There can often be lots of conflicting advice surrounding the best way to ensure your baby sleeps safely and soundly each night. The Department for Health recommends for any baby in their first six months, to sleep in a cot in their parent’s bedroom. The National Childbirth Trust, (NCT) explains that whilst most parents choose to not sleep with their baby, around half of all mums in the UK will co-sleep with them at some point during the first few months.
When you shouldn’t co-sleep with your baby
Co-sleeping isn’t for all parents, and if carried out incorrectly, it can be dangerous due to the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, (SIDS). If any of the following points apply to you, never co-sleep with your baby.
- Either you or your partner smokes (even if you do not smoke in the bedroom)
- Either you or your partner has drank alcohol or taken drugs (including medications that may make you drowsy)
- You are extremely tired
- Your baby was born premature (37 weeks or less)
- Your baby was born at a low weight (2.5kg or 5½ lbs or less)
In December 2014, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued new regulations for co-sleeping and confirmed that although SIDS is rare, the risk is increased when parents sleep with a baby either on a bed, sofa or chair.
It is also important to note, you should never fall asleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby. Doing so will increase the risk of SIDS by 50 times. Instead, make sure you place your baby in a safe sleeping space if you feel like you will fall asleep.
If you decide to try co-sleeping
To reduce the chance of SIDS, make sure pillows, sheets and blankets or any further items in the bed that could obstruct a baby’s breathing are removed as these can also cause your child to overheat.
The Lullaby Trust advises, “the safest place for your baby to sleep is in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months, even during the day”.
There are a range of co-sleeping cribs you can purchase on the high street. If you do decide to opt for one, make sure your baby is sleeping on a flat, new mattress and their bedding is separate to yours when fixing the crib to the side of your bed.
Avoid using pillows and thick, chunky bedding. Instead, opt for thin cotton sheets or a light wool blanket.
For more information click here to visit Lullaby Trust.