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How to Share Sleep with your Baby Safely in a Family Bed

Father and son sleeping

Sharing sleep in a family bed with your baby is a rather controversial topic. Known as co-sleeping, the practice is common in many parts of the world. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued some warnings regarding bed sharing, because the baby is vulnerable to overnight accidents and even SIDS.

However, there are plenty of benefits to co-sleeping for both the child and the parents. Moreover, bed sharing can become a safe practice if the parents take the necessary precautions. Today we will look at some of the things parents should do in order to create a safe environment when sharing the family bed with their baby.

Advantages of Sharing the Family Bed with the Baby

Co-sleeping will not sit well with all families, but it comes with many advantages young parents find hard to ignore:

Co-sleeping helps building mother-child attachment bonds, which are essential for the healthy development of the baby from a psychological point of view.

If you choose to share sleep with a baby, you need to focus on making this special environment safe for the child. While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents to share the bedroom and not necessarily the bed, you have means to achieve your co-sleeping goal in a safe manner. Here are the main things you should know about co-sleeping.

You should invest in a great mattress. This is your first priority, as your baby needs to sleep on a firm and clean (hypoallergenic mattresses are a good choice, together with organic cotton bed linens), with the bedding fitting tightly to the mattress. Moreover, the mattress should always fit tightly to the headboard and footboard of the bed. Make sure there are no spaces in between the bed and the wall.

Other Rules to Follow if You Co-Sleep

When you decide to share the family bed with your baby, no precautions are enough to keep them safe. If we mentioned the safety measures you need to take to protect the baby, it is time to talk about some rules dedicated to the parents.

Do not co-sleep with a newborn if the child was born prematurely. Even if low-weight babies or premature babies benefit more from co-sleeping, you should place them on a nearby surface beside your family bed.

Do not share the family bed if the mother smoked during pregnancy or if one of the parents is still a smoker.

Do not co-sleep in the same bed if one of the parents is overly tired.

Do not co-sleep if any of the parents drank alcohol or ingested medication, sedatives, or any other drugs (or substances that can make the parent less aware). One of the parents should always see the baby during the night and must be aware of any changes in the sleeping environment.

Conclusion

Co-sleeping is an option you should consider for its benefits, but you need to take serious precautions for the safety and well-being of your baby.

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