohol, Drugs, and Smoking: Never bed share if you have consumed alcohol, drugs, or if you smoke. These substances can impair your ability to be aware of your baby’s presence and increases the risk of accidents.
6. Keep Siblings Away: Do not allow older siblings to sleep in the same bed as the baby. Young children may not be aware of the baby’s presence and can accidentally roll over or suffocate the baby with their movements.
7. Be Mindful of Positioning: Always place the baby on their back to sleep. This reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Avoid having the baby sleep between two adults as this can increase the risk of accidental suffocation.
Common Questions and Answers:
1. Is bed sharing safe for all parents and babies?
Bed sharing is generally safe for healthy, full-term babies when practiced correctly. However, it is not recommended for parents who smoke, have consumed alcohol or drugs, or have certain medical conditions.
2. At what age is it safe to start bed sharing?
Experts recommend waiting until the baby is at least six months old to practice bed sharing, as they are better able to regulate their body temperature and have better head control.
3. Can bed sharing affect breastfeeding?
Bed sharing can make breastfeeding easier and more convenient, as the baby can nurse more frequently throughout the night. It promotes bonding between the mother and baby.
4. What if I am a heavy sleeper?
If you are a deep sleeper, consider using a co-sleeper or sidecar bassinet to keep the baby close while maintaining a separate sleep surface. This way, you can still be near your baby without compromising safety.
5. What if my baby rolls over during sleep?
Once your baby starts rolling over independently, it’s time to transition them to their own separate sleep space. Rolling over increases the risk of suffocation, especially when bed sharing.
6. Are there any benefits to bed sharing?
Bed sharing can promote a stronger bond between the baby and parents, increase breastfeeding success, and facilitate better sleep for both the baby and parents.
7. What should I do if I am unable to bed share?
If bed sharing is not an option or if it doesn’t work for your family, consider room sharing instead. Place the baby’s crib or bassinet near your bed to keep them close while still having a separate sleep space.
In conclusion, bed sharing can be a safe and enjoyable practice when done correctly. By following these guidelines, you can create a safe sleeping environment for your baby while fostering a closer bond with them. Always prioritize the safety and well-being of your child and consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.