In the initial few months, everything about newborns is delicate for the parents and the baby too. Considering all the physical and emotional needs of the baby, most doctors will advise co-sleeping with the baby for at least the first 6 months. There are many benefits of co-sleeping with the baby. Co-sleeping is a way of attachment to the baby, it gets the parents close with the baby and more comfortable in taking care of him. It also helps the baby sleep better and longer as babies tend to wake up in the night and for feedings too. It is less hassle for the mother to feed and take care of the baby when he needs her. With all these pros there still is a debate whether co-sleeping should be encouraged and whether or not it is safe. Some areas of society and media have hyped the debate on this issue by exaggerating, thus keeping parents in doubt. Along with this the constant fear of suffocating or harming the baby and crib or cot death, adds up to the doubt in most parents. Well, to begin with, most of the cot deaths, do not necessarily happen due to co-sleeping. A study conducted proved that co-sleeping is safer than crib sleeping for the baby.
Co-sleeping Safety Tips
If you choose to co-sleep make sure you follow and consider co-sleeping safety tips. We have mentioned some important points and things to remember in the following, to make this practice easy and safe for you and your little one.
Keep the baby's head and face uncovered, make sure the covering is just enough to keep his body temperature normal. The baby should be dressed as required, as when he sleeps in contact with the mother's body, his body temperature will rise too. So keep a tab of just enough warmth by all means. Always make the baby sleep on his back.
The size of the bed is important. Make sure you have a bed that can comfortably accommodate you and your partner and also get enough space for the baby. If getting a big bed is difficult, consider getting a bed side crib that can be attached right next to your bed.
Make sure the bed is closed by a wall on one side. Or make use of railing on the bed to make a fencing. The mattress should be as close as possible to the frame of the bed. Any gap between the mattress and bed frame can trap the baby. The head or foot boards on the bed should be minimal, as they can also trap the baby.
Never use a water bed, bean bag, pillow or sofa to sleep with the baby. Always make use of a firm bed mattress. The filling in the mattress should not be too soft or too hard. The baby can get smothered or too warm in a very soft and clumsy bedding. Make sure the covering for the mattress is well laid and is tightly spread on the mattress. This prevents the baby from getting trapped by over rolling.
Do not put the baby alone on the bed, even if you are away for a minute. Make sure the bed is completely safe with something like a mesh rail. Avoid cushions as a barrier to keep the baby from rolling.
Do not make any other toddler sleep next to the baby. The mother and the baby should be on one side of the bed, if you have a sibling sharing the bed.
Avoid this practice if you are over weight, to prevent a roll over and harm. Also if you are a very deep sleeper, consider attaching a crib to the bed. If any of the partners are on heavy medications that results in heavy and deep sleeping, avoid sleeping besides a baby.
Strictly do not sleep with the baby if either of the parents smoke. Research has found out that co-sleeping with smokers increased risk of cot deaths.
Do not co-sleep if you or your partner have consumed alcohol or any other strong drug or if you are very tired and fatigued. Another very important factor is if the baby is premature, it is recommended to avoid sleeping besides him.
One most important aspect in co-sleeping safety tips is that both the parents should be mentally willing and prepared to handle it. If either of the partners disagree, avoid co-sleeping with the baby. All babies are different and eventually you will get used to his feeding and sleeping habits. Once you know and understand the baby's needs and sleep pattern, co-sleeping will be a warm and healthy routine for you and the baby.