Is it safe to co sleep with my baby?

mother's tendernessCo sleeping and infant/child sleep

Co sleeping is a marvellous way to enhance bonding and makes night breastfeeding much easier for mum and baby.

Many babies and toddlers co sleep and do not have sleep and settling problems.

Beyond anything else, the main thing to be concerned with regarding co sleeping is safety.

  • Make sure there are no pillows, duvets or blankets where your baby sleeps and that nothing could cover your baby’s head
  • It is safest for your baby to sleep to one side of you or your partner, not in the middle
  • Ensure your baby cannot fall out of the bed
  • Be sure the temperature of the room is not too warm, a baby will overheat more easily sleeping next to another person

Whilst a young baby may sleep well and soundly in bed with parents, waking only to feed, it can become a challenge if your baby or toddler will only settle to sleep if in bed with his parents. This can then become a strong association for sleep which your baby/toddler may learn to ‘need’ in order to settle and stay asleep, and if this is not provided it can become very stressful for your baby, leading to increased crying when you try to break the habit if it has become an unsustainable way of sleeping.

Enjoy the wonderful closeness of co sleeping, it is a very special way of everyone getting a good night’s sleep, but be mindful to the possible pitfalls in terms of sleep associations if your aim is for your baby to be able to find their own happy, independent and comfortable way of settling going forward.

Naps can be tricky, if your baby is only used to going to sleep beside you, again, whilst this is perfectly feasible in the early weeks when you also need to get as much rest as possible, it can lead to your baby only being happy to settle for daytime sleeps if you are lying close by.  All in all, it is a personal choice. In a nutshell, my recommendations to parents regarding co sleeping are:

  • Enjoy the closeness
  • Be sure your bed is a safe environment for your baby to settle and sleep

Be mindful of creating potentially difficult associations with settling, so as your baby gets older, feed less for comfort and more for nutritional need, allowing your baby to settle in the bed with less input from you (feeding, rocking, holding to sleep) as your baby gets older. This ensures co sleeping continues to be of great benefit for all involved, and that you your baby and your partner can be sure of good quality – and length! – of night time sleep.
I hope the above is useful and please do comment below.
If you would like further advice or to book a consult please email me

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