It’s one of those parenting choices that comes with so much judgement! Also, everyone seems to be an expert and there’s so many conflicting facts and even more opinions, that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and maybe even guilty.
The most important thing…The most important thing I can say and stress is that parents who bed share should do so intentionally! Many dangers can be eliminated simply by making the intentional choice to bed share—sometimes called co-sleeping, though co-sleeping can be room sharing or bed sharing.
Related Post: 6 Ways Babies Benefit from Babywearing
Safe sleep surfaceIf you’re going to host the family bed, then the bed needs to be safe for your little one. Eliminating risks of entrapment, suffocation, and falls is the priority here.
- Take your bed off its frame, so it’s closer to the ground.
- Make sure you have a firm mattress.
- Keep room at a comfortable temperature, so you can eliminate excess blankets, pillows, etc.
- Pull bed away from wall and remove other risks that might provide opportunity for baby to become trapped.
Don’t be a risk factor!Part of being an intentional bed sharer is knowing what conditions and choices can make it inappropriate and, most importantly, dangerous for you to sleep with your baby.
- If you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including many prescription drugs), then you shouldn’t bed share with your infant.
- If you’re obese, then it can be dangerous to share sleeping space with your baby.
- If you’re overtired, your child is safer sleeping solo.
- If you’re a smoker, you shouldn’t sleep with your baby because of the increased risk of SIDS.
Never ever, ever…Couches, loveseats, recliners, etc. are never a safe place for baby to sleep. This is true for parents who sleep with their babies, as well. There are lots of reasons, but at least one is all the crevices where baby can slip or slide and become stuck and strangle, suffocate, etc.
Where to learn more?If you want more information about bed sharing, room sharing, co-sleeping, or just are seeking general knowledge about family sleeping arrangements, then here are three links that can help you!
- KellyMom on Co-sleeping and Bed Sharing—Includes an abundance of links to other resources, as well.
- University of Notre Dame Mother-Baby Sleep Lab—Has lots of info, as well as guidelines about sharing sleeping space
- James McKenna and FAQs about Co-sleeping
There is no one “right” way to do this parenting thing, so if you’re considering bed sharing or maybe bed sharing has chosen you, then safety is what is important! Finding what works for your family is what’s important and remembering that all children are different is helpful, as well.
Nothing in this post constitutes medical advice and I’m not give medical or “professional” information. I’m simply a mom sharing info with others who, hopefully, find it useful and thought provoking.
We love bed sharing in our home, but it’s been different with each of our kids. How do sleeping arrangements work in your home?