Co-Sleeping With Your Baby: What Parents Should Know
Co-sleeping can be confusing for new parents to understand. With mixed messages on what’s safe and unsafe, it can be difficult to know what’s best for your little one. Fortunately, our experts at Newton Baby have done the research for you!
Here, we break down what co-sleeping really means, the safest ways to co-sleep, and what you should avoid to ensure your baby stays happy and healthy during sleep time.
Read on to learn the safest co-sleeping practices to decide whether it’s right for you.
What Is Co-Sleeping?
When you picture co-sleeping, what probably comes to mind is a parent sharing their bed with their little one.
In reality, there’s a distinct difference between co-sleeping — which is sleeping in the same vicinity as your child — and bed-sharing.
Co-Sleeping Vs. Bed-Sharing
Co-sleeping is the overarching term for sharing a sleeping space with your baby.
While this may include bed-sharing, it’s also common for new parents to have their little one in their room with them, but not necessarily in the same bed. This is often referred to as room-sharing.
Parents might choose to share a bed with their baby for a variety of reasons — from making nighttime feedings more easily accessible to being able to rock their little one back to sleep quicker.
While bed-sharing may sound like it would be comforting for your baby and perhaps allow you and your partner to get some much-needed rest, it can actually be a very dangerous form of co-sleeping.
Pillows, sheets, blankets, and adult mattresses are all suffocation hazards for infants, as is the very real possibility of a parent rolling onto their baby during a night of deep sleep.
Sadly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) records roughly 3,500 sleep-related infant deaths each year, many of which are preventable with a few small but important changes.
In fact, bed-sharing is one of the most common causes of sleep-related deaths in babies under three months of age.
As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly advises against bed-sharing with your little one.
They advise that babies 12 months of age and younger should sleep in their parents’ room but on their own specially designed sleep surface, like our Essential Crib Mattress.
Safe, breathable, and easily washable, our Essential Crib Mattress provides the perfect amount of support and comfort for your little one while they sleep.
Our Wovenaire® Core provides optimum air circulation to help your baby regulate their body temperature (no more sweaty backs!) and also reduces the need to flip your baby’s mattress as they grow.
Our Essential Crib Mattress gives you peace of mind that while your little one snoozes, their risk of sleep-related suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is reduced. It’s a safe and comfortable option for co-sleeping with your baby.
The Benefits Of Co-Sleeping
Co-sleeping by sharing a room with your little one isn’t only beneficial for your peace of mind — it’s also been proven to significantly reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 50%, as parents are able to tend to their babies quicker if a dangerous situation arises.
It also allows parents to meet their baby’s needs more easily throughout the night, including nighttime feedings and soothing little ones back to sleep if they’re stirring.
Bed-sharing doesn’t make these tasks any quicker or simpler than room-sharing does, so it’s best to stick to this method of co-sleeping to avoid the risks associated with sharing your bed with your baby.
When To Stop Co-Sleeping With Your Baby
If you’re considering co-sleeping with your baby, it’s natural to ask a follow-up question — when should co-sleeping end?
The answer is six to 12 months of age at the earliest, as recommended by the AAP.
However, if your little one is comfortable sleeping in your room and both you and your partner are still able to get a good night’s rest, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to co-sleep with your baby past this age bracket.
Transitioning your little one to their own room can feel daunting at first, but there are ways to make the process easier.
By spending time in your baby’s nursery and teaching your little one to self-soothe, ending your co-sleeping journey when the time is right can be a positive experience for everyone involved.
Our Expert Tips For Co-Sleeping
As with any sleep setup for your baby, there are a few key factors to consider to help keep your little one safe throughout the night while co-sleeping.
1) Choose Your Preferred Sleeping Arrangement
Firstly, before you begin co-sleeping with your baby, you’ll need to choose your preferred sleeping arrangement to best suit your family.
There are three common options for safe co-sleeping arrangements: a standalone bassinet, a co-sleeper bassinet, or a crib. None of these options is necessarily better than another — it all comes down to what’s going to work best for you!
Bassinets are a popular choice among new parents who choose to co-sleep with their infants, as they tend to be compact and can fit into even the smallest of bedrooms.
Standalone bassinets are freestanding. And some come with additional features, including mechanical settings that can rock your baby to sleep.
Co-sleeper bassinets are generally more basic in terms of extra features, but they always have a drop-side rail to allow the bassinet to attach to, or at least sit right up next to, your bed so you can keep your little one close.
In contrast, a crib is essentially a larger version of a bassinet. While they may not be quite as compact, cribs provide a safe sleeping surface for your little one that they won’t grow out of anytime soon.
For this reason, many parents choose to forego a bassinet and purchase a crib from the get-go. In any case, it’s crucial to transition your baby to a crib as soon as they’re able to roll over.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to select a safe, comfortable mattress for your baby to sleep on and a mattress pad, like our Waterproof Crib Mattress Pad, for added protection and mold prevention.
2) Always Place Your Little One Down To Sleep On Their Back
The number one rule you should always follow whether you’re choosing to co-sleep with your little one or not is to only put your baby down to sleep on their back.
This safe sleep practice applies to all babies unless your pediatrician has advised you otherwise.
Placing your little one on their back to go to sleep helps reduce the risk of suffocation. This should continue until your baby has reached one year of age.
Once your little one is comfortably rolling over by themselves, you don’t need to worry about correcting their sleep position should they roll over in their crib (especially if your mattress is breathable).
3) Follow The “Bare Is Best” Approach To Sleeptime
As we mentioned earlier, loose sheets and blankets are a suffocation and entrapment hazard for infants.
Sadly, many infants that experience SIDS are found with bedding covering their heads, so it’s crucial that all bedding in your little one’s crib is as snug as possible.
Like your baby’s mattress, the sheets on your baby’s bed should be breathable and comfortable. If the sheet is organic and hypoallergenic, even better.
For an option that ticks all the boxes, our Organic Cotton Sheets have got you covered. They provide a firm fit for any crib mattress thanks to their all-around elastic, and the pre-shrunk organic muslin cotton makes them incredibly hygienic, easy to wash, and ultra-soft.
Plus, they come in a variety of cute prints, making them easy on the eye as well as gentle on your little one’s skin.
Just like excess bedding, toys can easily block your little one’s airways as they sleep. For this reason, it’s important to remove all toys from your baby’s crib before you put them down for bed.
We recommend following the “bare is best” approach when it comes to setting up your child’s crib. That means no toys, crib bumpers, or pillows — you don’t want anything in your baby’s crib that might cover their face.
Keep Your Little One Safe With Newton Baby
We hope this guide has helped clear up some of the questions you may have had about co-sleeping methods and allowed you to determine whether co-sleeping is right for you and your baby.
Whether you choose to co-sleep with your little one or not, remember to always lay your baby down to sleep on their back, keep their crib free from excess bedding and toys, and choose a breathable mattress with snug sheets to avoid suffocation.
Our Essential Crib Mattress and Organic Cotton Sheets are a match made in heaven when it comes to keeping your baby comfortable and safe throughout the night. For peace of mind and a good night’s sleep, Newton Baby is here for you!