Co-sleeping is often advised against in our society, but it can be beneficial for parent and baby when done correctly and safely. Several studies show that countries where co-sleeping is the norm have lower SIDS rates.
- Co-sleeping regulates a baby’s temperature and heart rate.
- It makes breastfeeding easier by having baby close by for quick feedings.
- It creates an emotional bond between baby and parents.
- Co-sleeping babies startle less and wake less, creating better-rested baby and parents.
I co-slept with my daughter frequently when she was a newborn, and still do on occasion when she is sick or we are visiting family and in an unfamiliar bed. It gave me peace of mind to feel my daughter breathing next to me throughout the night, and it was much nicer waking up to her gentle coo’s instead of lonely screams.
Knowing your own sleep style and pattern is a key part of the decision to co-sleep. Make sure you prepare your bed for your baby if you want to try sharing a sleeping space.
- Do not co-sleep if you or your partner are heavy sleepers who do not rouse easily.
- Do not co-sleep if you have had any alcohol or medication that will make it harder to wake you.
- Do not co-sleep if you are a smoker.
- Use a guardrail on the edge of the bed or make sure the bed is pushed flush against a wall.
- Push the mattress flush against the headboard to eliminate any gaps baby could fall through.
- Always place baby on her back to sleep.
- Do not use loose sheets, blankets or pillows near baby.
For more info or to find studies regarding co-sleeping, you can check out www.askdrsears.com or www.kellymom.com.