Is Co-Sleeping Safe?

Learn About Co-Sleeping Safety

Co-sleeping is often an easy solution, or at times it may feel like the only solution to get your baby to sleep. Some parents may also co-sleep as a way to comfort themself. Separation anxiety can be real for parents and babies. Parents that choose to co-sleep may find it hard to reverse the habit. While you may choose to take advantage of snuggles all night long once in a while, it’s best you avoid co-sleeping. Keep reading to learn more about co-sleeping safety and at what age co-sleeping is in fact safe, along with everything else you’ll need to know.

Is co-sleeping safe?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), co-sleeping or bed-sharing is not recommended. However, it’s recognized just how many parents choose to co-sleep. Should you choose to co-sleep, you should be aware of the risks involved. Co-sleeping can increase the risk of sudden death syndrome known as SIDS. It can also increase the chance of suffocation or strangulation. Sleeping with our babies may make us feel closer to them so we know that it’s bound to happen, but be careful. And keep in mind that although there are risks, it’s still unlikely that co-sleeping will hurt your baby. While there are ways to make bed-sharing safer, the safest option is to sleep in separate beds.

What are the effects of parent-infant co-sleeping?

While there are dangers involved with co-sleeping, there are positive effects too. First and foremost, your baby will probably sleep better, and you might too. Second, babies may experience less stress. Lastly, co-sleeping can help babies breathe more regularly and use energy more efficiently. While co-sleeping can offer beautiful benefits, not all co-sleeping arrangements are as safe as they can be. In addition, co-sleeping does not help your baby learn to self-soothe which may create more problems in the long run. Before choosing to co-sleep do your research and always put your baby’s safety and health before your own needs.

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Is co-sleeping more natural?

Co-sleeping may seem like a once-in-a-while practice for some people, but in many cultures and societies, it’s an accepted way of life. Anthropologists claim that it’s a more natural sleep method in primates and traditional societies. However, it’s frowned upon by most in the Western world.

Some parents consider co-sleeping as a more natural way of sleeping because it’s a part of their culture. Those who weren’t raised on co-sleeping may do it because they are too tired to cope with their sleepless child and don’t want to make multiple trips in and out of the room.

At what age is co-sleeping safe?

Co-sleeping becomes safer after a child is one year old. At this age, the risk of SIDS becomes substantially lower.

However, because the child is more aware, co-sleeping at this age will get them used to sleeping with mommy and daddy and it may be harder to break them of this habit. Also, you may end up with a larger child sleeping in your bed which can impact your marriage and your good night’s sleep.

What are the pros of co-sleeping?

Co-sleeping does have its benefits. Aside from maybe making life easier, it can offer the following pros:

  • More natural way of sleeping for some: If you were brought up in a culture that promotes co-sleeping, it may feel more natural to you and your child.
  • Aids with development: Some experts say that the increased physical contact of co-sleeping with the parent helps regulate the baby's body temperature. It’s also said to support regular breathing, growth, and energy use and to reduce stress.
  • Produces calmer conditions: Co-sleeping allows parents to instantly soothe their child, so they don’t have to get out of bed every time they cry. Babies will also feel calmer knowing their mom or dad is nearby.
  • Creates the feeling of love: Although many parents feel it is best to let a child cry it out and self-soothe, babies need to know that their cries for help are being considered. Ignoring them can be psychologically damaging.

What are the cons of co-sleeping?

While sleeping with your baby may be comforting for the both of you, if possible, it should be avoided. It’s through uncomfortable times that we all become stronger, and it starts at a very young age. Here are the downsides of co-sleeping:

  • Increases the risk of SIDS: Co-sleeping raises body temperature and increases the risk of hypoxia which contributes to SIDS.
  • Parents and babies may actually sleep less: Although some feel that co-sleeping means better sleep for the parent and child, studies have shown that when parents and children sleep together, they stimulate each other causing wakefulness.
  • Diminishes self-soothing: When babies sleep with their parents, they may become spoiled, and they may have trouble self-soothing.

Can you safely bedshare with a newborn?

While co-sleeping will always present certain risks, there are things you can do to improve co-sleeping safety:

  • Never sleep with babies under 3 months or preemies
  • Avoid co-sleeping if you or your baby is unwell
  • Never co-sleep if you’re using alcohol, drugs, or any medications that present risks
  • Refrain from co-sleeping if you smoke
  • Co-sleep on a firm flat surface for optimal breathing
  • Place your baby on their back away from objects so that there’s no risk of being suffocated or trapped
  • Never sleep with a swaddled baby
  • Keep blankets and pillows away from your baby’s sleep space
  • Tie your hair back and remove anything else that might be a strangling risk

While all of the above can promote co-sleeping safety, finding a way to get your baby to sleep well on their own is the best solution. You may feel like you have tried everything, but trust us when we tell you, the solution you’re looking for does exist. After being in your very same shoes, Tara Williams, Mom of 3, thought the third time was the charm. Instead, she was blessed with a baby boy that just did not want to sleep! As any mom would, Tara Williams went to work trying to do everything she could to help her son sleep. It was through long sleepless nights and plenty of trial and error that Dreamland Baby weighted sleep products were born. Dreamland products are proven to get your baby to sleep faster and keep them sleeping longer. And you know what that means - a full night of sleep for you too.

Dream Weighted Sleep Swaddle, 0-6 months