Is Baby Bed Sharing a Bad Habit?
Most parents don’t plan to bed-share, however studies show that 60 to 75 percent of them will bed-share, at least some of the time (Ball, 2003 and Ball 2007) .
This is often because frequent night wakings can be exhausting and many parents find having their baby in their bed means that settling them back to sleep is much quicker and easier, especially if they are breastfeeding.
Unintentional co-sleeping can be very dangerous, for example co-sleeping on the sofa or bed-sharing in an unsafe bed. Therefore I always advise to set up your sleep space for safe bed- sharing even if you don’t plan on bed-sharing, that way if it happens unintentionally you will be prepared and it will be safer.
Safe Baby Bed Sharing
To bed-share safely, La Leche League have come up with the Sleep Safe Seven Checklist which lowers the risk of SIDS:
1. A non- smoking mother
2. A sober mother who is not taking drugs or medications that interfere with normal awareness
3. A breastfeeding mother who is breastfeeding day and night
4. A baby who is healthy and full term with no major health issues
5. A baby who sleeps on their back when not feeding
6. A baby who is not swaddled or overheated
7. Baby and mother sleep on a safe surface
Following the Sleep Safe Seven Checklist means you have eliminated all the major SIDS risks, and have hugely reduced or eliminated suffocation risks (La Leche League).
Commonly Asked BedSharing Questions
Can Non Breastfeeding Parents Bedshare with their baby’s?
Most breastfeeding mothers naturally sleep facing their baby with knees drawn up under the baby's feet with their arm above the baby's head. This protects your baby from moving down under the covers or up under the pillow. This position is called the cuddle curl and it enables your baby to lie on their back or side to breastfeed. If you have never breastfed and do not naturally sleep in this position with your baby, then it may be safer to place your baby in a cot in your room.
Is Bed Sharing Good for Your Baby?
Bedsharing isn't for everyone but if it is something you can do safely and it works for you and your family, I am all for it. Bedsharing can help your baby to feel secure when they are sleeping which lays the foundation for future independent sleep.
What Age Can you Safely Bedshare with a Baby?
Provided that your baby was born at a healthy weight, has no health concerns, and you are following safe bedsharing guidelines, you can bedshare with your baby from birth.
Is There an Age You Should Stop Bedsharing?
Lots of parents worry about this but there is no age when you should stop bedsharing. Some parents will choose to gently and lovingly stop bedsharing, whereas others will wait until their child chooses to sleep alone. There is no right or wrong, just what works for you and your family.
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Live Stage Talks by Sarah Patel
Sarah Patel is the founder of Teach To Sleep, a mum of two little ones (18 months apart), and a fully qualified baby and toddler sleep consultant. Sarah has worked in education for over 15 years as a primary teacher and as a senior lecturer in education. She uses her background in teaching, to teach positive sleep habits which are based around routine and sleep patterns.
She will go through what you can expect in terms of sleep from your newborn, when to start a bedtime routine and how you can make your baby's sleep environment safe and conducive to sleep. Sarah will also talk you through some simple, gentle strategies on how you can support your baby's sleep, as well as exploring some common sleep issues.