Safe Co-Sleeping

Having a baby sleep all alone is not ideal. In-utero, developing babies hear the sounds of the people around them. Once born, babies feel secure when hearing these same familiar sounds. They are more likely to fall asleep and enjoy peaceful slumber when in the proximity of friendly human noise, which tells the baby that people who love and care are around.

While co-sleeping can be dangerous under certain circumstances, there are guidelines that can help ensure safe ways of sleeping with your baby:

A mother is naturally more aware of her baby's presence. Place baby between his or her mother and the wall. Do not have a grandparent or babysitter sleep in the same bed with your baby.

Use only a bed that is large enough to accommodate comfortably the number of people sharing it.

Make sure that there is no space between the mattress and the wall, and that the mattress remains in place at all times.

Always put a baby on his or her "back to sleep."

Do not sleep with baby on a couch or waterbed.

Do not place baby on top of a pillow.

Baby should not be dressed too warmly or covered with excessive blankets.

You may choose the option of a sidecar type device, wherein your baby sleeps alongside you on a mattress of his or her own. This arrangement ensures your child's safety, and you still gain many benefits of cosleeping.

Do not sleep with your baby if:

You are drunk.

You are drugged.

You are obese.

You smoke.

If you are cosleeping with your baby:

Don't get drunk.

Don't use drugs that induce drowsiness.

Don't wear jewelry or lingerie with dangling strings in bed.

Don't use strong perfumes, pungent hair sprays or scent laden deodorants.

Don't smoke.

Co-sleeping Increases Parent Sensitivity

Parents who choose co-sleeping – whether their baby sleeps in their bed, or in a space of his or her own while sharing their bedroom – may find that they become acutely aware of their child's every need. They are better daytime parents too for having learned to understand their child more fully.

Children do not develop fears of aloneness and separation associated with being put to sleep alone.

Your child learns that he or she is accepted always, and that you will meet legitimate needs at any time.

Enjoy your co-sleeping relationship. Click here to read about the benefits and concerns of co-sleeping.

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