As any parent who’s been through the newborn period will tell you, sleep is a precious thing. Anything you can do to make those early months more restful will be vital to your wellbeing and your sanity. For many parents, especially breastfeeding mothers, co-sleeping offers a wonderful solution to those late night feeding problems. However, safety concerns have left some parents feeling anxious about this often-taboo practice. If you’re planning to share your bed with your little one, make sure you’re prepared with these essential safety and comfort tips.
- Make space. In order to co-sleep safely, you’re going to need a reasonable amount of space. Upgrading your bed ahead of time may be a good idea – you can shop for a new queen bed frame australia before the baby arrives so you have plenty of room to sleep comfortably while your little one rests at night. Choose a firm mattress to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and position the bed so that there are no gaps between the bed and the wall or other furniture that the baby could accidentally slip into.
- Quit any unhealthy habits. In studies done on co-sleeping, cot sleeping, and SIDS, parents who smoke or drink alcohol were found to have higher instances of infant mortality. Stay away from the cigarettes and even a small amount of alcohol while sleeping with your baby – even being slightly tipsy could make you more likely to sleep too deeply and possibly harm your baby. If you do want to have the odd drink, move your baby over to their cot for the night.
- Find a comfortable feeding position. Because babies often wake throughout the night for a feed, co-sleeping can make breastfeeding much easier. Instead of walking over to the baby’s room to feed them, you can prop yourself up in bed and nurse until they drift off to sleep again. Invest in a comfortable nursing pillow so you can support the baby without tiring your arms in the night, and consider using a small dim lamp to keep yourself awake while the baby feeds.
- Follow safe sleeping rules. These guidelines apply whether your baby is in your bed or sleeping in their own cot. You’ll need to make sure the sheets are pulled tightly over the mattress and that the mattress in use is new and not damaged by any fumes or pollutants. Keep pillows and blankets away from where the baby is sleeping – if they’re covered with a blanket for warmth, make sure it’s pulled down away from their head so it can’t cover their face in the night.
- Encourage back sleeping. Babies may have their own preferred position for comfortable sleeping, but numerous studies have shown that babies who sleep on their back are at safer than the alternative positions when it comes to SIDS. Always put your baby down on their back at night, at least until they’re old enough to find their own position and roll around alone.
- Make a shared decision. Co-sleeping can be tough if the whole family isn’t on board. Both parents should be happy with the choice to co-sleep, so have an open and honest conversation before the baby arrives about what you feel comfortable with.