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Bed Sharing with Babies – Is it Safe?

Risks & Benefits of Co-Sleeping


Many people believe that sharing a bed with babies help them strengthen their bonds, make nursing easier and help increase the cuddle time. But, there are many people who feel that bed sharing can prevent babies from becoming independent and can also prevent them from learning to sleep on their own. So, who is right?

The truth is that what works for one family might not work for another. There are many factors that a family needs to consider to conclude as to what is best for them. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies should share the same room with their parents for the first six months. But, it is best that they do not share the same bed as it increases the risk of the baby getting trapped in the cover. It can also increase the chances of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) when parents fail to take precautionary measures. Bed sharing is not always dangerous as many people believe. When parents practice safe co-sleeping, it can help increase the happy quotient in the parents as well as the babies.

If you think that bed sharing is not common, you need to change your opinion. It is much more common today than it was ever before. There are many benefits of bed sharing. Sharing bed with your infant can help nocturnal breastfeeding more tolerable and allow breastfeeding moms to get more sleep. Sleeping on the same bed increases the skin-to-skin contact that helps reduce stress in infants. It also allows parents to monitor their babies closely at night. Many times, it can help save lives as they can identify any illness or dangerous sleeping position and correct it immediately. Then, there are high- need babies who find it difficult to sleep without one of their parent being nearby. Bed sharing is the only practical way to allow new parents to get quality sleep.

Parents who want to practice bed sharing should weigh the risks and benefits. Even if they are afraid, they can easily modify their family environment and eliminate hazards to make bed sharing as safe as possible. Here are some tips to help you practice bed sharing successfully –

  • Bed sharing should be a family decision. You should talk to your partner about it and ensure that both of you are on the same page.
  • Ensure that your bed is firm and not very soft. You should use a tightly fitted sheet over it along with just one pillow and cotton blanket that is kept away from the baby’s face. You can place your baby on the higher end of the bed (ensure there is no gap where the baby can fall) and you should sleep a little on the lower side of the baby.
  • Keep a check on the perimeter of the bed and ensure that there are no wedges where the baby can easily fall. The best position might be to keep the baby on the side of the mom and not in the middle.
  • It is important to be in the right mind when sharing a bed with your baby. You should avoid smoking or drinking as it can make you less responsive at night. If you want to drink, do not bed share with your baby.
  • Ensure that you and your baby properly dress for the night. You can wear a long-sleeve shirt and use a night outfit for your baby to eliminate the use of a blanket at night.
  • Investing in a big king sized bed when bed sharing can be quite beneficial. Since the little ones can stretch out and often sleep in a perpendicular position, a large bed can help everyone get a good night sleep.

There is also a growing need for doctors and lifestyle advisors to suggest parents about bed sharing and some yoga advices. Instead of discouraging the parents to bed share with their babies, they should provide them with ways to do it successfully and eliminate the risks completely. They should be provided with information about the circumstances that make bed sharing dangerous and how to avoid them.

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