Co-sleeping is when parents sleep in the same bed as their baby.
Culture and convenience (easier for mothers to breastfeed) play a role in a parents' decision to co-sleep with their child. People also believe that sleeping in the same bed gives their child a sense of security and helps in bonding.
Daddy’s Digest has put together a set of pointers to help fathers better understand baby sleep arrangements.
Here is what you need to know.
1. Co-sleeping or bed sharing can increase the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Do not co-sleep or bed share if you or your wife/partner smoke or take drugs (narcotics or even sedative prescribed medication) or consume alcohol.
2. To lower the risk of SIDS, for the first 6-12 months, experts recommend that your baby sleeps independently in a cot next to your bed. A side-car crib is another alternative, making it easier for the mother to breastfeed.
3. If your baby is less than three months old, born prematurely or with a low birth weight, it is not recommended to co-sleep or bed share.
4. Even if your baby is an independent sleeper, it may be tempting to bring your baby into the bed if they are having a difficult night or are struggling to sleep. There is a risk of fatal sleeping accidents if your bed is not setup safely.
A few safety tips if you and your partner do decide to co-sleep with your baby. Remember, it is important that both parents understand the risks and are in agreement.
- Never sleep on an armchair, rocking chair or sofa with your baby.
- Never leave your baby alone on the bed.
- Your baby must always sleep on their back. Never on the tummy.
- Your mattress must be firm.
- Keep bedding light and never share adult blankets with a baby. Make sure your baby’s head is uncovered during sleep. Do not let them get hot.
- Do not put your baby against pillows or a wall as they may get trapped and suffocate.
- Make sure they are placed where they cannot fall off the bed.
- It’s best that they sleep beside one parent. Sleeping in the middle could increase the risk of getting rolled over by a parent.
- Do not let your toddler share a bed with your newborn.
It is important to note that our guide is meant to give quick insight and outline the facts. Always consult with a qualified medical professional or childcare expert when taking important decisions regarding your child’s health.
Reviewed by: Julie Mallon
Date reviewed: 6th January, 2019
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