Newborns sleep for about 15 to 16 hours a day during the first few months, which makes it important for them to have a safe and comfortable space to sleep. If you are currently setting up your baby’s nursery, you probably have doubts like “Where is the safest place for my baby to sleep?”, “Can my baby sleep in the same bed with me?” or “Is it ok to put a pillow and blanket in my baby’s crib?” Here is what you need to know to help your baby sleep safe and sound.
What Is Co-Sleeping, Bed Sharing & Room Sharing?
When it comes to where to let your baby sleep, you’ve probably come across different terms such as co-sleeping, room sharing, and bed sharing. What do they mean and what are the differences between them? Here’s a simple explanation.
As the name suggests, bed sharing means sharing the same bed with your baby. Meanwhile, room sharing means sleeping in the same room with your baby but in separate beds. Co-sleeping is a general term that means sleeping very close to your baby, whether in the same bed or not. In other words, bed sharing and room sharing are both different ways to co-sleep.
So which form of co-sleeping should you go for? The short answer is, share a room but not a bed. Room sharing with your baby during the first 6 months decreases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by up to 50 percent. However, the risk of SIDS increases if the baby shares a bed with any family members. If your baby sleeps on the same bed surface as you, the pillows and blankets in your bed could pose danger. Furthermore, there are also risks of the baby falling off the bed or someone rolling onto her by accident.
Benefits of Co-Sleeping
Room sharing with your baby may benefit both of you in the following ways:
- Better Sleep Quality: Room sharing helps babies to fall asleep easier and sleep longer. As for parents, room sharing helps parents feel better rested by reducing stress. Emotionally, parents can sleep more at ease when they can see and feel their baby nearby. Meanwhile physically, co-sleeping encourages the parents’ bodies to produce healthy neurotransmitters and hormones when they feel close to their baby.
- Strengthen Bond: Studies show that co-sleeping helps newborns create stronger emotional relationships with their parents. By sleeping together, parents and babies regain intimacy after being separated in the daytime when parents leave home for work.
- Encourages Breastfeeding: Sleeping close to your baby makes night time breastfeeding more convenient. It also makes it easier for you to feed your baby on time, hence reducing the baby’s excessive crying.
- Reduces Risk of SIDS: Studies show that room sharing lowers the SIDS risk by half. When you and your baby sleep together, it is easier for you to keep an eye on your baby, and attend to the baby’s needs on time when he is awake.
How To Practice Safe Co-Sleeping
The safest way for you to co-sleep with your baby is by having your baby sleep in a bassinet, cot, or crib near your bed. There are a few reasons why an adult bed is not suitable for a newborn. First of all, the soft mattress, pillows and blankets on the adult bed may suffocate the baby. Moreover, the baby may also get suffocated if he or she is accidentally trapped between a mattress and other objects such as a wall or headboard. There is also risk of strangulation if you have long hair. To make sure your baby sleeps safely in the crib, do take note of the following:
- The crib mattress must be firm and covered by a well-fitted sheet.
- Do not place any soft toys, pillows, or loose blankets in her crib.
- Your baby should sleep on his or her back, and not on the side or stomach.
- Make sure the room temperature is not too hot, and dress your baby according to the temperature to prevent baby from overheating.
A Closing Note
As long as the environment is safe, co-sleeping helps both parents and baby get better sleep, along with many other benefits. To help your baby sleep more soundly in a separate crib, you may get baby essentials that help them to relax, such as a soothing baby oil, or items that make them feel safe, such as a warm and snuggly swaddle.
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