Updated: Dec 17, 2019
Type "bedsharing with baby" into your Google search and you will come up with a thousand different opinions, studies, hazards and benefits of bedsharing with your baby. Talk about confusing! My opinion is that parents should do whatever they feel comfortable doing. If you are choosing to have your baby sleep in a bassinet or crib, it's important to know how to safely set up their sleep space. If you are choosing to bedshare with you baby the recommendation is the same, do it safely. There are risks involved with both situations and there are obvious benefits involved as well. What works for one family may not work for another. Your role as parents, for your child's entire life, is to always take necessary precaution ensure their safety.
Bedsharing is something that has been done since the beginning of the human existence. It is a cultural practice that is normal and expected in a lot of countries. In our Western culture it has become something that parents admit to doing in a hushed voice or don't admit to doing at all. A lot of parents end up bedsharing out of desperation for sleep whether they had intended to do it or not. I recognize that life happens... Every. Single. Day... and what you did or believed yesterday may not be what you feel capable of doing today.
To keep your baby safe in your shared bed:
The mattress should be firm (no pillow-top), low to the ground and pulled away from the wall.
Babies should sleep on their backs.
No pillows, loose blankets, stuffed toys or infant body support pillows should be used.
Anyone sharing the bed cannot be under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medications that cause drowsiness as a side effect.
Anyone sharing the bed must be a non-smoker, not overweight or obese or overly tired.
The baby should wear clothing that will keep a steady body temperature and avoid becoming over-heated.
Breastfeeding and using a soother may help to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
The risk of SIDS in relation to bedsharing is much higher for babies under 4 months of age however, if safety is not taken into consideration, bedsharing can be risky for children of any age. As with everything, education is essential. Do you research and make an informed decision about where you want your child to sleep.
We talk all about sleep safety in the Love n’ Snuggles flagship sleep course, The Mother of All Sleep Courses. Check out the course here