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Co-sleeping with your newborn

Bedsharing can be perfectly safe

The taboos that surround bed-sharing with your baby can be much more dangerous. Midwives, health visitors and doctors all give the same advice. Put your baby to sleep on its back in a cot in your room. Do not sleep with your baby; it increases the risk of SIDS. And that last little word is all that is needed to scare new parents to death. It is the thing that scares us the most. It is why we keep checking if our sleeping baby, who is lying so still, is actually breathing.

But the advice to put baby in a cot can lead to much more dangerous situations than actually giving new mums sound advice on safe bed-sharing. Babies are wired to sleep with mum close-by. Mum by their side regulates their heartbeat, their breathing and their sleep cycle. Hormones in a breastfeeding mother makes sure her sleep is adjusted to more light sleep, thus making it easy for her to wake up to the slightest movement.

Being close helps you respond faster

If a scared mum, who naturally wants what is safest for her baby, keeps putting her baby in the cot… and baby keeps waking up. She may become exhausted. Scared of falling asleep in bed with the baby, she gets up and nurses baby in a chair. Breastfeeding hormones designed to induce sleep start working. Mum falls asleep in the chair with baby. Now that is where the real danger lies. Falling asleep with a baby in a chair or on a sofa and falling asleep exhausted are much more dangerous than SAFELY bed-sharing.

Safe bed-sharing means: no heavy bedding, fluffy pillows or stuffed animals. No smoking, drinking or using any type of drugs. No daddy or other kids with access to baby. No soft surfaces (i.e. waterbeds).

There are both good and bad options for co-sleeping

For example, you might have heard the hype about the DockATot – endorsed by celebs everywhere. But it’s not safe for sleeping at night when you are sleeping as well, as they even acknowledge on their own website.

The best option really is a side car cot. Your baby is easily within arms reach so you can quickly tend to their needs (which gives you a better chance of getting them back to sleep again once you are done.  It’s the perfect way to sleep with a safe separate space for baby.

This means that breastfeeding mothers (hormones help mum wake up) can safely share the bed with baby.

You will want a sidecar cot that is breathable, stable (preferably able to be clamped to a bed frame or strapped to a mattress) and well protected. There are many options on the market but our favourites are the Snuzpod and Arms Reach. They both securely attach to the bed. The Snuzpod is a little more expensive because of it’s removable bassinet feature which is handy for daytimes, but they are both incredibly safe and well thought-through.

 

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