Co-Sleeping With A Newborn: Is Co-Sleeping Safe?

Co-Sleeping With A Newborn: Is Co-Sleeping Safe?

As new parents, you and your partner may have had the discussion on where to put your baby to sleep at night.

Most people will put their newborn to bed in a crib or a bassinet next to the bed or in another room. Then you have others who have absolutely no problems with having baby sleeping with parents.

Family In Bed

Today, we’re going to highlight the pros and cons of co-sleeping with a newborn, at what age should you stop sleeping with your baby, as well as some tips for safe co-sleeping.

What Is Co-Sleeping?

Co-sleeping is a term that describes when parents or a caregiver sleeps with, or in close proximity, to their baby. Some different ways families approach co-sleeping include:

  • Family Beds – This term is in reference to baby sleeping with parents in the same bed
  • Sidecar – This arrangement is when you attach the crib or bassinet to the side of the bed (usually the mother’s side, as she will be the one to feed the baby) and three sides of the crib are erected. The open side of the crib is next to the bed, which makes it easier for mom to get to baby
  • Different Beds – With this arrangement, your baby sleeps in their crib or (bed if the child is older) which is in the same room as you
  • Open Door Policy – Although children have their own rooms, some parents will welcome their children into their bed when it’s needed. This usually happens when the child has a nightmare, can’t go to sleep, or if they aren’t feeling well

Benefits Of Co-Sleeping With Newborns

Co-sleeping isn’t just beneficial for newborns and children, it’s beneficial for everyone in the family. Some of these benefits include:

  • Parents will get more sleep because they aren’t listening to the baby monitor every few minutes, listening for the baby to cry or wake up
  • Not only do parents get more sleep, but so does the baby. During the night, your baby’s going to get hungry and will need to be fed. Since your little one is right next to you, you’ll be able to feed them, comfort them, and put them back to sleep much quicker
  • Breastfeeding when your baby is sleeping with parents becomes much easier for mom because 1, the baby is right there and you don’t have go through the typical breastfeeding routine; and 2, when you breastfeed at night rather than giving baby a bottle, it’s easier to maintain a steady milk supply
  • The risk of SIDS is reduced by 50% when your baby sleeps with you or in the same bed

Drawbacks Of Co-Sleeping

Although the benefits of co-sleeping, there are some drawbacks as well:

  • Co-sleeping with a newborn means your time with your partner isn’t going to be as intimate as it was before baby. For most people, being intimate at bedtime is one of the easiest ways of staying connected to your partner. However, when your baby is sleeping in the same bed (or even in the same room), that intimacy could suffer
  • Co-sleeping inhibits independence in children. When a baby is always being held at bedtime, of course they’ll fall asleep. As they get older though, you’ll find it to be much more difficult getting your child to go to sleep unless they sleep in your bed, or you sleep in theirs

Tips For Safe Co-Sleeping

If you decide that you want your baby sleeping with you, then you’ll want to create a safe co-sleeping space when sharing your bed with your baby. You can do that by following these tips:

  • Always put your baby on its back when it’s bedtime
  • Baby’s sleep surface should be firm. Do not let your baby sleep on soft surfaces such as: pillows, beanbags, waterbeds, or fuzzy blankets
  • The mattress should be snug against the headboard and the side of the crib so your baby doesn’t roll over and become trapped
  • All sheets should have a tight fit on the mattress
  • Do not leave any loose sheets, blankets, or stuffed animals near your baby’s face because it could suffocate them
  • Never fall asleep with your baby on anything but a mattress. If you and baby are sleeping on a sofa, a recliner, or futon, baby could slip and get trapped between the cushions of the furniture and yourself
  • When bedsharing, you should never swaddle your baby because they could get overheated because they cannot move the blankets away from their face, thus increasing risk of SIDS
  • If your baby is under 12-months old, they should only be sharing a bed with its parents – never with siblings or other children
  • If you have long hair, make sure your hair is tied up so that it doesn’t get into baby’s face
  • Never sleep with your baby if you’ve been drinking, doing drugs, or have taken some kind of sedative medication because it can make it harder for you to wake up with a child sleeping next to you
  • Before you start co-sleeping with a newborn, you have to make sure your partner is okay with this. You don’t want to put your baby in bed with you and your partner be completely unawares because it could be a very dangerous situation

Final Thoughts

Co-sleeping isn’t going to be for everyone and it isn’t a decision you should take lightly. We don’t recommend parents diving blindly into this sleeping arrangement because it’s more than just sharing a bed with your baby.

Couple Standing Over Baby Crib

You have to create a safe environment for your little one, but you also have to be mindful of yourself when and how you sleep.

Leave us a comment below to share your co-sleeping stories, tips, and advice. We’d love to hear from you!