7 Tips for Safer Co-Sleeping With Baby

Mom Moment 15

sleeping babyEvery time a co-sleeping tragedy pops up in the news, it's followed by a host of comments from moms and dads who have been co-sleeping for years with no problems. Sharing a bed with baby, they say, is fine if you do it the right way!

It's a fair comment -- parents have shared the bed with baby for centuries, so it can't be all bad. But what exactly is the "right" way to co-sleep? What is safe co-sleeping? Is there really such a thing?

The American Academy of Pediatrics says no. The AAP even suggests breastfeeding moms put baby back in their crib after a night-time feed.

Still thinking about doing it? Some studies have shown it can be good -- especially for breastfeeding moms -- so it's really a mom's decision.

If you're on board, here are some guidelines experts say should definitely be followed.

1. Don't drink or use illegal substances while co-sleeping. Studies have found a link between SIDS, cosleeping and recent parental use of alcohol or drugs.

2. Don't co-sleep on the couch. Babies need firm surfaces to sleep on.

3. Avoid blankets and stuffed animals in the bed. What applies to a crib should also apply to the family bed -- these hazards are not conducive to safe sleep for baby.

7 tips for safer co-sleeping4. Pull back long hair. I never thought of this one, but the experts at the University of Notre Dame's Behavioral Sleep Laboratory warn that a mother's long hair can actually get tangled around an infant's neck!

5. Make sure both parents are on board with co-sleeping. If your partner isn't comfortable with the idea of a family bed, find out WHY. Maybe they have a reason to think your baby won't be safe (do they move around in sleep a lot, for example?).

6. Don't co-sleep with older kids and a baby at once. The term family bed can be misleading. Experts generally warn against older children being in bed with infants and their parents because older kids might not be aware of the baby's presence and safety requirements.

7. Consider a co-sleeper. Babies don't have to be in the bed to be sharing a bedroom with you -- there are a number of co-sleepers out there that attach to the bed, allowing baby to be within arm's reach but protecting them from a parent rolling over on them, as well as offering that firm mattress and blanket-free space.

Do you co-sleep? What are your best co-sleeping tips?


Image via elisabet ottosson/Flickr

bonding, bedtime, natural parenting


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Felip... FelipesMom

Just put a parent between the older kid and the baby, and #6 is solved!

The rest of these are great - thanks! 

mande... manderspanders

I don't like cosleeping but my baby doesn't always give me an option. Sleeping in a bassinet at bedside isn't always good enough. I either have to nurse him to sleep in bed or in the recliner the first time he wakes at night....I often fall asleep in the recliner with him on my chest. What I wouldn't give for him to sleep in the bassinet without issue.

nonmember avatar Melissa

This is what I used to co-sleep...best thing in the WORLD!http://www.toysrus.com/buy/top-baby-registry-items/nursery/summer-infant-rest-assured-sleeper-91330-3977276

ruby818 ruby818

I favour co-sleeping, I believe it is natural and healthy for mother and child. However, because my kids are 20 months and 7 months old I co-sleep with the older child and the Babys cot is right next to the double bed . I don´t feel comfortable with both of them in bed with me. co sleeping is much easier and you don´t have to get up in the night. cosy, makes sense. kids,babies in a seperate room never sounded right to me.

jalaz77 jalaz77

Co-sleeping and bed sharing are 2 different things. So is this mainly for bed sharing? Besides the co-sleeper device?

ktobin2 ktobin2

For the first three months I will have my baby in a bassinet next to me, and after that they will have their own crib in a seperate room. I don't believe in co sleeping because one, I want to get a good nights sleep, two, I don't want my child to get used to sleeping with mommy and daddy and have security issues, and three, because my bed is mine and my future husbands and we need that space and time alone. I also believe after about six months to let a baby "cry it out" as long as theyre not sick or injured or hungry.

katyq katyq

Jalaz, co sleeping is when baby is within arms reach, whether in the bed or right next to it. 

Shant... ShantiBantiMama

We are hanging a Kanoe hammock right next to the bed for the new baby. I WISH I felt comfortable having the baby in bed with us from birth but it just freaks me out-I don't think it's wrong, I just couldn't get to sleep for fear I would make some mistake and hurt her. With my oldest I felt comfortable by the time she was 6 months and she wasn't having it. Now she's 3 and WANTS to sleep with us, but that girl keeps us up all night! Even a king bed isn't big enough to sleep with her. 

Rachel Peoples

Cry it out is terrible. Babies should wake during the night, that is normal...... Babies cry to communicate, not manipulate.

nonmember avatar Erika

I love co-sleeping. Did it with our daughter until she was 18 months and now with our 7 wk old son. But PLEASE practice safety first. I attended my 6 month old's nephew's memorial service yesterday and it was the most heart breaking thing I've been through. My bother fell asleep with him on the couch and accidentally suffocated him. He thought he was safe on his chest and he didn't notice when the baby got wedged between the cushions because he is a heavy sleeper. Please keep your babies safe!

1-10 of 15 comments 12 Last