Are There Benefits of Co Sleeping?- Read This

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Co-sleeping is often not safe. Yet statistics show that most parents do it accidentally at least once. Co-sleeping is the practice where the child sleeps in bed with his parents. It is a hotly contested subject, with ardent supporters and opposers. In this article we help you sift through the storm of extreme views, prevent accidental co-sleeping (which is dangerous!) and plan for safer co-sleeping.

Also Read: Baby Sleeping Sitting Up Folded In Half?

When is co-sleeping safe?



A recent report from the National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) on Sudden and Unexpected Deaths in Childhood highlighted the dangers around accidental and hazardous co-sleeping.

60% of the co-sleeping deaths were when co-sleeping had taken place unplanned.

Lullaby Trust

Also Read:1 Month Old Not Sleeping More Than 30 Minutes

60% of the co-sleeping deaths were when co-sleeping had taken place unplanned. Hands up here- I have fallen asleep whilst feeding my very hungry boy! NO judgement here.

 92% were in hazardous circumstances for example sleeping on a sofa with a baby, or co-sleeping with a baby who was born prematurely or weighed under 2.5kg or 5½ lbs when they were born.

So even if you are absolutely in the NEVER Co- sleep with your baby camp, it can still happen accidently when you are exhausted!

Also Read:Baby Sleeps With Head Tilted Back

If more than half of parents are occasionally co-sleeping with an infant we NEED to have a conversation about how to prevent for accidental occurences and also plan for safe co sleeping.

According to The Lullaby Trust Co sleeping for breastfed Babies is safer that for formula fed babies, when babies are otherwise healthy, were born with a normal birth weight, are not sleeping with parents under the influence of drugs (including prescription drugs) or alcohol or that smoke. If any of these things apply to you or your partner, DO NOT CO SLEEP!

Also Read: Are Velcro Swaddles Safe To Sleep In?

Safe Sleep Crib/bassinet guidelines

Always use a bassinet in accordance with your manufacturer’s guidelines

Don’t Buy

  • pods or nests
  • pillows, duvets, or thick heavy bedding
  • cot bumpers
  • hammocks
  • sleep positioners
  • weighted sleep sacks

Also Read: Baby Sleeping Sitting Up Folded in Half

Do Buy

  • Mesh sides
  • A Good portable Bassinet (make sure wheels are lockable)
  • A good waterproof breathable, flat mattress that fits your bassinet
  • breathable bedding for baby (sleep sacks or 100% cotton weave blankets)
  • Room thermometer
  • Baby monitor

Invest in a bassinet

Sleeping with your baby in your bed IS NOT SAFE the statistics of Sudden Infant Death are much higher for co-sleeping with a baby. Many cases of SIDs whilst co- sleeping occur when the it was accidental- So plan ahead. One of my mistakes with my second baby was assuming he was going to be has easy as my tiny premature first born to get to sleep. (ps i didn’t have this information and I wouldn’t recommend a weave bassinet) He was NOT an easy sleeper and he was BIG, HUNGRY and he quickly grew out of our cute old fashioned bassinet. I’d had surgery and a bad back, and laying down at first was the most comfortable position I could breastfeed in. We thought “in a few weeks he’ll be in the cot so there’s no point buying another bassinet or next-to-me crib.” This could have been a terrible mistake. I fell asleep when exhausted without any bed guard and with soft furnishings on the bed.

The bassinet we had was too small and at the wrong height to make it easy for me to get him in and out and at some point I was obviously too exhausted and fell asleep with him in my bed, pillows blankets and all. I didn’t plan to co-sleep but like many parents I did accidentally or without proper preparation as to how to do it safely.

Instead be prepared to Co- sleep Safely.

Make sure they meet new regulations on bassinets which include a minimum side requirement when the drop side is down. This prevents baby falling out or getting stuck between the bassinet and protects the baby form you or  your bedding.

There have recently been updates to safety guidelines on bassinets. There have to have sides with a minimum height to stop your baby rolling out!  -Yikes -yes some older models still available on the internet which attach to your bed do not meet this minimum requirement, your baby could get stuck between the bad and the bassinet or fall on the floor.

Having a bassinet with easy drop sides that can come very close to or over your bed is a brilliant safe alternative. ( so long as the brand meets safety standards, which many don’t)

A Safe Baby sleeping Crib/bassinet should have:

  • Drop sides
  • will grow with your baby until at least 6 months
  • Mesh sides
  • Flat firm mattress ( a firm mattress with a solid base is heathliest for babies)
  • Fitted waterproof cover
  • Fitted sheets
  • Breathable material
  • Portable is great if only buying one (sofa sleeping is one of the most common and dangerous occurances)
  • lockable wheels if it has wheels
  • At least a 20cm wall even when the side is down to stop baby becoming wedged between the mattress and the main bed.

You should also use:

  • No additional bedding other than the mattress and cotton breathable sheet or baby sack
  • Thermometer in the room
  • Baby monitor

Think Team if you can

If you are exhausted get your partner to check on you and baby or set an alarm to rouse yourself and put baby back in the crib

Never co Sleep if you or your partner is under the influence of alcohol or any drugs

This includes antihistamine, painkillers, cough mixture or any prescribed medication that could make you drowsy.

Rest when baby sleeps

Get naps when your baby sleeps during the day to prevent exhaustion

Never fall asleep in a on a chair or sofa with baby

This is far more dangerous than laying on a bed and feeding your baby! Parents having heard of the dangers of co-sleeping with their baby wake themselves and sit in a chair to feed. If you are bottle feeding this is the right way to feed you baby, just make sure you don’t fall back to sleep in the chair or bed with baby. Take turns with your partner to wake to feed your baby so you both get sleep.

Use a bassinet in the Living Room

If you have a bassinet in the area you sit to rest and relax you are far more likely to place your baby down safely than you would if you had to leave the room to go to the baby’s nursery or your bedroom. There companies which make carry cots/bassinets for strollers that are suitable for you baby to sleep in and come with bassinet stands, these are a great way to create an additional/ safe downstairs sleep are for your baby and keep them near you whilst you rest in the evening or get on top of tasks.

We recommend Italian Brand Inglesina. Not only is this a brilliant dual facing, lightweight, slimline, sturdy stroller, they have put a lot of thought into their Bassinet/Carry- cot and mattress. This is used in neo-natal wards it Italy, the base of the bassinet is mesh and in can be adjusted to raise at an angle safely (for babies that suffer from reflux)

Why do many parents enjoy co-sleeping?

If you are breastfeeding there are extremely low rates instances of SIDS due to infant co sleeping. This is because your sleep cycles sink with your baby so you are in a lighter pattern of sleep and tend to rise in time with your baby. When baby is sleeping away from you, your sleep patterns are different to your baby’s so you might be waking when your baby is in a deeper sleep and visa versa, therefore your baby has to wake up fully and scream to get your attention and your have to wake up and be in a higher state of alert to get them and feed, this can often mean breastfeeding mothers become exhausted and resent night waking, rather than enjoying the bond with their baby. Co-sleeping with a baby can help a breastfeeding mum to feed their baby in a lower state of wakefulness without having to fully wake which can make it much easier. This is natural. It’s other people, alcohol and drugs, furniture and bedding that normally make co-sleeping dangerous.

What are the Pros and Cons of co-sleeping

  • Easier bonding with baby
  • longer breastfeeding
  • more enjoyable breastfeeding
  • Strong Emotional regulation

Baby’s also die in cribs (sorry) so make sure your crib passes safety standards and has a flat breathable mattress from a reputable brand

  • dangerous if unplanned
  • parental reliance on sleep
  • dangerous for premature and low weight babies
  • formula feeding is different

Mum’s that are breastfeeding exclusively and co sleeping produce different hormones than mom’s that are formulae feeding. Breastfeeding moms that sleep in very close proximity with their baby sinc with their sleep rythem, this makes is less likely that a breastfeeding mom will roll onto their baby.

In other parts of the world every family member having an independent room isn’t a cultural expectation. Babies in the first 6 months of life particularly need to know you are close its a survival mechanism. They are not manipulating you by crying and you are not developing unhealthy sleep habits by responding to them. SO, make it easy on yourself. Be prepared with a good bassinet that is easy to keep near to you.

Even if you are bottle feeding this will make night feeds a whole lot easier and baby is likely to be more settled if they know you are close.

Set up bassinet in your room so that it’s much easier on your to respond. Have a bassinet or Grow- with- me crib in your room will allow you to be flexible to whatever circumstances you have, be close to your baby and respond quickly.

Sofas and chairs are more dangerous than beds

We recommend that you always use a bassinet or next- to- you cot if bed sharing. If you or your partner is sick or ill or as had a drink you can place baby safely in the crib. However, there are far more instances of SIDS when parents fall asleep on the sofa than on a bed. Laying on a bed is far safer than falling asleep on the sofa. If you are exhausted and breastfeeding your baby lay in a bed to feed NOT THE SOFA.

Sadly baby’s do suffer from SIDS when they sleep in cribs but they are much safer than sofas, dividers so make sure you follow CLEAR BED guidance and ensure your baby furniture meets safety standards.

How to make CO-sleeping safer

  • Move bedding out the way of baby or ideally remove it
  • baby should sleep to one side not in the middle of the bed
  • baby should sleep in a sack or in a cotton blanket swaddled or tightly tucked away from their face
  • Exclusively breastfeed- breastfeeding is much safer that bottle feeding if co sleeping. IT IS NOT SAFE TO CO SLEEP AND BOTTLE FEED. This is because you sleep much more deeply.
  • Put baby to sleep on their back.
  • Ensure that your baby is far away enough from the side of the bed not to roll off and not likely to be trapped by a wall and the mattress.
  • Don’t co- sleep with older children
  • Don’t co-sleep with pets
  • Have a fitted sheet on the bed.
  • Never let baby sleep in bed with anyone who has taken any drugs including household drugs or any alcohol and sleep with an infant in your bed.
  • Don’t co- sleep with a pre-term or low birth weight baby
  • Don’t allow anyone who smokes to be in the same bed as baby.

Sadly there are many products on the market which do not meet safe guidelines

Italian Brand Inglesina have word in collaboration with department of Neonatology of the Maggiore Hospital in Bologna. Not only is it compatible with a beautiful lightweight and robust travel stroller, its one of the only stroller compatible bassinets that is safe enough to use as an infant bed.

It has a uniquely designed breathable mattress and the bassinet is designed with an adjustable base, offering a safe way to raise the base of the infants cot to reduce reflux

Inglesina Welcome Pad mattresses have a unique design. Not only are they made from breathable bamboo cotton, they have contouring designed to reduce “flat head” in infants.

Welcome Pad® has highly breathable, hypoallergenic and antibacterial bamboo fibre lining and 3D mesh coupled with foam padding. This controls the baby’s temperature and perspiration.

The 3D mesh bottom and 40 ventilation holes of the mattress favour air circulation and prevent moisture build-up.

Inglesina has make fitted sheets so that you can ensure your baby’s bedding fits the mattress correctly and it comes with a stand so that it can be used as baby’s bed or as an additional sleeping space in a living area.

Final thoughts

You shouldn’t feel bad about co-sleeping. It can be very beneficial for breastfeeding mothers and help prolongue feeding. Co sleeping is less safe for bottle fed babies. Yet it’s still a good idea to plan ahead for the eventuality that there might be broken nights where you will want to sleep very close to baby. Therefore a good bassinet in your room and a safe space to place baby near you in your living area is essential in order to prevent accidental co-sleeping and co-sleep safely.