Many parents choose to co-sleep with their infants to facilitate breastfeeding and allow everyone to get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, co-sleeping is rarely promoted by doctors as an option and parents frequently hide the fact that they co-sleep. It is important for co-sleeping to be discussed with parents so it can be done safely. Many times co-sleeping can be the best option for a family as long as the infant is safe and at no risk of being suffocated. The following tips will help for co-sleeping with an infant.
No Pillows or Loose Blankets
When sleeping with an infant it is important to ensure there are no loose pillows, sheets, or blankets that could suffocate the baby. If you must have a blanket on you tuck it in very tight at the bottom of the mattress and don’t allow it to go up more than halfway on the mattress so it can cover your body but not baby’s. Also, there should be no pillows on the bed. Some families find that placing a small pillow underneath the sheet works well because it has a significantly lower chance of moving.
Tight Fitting Mattress
One of the biggest dangers with co-sleeping is a mattress that does not fit tightly against the frame and/or wall. When there are cracks or spaces, even small ones, your baby could roll into them and suffocate. This has happened too many times and parents choosing to co-sleep must ensure there are no cracks their baby could roll into and that the mattress fits tightly on the bed.
No Smoking, Drugs, or Alcohol
Parents should not co-sleep with baby if they smoke, drink, or do drugs. This includes either parent. Exposure to second hand smoke is a risk factor with SIDS and parents who are on drugs or alcohol may not be able to respond to the baby or could even roll on top of the baby and suffocate him.
Done safely, co-sleeping is a wonderful way for families to get a good night’s rest and for everyone to reconnect.