Safe co-sleeping with baby

husband during labour

Safe co-sleeping with baby: how to do it

Making co sleeping safe:

Although co-sleeping has its benefits such as convenience of breastfeeding and the cuddly feeling, there are situations when it is not advisable to co-sleep with your child. If your baby is six months or younger, it is better to have you baby sleep in a cot adjacent to yours, but not the same cot, to reduce chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Somehow, it is not prevalent in India, even though many families in India co-sleep.

Never co-sleep with your child if:

  • You or your husband smoke
  • Your baby was premature
  • You or your husband take drugs or medication that put you in such deep sleep that you are not aware if you have rolled over the baby.
  • You are extremely tired.

To be able to co-sleep safely, try these safety precautions:

  • Choose the right bed. If you are planning to buy a new bed before the baby comes, then opt for a big simple bed with no fancy headboards. Ensure that the bed doesn’t have any splinters – like in cane beds - that can harm the baby. Also stay away from wrought iron beds because they are known to have sharp edges which can hurt the baby. Try a low lying bed to reduce the chances of the baby getting hurt by falling off.
  • Check the mattress. Ensure that your mattress is firm. If it is too soft, then there is a chance of the baby suffocating or overheating. Also even if you place pillows or soft toys around the baby, make sure that they are not too closely placed. This again increases the risk of the baby getting suffocated. Make sure that mattress fits perfectly in the frame of the bed, so that the baby doesn’t fall into the gap. If made of cotton, the mattress should be even and the cotton should not bunch up.
  • Keep the bedding light and minimal. While a bed with a lot of pillows and cushions looks magazine classy, it is not very practical and can be harmful instead. Put your baby to sleep on a cotton sheet place on a rubber or a plastic waterproof sheet, to protect the mattress from getting wet. If it is summer then dress your baby in a soft cotton dress and cover with a thin cotton blanket. In winter, add another layer of a thin blanket, instead of using a thick blanket. Many layers of thin blankets are known to be more comfortable than a thick blanket, because the latter doesn’t move easily with the baby.
  • Avoid sleeping on a sofa with your baby: It can get very congested on the sofa for two people, even if the second one is a tiny baby. Not only that, it is likely that the baby may get wedged in the cracks of the sofa.
  • Don’t keep any electrical appliances around the bed.
  • Never leave your baby alone in the bed.
  • Don’t let your baby and toddler sleep on the same bed.

While you keep all these in mind, do not forget to relax and take a few minutes off for yourself too. You must also be stress-free to ensure you and your baby and your husband have a good night’s sleep.