21 Things You Need to Know for Co Sleeping with Baby Safely
Glorious Parenthood! Safely Co-Sleeping with Baby
If you’ve become a new parent, then surely, you’ve recently experienced the happiness, and joy, that a child brings when they take that first gulp of air. Like most parents, you’ll want the best for your child, and one helpful method that’ll help you create a healthy environment for your young one is to safely co-sleeping with your baby.
Safely co-sleeping has caught the attention of many folks who’ve just entered the newfound world of parenthood. Many of the questions asked by new parents are:
What is co-sleeping?
Is co-sleeping safe?
Does co-sleeping really benefit my child?
How is co-sleeping with my baby beneficial to me?
How do I SAFELY co-sleep with my baby?
What age is it safe to co-sleep with my child?
What are some safe ways to sleep with newborn babies?
When should I stop co-sleeping with my baby? At what age?
In this article, we will provide answers to these questions. Not only will we address the queries above, but we will list 21 do’s and a list of don’ts that you should know when safely co-sleeping with your baby.
We will also explain a systematic process to change your baby over from co-sleeping to independent sleeping.
By the end of this article, you’ll be experts on how to safely co-sleep with your baby! So…
…are you ready?
Let’s begin with the first question.
What Is Co-Sleeping?
Co-sleeping is usually connected with sleeping close to your child. There are many ways to go about this, and each family usually finds their own method that they find comfortable. Some basic approaches have been identified as:
- Bed Sharing is Caring: Here, parents will sleep in the baby’s bed.
- The Sidecar: This route may cost some money, but it will make parent’s lives MUCH easier. The sidecar is an attachment that new parents can connect to their bed. This attachment is a crib where you child can peacefully sleep. This method agrees with parents because they don’t have to give up the comfort of their bed!
- The Two Beds Method: In this method, two beds are used. The second bed is set up in your child’s room.
- Sharing Your Bed: The last basic approach is to share your bed; allowing your child to snooze away in the comfort of your sheets.
These are but a few popular routes that parents take when co-sleeping with their baby, or babies, and we will explore these methods more throughout the article. Now, let’s address another question, shall we?
Here we go!
Is Co-Sleeping Safe?
Some of the methods just mentioned are safe to begin with, however, other methods should be cautiously approached. With the right knowledge, or a specifically safe method (such as The Sidecar approach), yes, co-sleeping with your baby is safe. When sharing your bed, however, many guidelines should be put into consideration.
In the following, we will elaborate on some of the safest ways to co-sleep with your child, but most importantly, we will explain to you how to co-sleep safely with your baby.
As we move right along, let’s look at the next, and maybe the most important, frequently asked question.
Does Co-Sleeping Really Benefit My Child?
How to Safely Co-Sleep with Your Baby: Avoiding Risks
Yes, there are risks when co-sleeping with your baby, and some controversy has arose when it comes to the subject of co-sleeping. Here are a few of the disputes:
- Parents say that co-sleeping has created dependent sleeping habits in their children.
- Some argue that night feeding can negatively affect a child’s nutritional state.
- With the dependence issue stated above, children may wish to sleep in their parent’s bed until well beyond their toddler years. Children need to be comfortable in with their own space. This is crucial in later development.
- SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) can be more likely to occur, however…
SIDS can be prevented with co-sleeping safety efforts.
Medical experts have something entirely different to say. Based on various research, medical scientists have found that the benefits children get from co-sleeping are astounding, but only if safely done that is.
Here are two strong reasons why co-sleeping is beneficial for your child:
- FOR ONE, studies have presented that co-sleeping with your child will help with them sleep more soundly. A child near his/her parent is less likely to wake up and cry. This asset brings with it many benefits, from keeping your child’s heart healthy with calmness, to preventing future anxiety disorders. The latter promotes healthy self-esteem in adulthood.
- FOR TWO, breastfeeding is much more effective when co-sleeping happens for various reasons as well. The mother is less stressed out, and has not far to go when her baby needs milk. Women also produce a better-quality of breast milk when they’re under less stress, meaning more nutrients for your baby. It has also been said that when babies are provided better milk, they will need LESS feedings, which means LESS WORK FOR YOU!
Parents should be aware of some co-sleeping guidelines for the above statements to prove true, but we will get into those a little later in the Do’s & Don’ts section. Before we move along, there are still some more benefits that you should know about!
- Co-sleeping will introduce your baby to a healthy sleep schedule, as the baby will eventually mimic your sleep patterns.
- Co-sleeping creates an early, and strong, bond between parent and child.
- Co-sleeping with your baby will keep the baby in a lighter sleep. Babies aren’t supposed to enter deep sleeps; it is not safe. Researchers have found that babies who co-sleep with their parents will avoid deep sleeps, as the presence of the parents will stir them awake every now and again…
However, DO NOT WORRY PARENTS, for if your baby stirs awake and feels safe, the chances of your baby crying are lessened, and most probably your baby will just fall back asleep.
What do you say we move onto the co-sleeping benefits offered to parents? We all know that new parents can use all the benefits they can get!
How Is Co-Sleeping with My Baby Beneficial For Me?
With the new challenging job of being a parent, anyone who has just recently had a baby deserves all the breaks that they can get. Well, parents, you are really going to like this…
CO-SLEEPING WITH YOUR BABY IS BENEFICIAL FOR YOU, TOO!
(especially new Moms)
Besides waking up next to your beloved baby, there are quite a few other benefits that Moms, and Dads, get from co-sleeping with their baby.
- More Sleep for Everyone: As we mentioned before, co-sleeping with your baby reduces the chances of your baby crying. So, the more your baby sleeps, the more YOU sleep.
- Breastfeeding Made Easier: Co-sleeping means that your baby will be close by, and breastfeeding will become much less strenuous for all you Moms out there. You will no longer dread long walks down the hallway to your nursery when it is time for late night breastfeeding.
- Provide Protection: When co-sleeping, you are in a constant position to monitor your baby. No more pacing back and forth between bedrooms every time you need to check on your baby.
- Less Stress on You: Becoming new parents opens a world of worry, as new parents want their baby to have the safest environment possible. Many parents will lose sleep knowing that their baby is another room, out of the reach of their protection. This feeling is natural and is part of being a human. Co-sleeping with baby safely nearby will keep you less worried, thus, reducing your levels of stress and anxiety.
How do I SAFELY co-sleep with my baby?
Now that we have covered the benefits for both baby and parent (s), we will explore the first half of our Co-Sleeping Safely with Baby: Do’s & Don’ts list. First, we will elaborate on 21 different Do’s to know when achieving a safe co-sleeping environment for your baby.
Safe Ways to Co-Sleep with Baby: The Do’s
There are numerous routes new parents can take when safely co-sleeping with their baby. We have researched and collected 21 of what parents should do when then wish to safely co-sleep with their baby. As the saying goes, the best comes last, so we will lastly share what we found to be the safest way to co-sleep with baby.
Ready be a co-sleeping expert? Let’s do this!
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #1: Create Protective Environment
When co-sleeping with your baby, the first thing you want to be aware of is making sure that your baby can’t roll off the bed. To do this, you must create a protective environment for your baby to sleep in.
Setting up a guardrail between the wall and your bed is the first thing you should do, as this will create a barrier that’ll prevent your baby from slipping into the crevice that separates your bed from the wall. The baby should sleep between Mom and the railing, as this will diminish any chance of your baby falling off the bed.
Make sure to keep that the baby is close by Mom, and not in between Mom and Dad.
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do # 2: Keep Mom Close
Research has gathered that women have an innate connection with their child; a much stronger connection than men. Many Moms have said that they can “feel” their baby next to them, even if they are deep in sleep. Fathers lack this innate trait.
To safely co-sleep with your baby, do make sure that your baby only sleeps next to Mom. This will heavily reduce any midnight accidents from occurring. Rolling over on your baby can result in disaster; from traumatizing your child, to possibly smothering your child to death. The natural wiring in Mom will make accidents like this impossible.
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do # 3: Baby on Back
When you place your baby to sleep, ALWAYS make sure to place the baby on his or her back. This will deplete any chances of SIDS from happening. Myths have spread that it is OK to place your baby on his or her side to sleep, but research shows otherwise.
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do # 4: Large Bed
To co-sleep with your baby in your bed requires a larger bed. It is highly urged to have a Queen bed, but it is better recommended to get a King bed. If you don’t already have a Queen or King bed, we know, this can sound like a hassle. However, it is much cheaper than purchasing a crib. Most cribs can be very costly, so this route will save you money.
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #5: The Mattress Matters
When co-sleeping with your baby in your bed, you’ll want to make sure that your bed has a sturdy, and firm, nature. Those soft and comfortable mattresses we love so much are no good for babies.
However, if you want to avoid parting with your soft mattress, there is a great alternative that works perfect. Just purchase a firm pillow and make sure to lay your baby on that. Cover them with a cotton blanket that only covers your baby’s body; avoid the face.
With the information above, you will prevent any kind of smothering disasters from happening.
You can find some hand-tested and recommended crib mattresses at The Sleep Judge.
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #6: Keep it Cool
Sustaining a cool temperature in the room is of extreme importance. Experts recommend that you keep the room temperatures between 65 and 68 degrees to reduce SIDS.
We know, that sounds a bit cold, but be aware that co-sleeping produces body heat. You and your child will be comfortably warm.
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #7: Long Sleeves & Baby Night Outfit
Heavy blanket coverage is one culprit of SIDS, and should be avoided. This’s why it’s smart to wear long sleeves, as well as making sure that you have provided your baby with a cozy night out fit.
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #8: Ween Down the Feeding
Make sure to properly manage your feedings. As babies who sleep closer to their Mothers stir often, they will usually demand breast milk. Slowly integrate a weening process for feeding, so your baby can adapt. Eventually, this will no longer happen.
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #9: Have a Prop Nearby
To make breast feeding more comfortable, and more effective, for you new-Moms out there, make sure to have a strong pillow nearby to set up as a prop. The nifty trick will save your back from a world of pain!
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #10: Long Hair
Long hair should be attended to when co-sleeping with your baby, Moms. Babies will naturally gravitate towards their Mothers while sleeping, and the last thing you want is a sleeping baby tangled up in your hair! If you have long hair, do make sure to tie it up before you go to sleep next to your baby.
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #11: Monitor Yourself
A lot of people, men and women, are unaware of their midnight movements.
- Restless Sleeping,
- Erratic movements…
All that was mentioned above can be happening to people without them even knowing it, as seen in some unsettling accounts, people move about in their sleep; sometimes drastically.
A good way to prevent this from happening is to set up video cameras in your room. Point them at your bed, and review the recorded footage the next day. If you’re a sleepwalker, or find on the recordings that you have any kind of irregular sleep behaviors, then your baby in your bed is a no go.
As we have covered, there are other methods that don’t require YOUR bed. Couples, monitor yourselves to be safe!
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #12: Sturdy Bedframe is Necessary
Another thing to do when co-sleeping with your baby is to invest in a sturdy bed frame. Parents should avoid mattresses on the ground, or rickety bed frames, as your babies are fragile, and should not sleep on even the slightest unstable beds.
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #13: Stay Near the Ground
Just in case, it is wise to have a bed that is close to the ground. Even though, by now, you have well established a safe co-sleeping environments with guardrails and such, when it comes to your baby, you want to make sure that every little detail is fail safe.
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #14: Set Alarms & Avoid Oversleeping
Another wise thing to do when co-sleeping with your baby is to set alarms. Have your phone nearby, but make sure that the ringer volume is no more than half way up. Set alarms for every couple of hours so you’ll avoid oversleeping. Exhaustion will make any new parent want to sleep for weeks on end, however, your baby should never go un monitored for long periods of time.
Most new parents won’t need an alarm to wake them up, as they have a baby for that! Nonetheless, every precaution must be met when it comes to your baby. Set alarms and avoid oversleeping!
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #15: Make Sure Space is Ample
Your baby should have an ample amount of space when co-sleeping. Anything that remotely signifies smothering should be 100% avoided, so give that baby some space!
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #16: Lightly Cradle Your Baby
Another great precaution to take when co-sleeping with your baby is to lightly, as in not tightly, cradle your baby. This will promise that your baby is in safe hands, and even with the other precautions at hand, this “do” just adds to the protection.
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #17: Play Peaceful Music
Music effects every human being, and it especially affects us when we’re very young. Music is good for the mind, and certain peaceful melodies will soothe you, and your baby, to sleep. This tip is relaxing, and good for your baby!
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #18: The Air Mattress
If for some reason co-sleeping in your bed is just not working for you and your partner, but you wish to offer your baby the benefits of co-sleeping, the next thing to do is invest in an air mattress. This will make it easy to set up sleeping quarters in your baby’s room.
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #19: Communicate Daily
If you and your partner have decided co-sleep with your baby, especially if you chose not to co-sleep in your bed, then it is important that you both having daily communications about sleeping shifts with your baby.
Co-Sleeping Safety, Do #20: Book Before Bedtime
This next thing you should do as a new, co-sleeping parent is great for you and your baby! Grab an imaginative book, one that has an appropriate storyline of course, and before bed, read aloud to your baby. Make sure you are interested in the book, too! This exercise is great for your baby’s mental development, as it will keep your mind sharp as well.
Most Convenient & Safest Way to Co-Sleep with Baby Do # 21: The Sidecar
Many new parents find it difficult to sleep with a baby in their bed. Therefore, this last tip we have for you has been considered not only the safest, but also the most convenient, way to co-sleep with your baby. With this handy accessory, you can co-sleep with your baby near you, and you will never have to commute from your room to your baby’s room ever again.
‘The Sidecar,’ will give you best of both worlds when it comes to co-sleeping with your baby, and it’s extremely safe. These mini cribs attach to your bed, so you can still co-sleep with your baby within arm’s reach. You will have your desired space, and so will your baby.
A great tool like this will also aid in the process of switching from co-sleeping, to independent sleeping when your baby becomes of age. Your baby having his or her own space also helps create independent behavior, something crucial in your baby’s development.
As we’ve just learned, co-sleeping is beneficial for you and your baby. There are many easy ways to successfully co-sleep, however, to every Yin there lies a Yang. There some risks that come with co-sleeping. Do not fear, new parents, for the risks can easily be avoided. There is a broad list of things to avoid, and not do altogether, and by following the upcoming guidelines, Mom and Dad will be co-sleeping with baby safely with no problems or worries.
Before we get into out Don’ts list, we would like to cover potential risks that may occur when co-sleeping with your baby. Remember, if you heed to the Do’s and Don’ts list in this article, then you will not have to worry about any of these risks, however, you should always keep them in mind. Don’t forget…
…SAFE IS SAFEST!
Co-Sleeping Safely with Baby Safely: The Don’ts
We will provide a list of Don’ts in the following. With what has already been covered, and with what is about to be explored, you will be fully equipped with the knowledge needed, so you will be a specialist on how to co-sleep safely with your baby.
These are very important, so don’t take them lightly. Breaking these guidelines will surely jeopardize your baby’s safety.
- Don’t consume alcohol or drugs when co-sleeping.
- Don’t smoke. If you’re a smoker, then co-sleeping with you baby is not wise, as it increases the likelihood of SIDS to occur.
- Don’t ever leave your baby sleeping unattended; such as leaving the child on your bed with no supervision.
- Don’t put your baby on a sofa. If you wish to sleep on your couch, then co-sleeping with your baby is out of the question.
- Don’t co-sleep with your baby if you’re obese in size. This can induce chances of smothering.
- Don’t allow anyone but yourselves, parents, to co-sleep with your baby. Mothers are in tune with their babies, and anyone but the Mother will lack this strong connection.
- Don’t over dress your baby. This will increase chances of SIDS. Overheating can damage your baby’s temperature levels, and can smother them.
- Don’t allow your other children, if you have them, to co-sleep with your baby. Children can be reckless, and without knowing so, can cause great harm to your baby.
- Don’t wear any kind of strong deodorants, or hair products when you co-sleep with your baby.
- Don’t co-sleep with your baby if you have been not getting rest. Sleep deprivation will lessen your senses.
- Don’t co-sleep with babies who had birth defects, including premature birth and low birth weight.
- Don’t enter intimate acts with your partner when your baby is your bed. This will mentally disturb them, and affect their development later in life.
- Don’t have a lot of pillows on your bed, and make sure to not have heavy blankets, such as comforters.
- Don’t let any pets into your bed when co-sleeping with your baby.
- Don’t co-sleep in a waterbed. This is very dangerous for your young one.
Many of the Don’ts associated with safe co-sleeping are common sense, however, common sense can be overlooked. Busy parents, with very little time and energy, are prone to missing concepts linked to common sense. Hey, this is natural, and it happens to every new parent, or parents. If you have made a mistake above, don’t get upset. Mistakes are a part of life, and nobody is perfect. Just keep being the loving parents that you are, and you’ll be just fine.
Well, when it comes to co-sleeping safety, it is safe to say that we covered all the basics. However, as parents, you’ll find numerous strategies that work specifically for you; some that’re known to many, and some that may just work for you. Every baby is different, so as parents, you’ll be able to distinguish what is right for your child.
Now that we’ve covered the safe ways to co-sleep with baby, let’s move onto our next frequently asked question.
What age is it safe to co-sleep with my child?
Medical professionals suggest against parents co-sleeping with babies who are under the age of three months. However, some parents disagree with this, as certain parenting methods are consisted of the newborn co-sleeping. There are some guidelines that you should know if you’re one of these parents who must co-sleep with their newborn. However, proceed at your own risk; co-sleeping with newborn babies is frowned upon by doctors.
Co-sleeping newborn safety holds the same rules as co-sleeping with any baby. A few more measures must be taken, though. Co-sleeping safely with a newborn safely in your bed, well, it just isn’t realistic; you’re always going to be taking a risk if you chose to bedshare with your newborn; and the risk isn’t a low one. However, if your parenting morals incline you to follow your inner instinct, then here are some safe ways to co-sleep with newborn babies.
- For newborn co-sleeping, the risks are so high that a Sidecar is highly recommended. Even setting up a railing between you and your newborn baby is suggested. If you wish to achieve co-sleeping safely, newborns require that you take what we’ve already learned, and take the knowledge to higher measures.
- In fact, newborns should never share a bed with the parents. Therefore, any methods of room sharing are urged. The air mattress, or the twin bed in your baby’s room works fine.
Overall, what have we learned about co-sleeping with newborns?
Well, co-sleeping with a newborn baby is fine, but you cannot have them in your bed. Wait for your baby to grow to be at least 3 years of age before you begin bed sharing.
To sum this subject up, basically, there is no such thing as a “co-sleeping safely newborn” tactic in regards to bed sharing. You must avoid.
OK, we’ve covered a lot so far, so make sure to take some time to soak this all in, then come back and reread. We also urge that you do further research of your own. There’s never too much precaution when it comes to the safety of your child!
Now, let’s look at the last question that parents frequently ask.
When should I stop co-sleeping with my baby? At what age?
This question is very important, as co-sleeping with your baby for too long is drastic on your child’s development. The good news is that most children begin to stray away from co-sleeping on their own, between the ages of 3-7. It is normal for co-sleeping to occur between these ages, however, it’s wise to become concerned if your child is older than 7.
To avoid what we just mentioned above, there are luckily some steps that you can take to ween your child off co-sleeping. If you’re a parent who is struggling to adapt your child to his or her own room, then you’re going to love this next part.
These five steps will assure that your child will be comfortable sleeping in their own room faster than you could believe!
STEP 1: Make Sure That Breast Feeding Has Ended
Many babies will start to rely on nightly breast milk when they’re co-sleeping with Mom. If you abruptly change the feeding cycle by abruptly ending co-sleeping, this will be traumatic for your young one. Abandonment issues could stem from this.
So, if you suddenly realize that co-sleeping isn’t working out for you, but you haven’t stopped breast feeding, then you’ll have to trek it out. This is annoying, yes, but it will save your baby from early trauma and future issues.
STEP 2: Comfort for the Conscience
When the time has come to switch the sleeping arrangements, whether it be because age, or for other reasons, this next step to ween your baby off co-sleeping is crucial!
You can use music, or a stuffed animal, to do this. Roughly six-weeks before you plan to switch your child over to independent sleeping from co-sleeping, begin to incorporate something comfortable into your child’s environment. This can be a smell, or a teddy-bear; it doesn’t matter what it is, but it must be transferrable to the next sleeping arrangement.
When your child enters the new sleeping arrangement, by incorporating the comfortable object into their environment will ease them into their new surroundings. By hearing that sound, or feeling that blanket, your child will rest at ease; even though you’re not sleeping with him or her.
STEP 3: Introduce the Room
This can be done when you’re incorporating the comfortable item into your child’s life. Spend time, and play with your child in their new room, and do this consistently for weeks before you fully change their sleeping arrangement.
By accomplishing this step, your child will not be suddenly dropped into a new environment. They will already be accustomed to the space, and most children will naturally begin to want their privacy. They do grow up fast!
STEP 4: The Floor Bed
After you’ve gotten your child adapted to their new environment, now you must be asking,
Should I put my child in a crib? If not, what kind of bed should I use?
Well, the answer is simple: use a floor bed.
A floor bed simply a mattress on the floor. Its low height makes it safe for if your child rolls out of bed. Also, since it is a bed, it’ll introduce your child to their own bed. Young babies will not know anything but their parent’s bed, so it’s very important that they become reliant on their own bed, using a crib is urged highly against for this reason.
STEP 5: In the Room at Last!
Finally, you’ve made it to the last step! Your child is moving right along in life, and already they’re becoming independent! The first couple of weeks when your child moves into their new accommodations, they’ll cry a lot. DO NOT WORRY! This is very normal. To help ease them into the new room, make sure that the environment is inviting. During the day time, spend a lot of time with them in their room, and play with them as much as you can. You’ll be surprised that in no time, your child will connect these positive things with their new room. Before you know it, they’ll be telling you to STAY OUT OF THEIR ROOM! But, you got a way to go before that happens.
With five steps above, your child will be on their way to self-dependent in no time!
A Note to End On
As we come to the end of this article, we would like to wish you all the very best in your new world of parenthood. We hope that this article has been of great use to you, and we were more than happy to provide you with it. We know becoming a parent can be nerve wracking, however, with an abundance of knowledge, let those nerves rest at ease!
So, what have we learned in this article? Allow us to summarize some key points:
- Never co-sleep with your baby if it doesn’t agree with your sleep schedule. Have a well-organized plan with your partner before deciding to co-sleep with your child, and do as much research as you can. Also, we recommend that you ask your Pediatrician any questions you have about co-sleeping. The more info, the better!
- If you use medication, smoke, or drink, DON’T UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES co-sleep with your baby.
- Make sure that the environment is safe, clean, and comforting for your baby. A happy environment will result in a smiling baby, a smiling baby means a smiling adult, well for the most part. Early happiness and comfortability helps to build self-esteem.
- Avoid bedsharing with newborn babies. If you wish to co-sleep with your newborn, then invest in a Sidecar Bed Attachment, or room share.
- The most important thing for new parents to know is NEVER STOP EXPLORING METHODS AND INFORMATION.
Never, fellow new parents, stop searching for ways to better your child’s life.