Co-Sleeping! Bed Sharing! Safe Sleep! OH MY!

Hey friends! Today we’re talking safe sleep choices for your growing newborn.

First, let’s get some definitions settled. Often when we hear the word “co-sleeping” we presume the speaker means bebes-in-the-bed.

On the contrary, co-sleeping is defined as “a practice in which babies and young children sleep close to one or both parents, as opposed to a separate room.” It is currently accepted that co-sleeping is the practice of parent and child sleeping in sensory proximity to one another, anchored by touch, smell, taste, or noise and refers to children in their own safe sleeping environments in the same room as their parent, also referred to as room-sharing

Bed Sharing is just what it sounds like: parent and child sharing the same sleep space. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages room-sharing because it’s shown to reduce the risk of SIDS; while stating without exception that “your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else. If you bring baby into your bed to feed, make sure to put him or her back in a separate sleep area, such as a safety-approved crib, bassinet, or portable play area, in your room next to where you sleep when you are finished.”

Included in their 2011 Policy Statement, the AAP directs:

  • Always place baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night, to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Use a firm sleep surface and keep soft objects, toys, crib bumpers, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep related causes of infant death.
  • Avoid wedges, positioners, and other products that have not been tested for safety or effectiveness.
  • Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep.
  • To reduce the risk of SIDS, women should receive regular health care during pregnancy, and not smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs during pregnancy or after the baby is born.
  • To reduce the risk of SIDS, do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby.
  • Breastfeed your baby to reduce the risk of SIDS, but if you bring your baby into your bed to breastfeed, make sure to put him or her back in a separate sleep area in your room next to where you sleep when you are finished.
  • Follow your health care provider’s guidance on your baby’s vaccines and regular health checkups.  Evidence suggests that immunization reduces the risk of SIDS by 50 percent.

Many of the families I work with prefer to have their infant as close as possible to facilitate late-night, frequent feedings.

Arms_Reach_Bassinette_CoSleeperAll of the families I work with want to bond deeply and fully with their bebes, and the most popular safe sleep choice they’re making is the Arm’s Reach Cambria Co-Sleeper Bassinet. Boasting mesh sides for good breathability, well-functioning wheels with locking casters, adjustable leg height, and sides can be folded down and locked in place for co-sleeper or kept static for use as a standalone bassinet. Having an infant safely snuggled up close to you often facilitates more sleep for bebe AND parent. Importantly, this model attaches to the bed via an adjustable length strap that fits under mattresses as wide as a King. I tend to suggest the full-size versus the mini as it allows for a growing infant to have a bit more time up-close and safe before transitioning to a crib, but *it is * heavier and clunkier than the smaller version.

You can find this popular co-sleeper at Amazon, BabiesRUsBuyBuyBaby, and Target. If you’re looking to buy gently used and/or resell your co-sleeper, Kid2Kid has a great reputation for gently used items, with locations all over the country, and the Just Between Friends (JBF) children’s and maternity consignment sale is a must-visit on every new parent’s  field trip agenda.