It is becoming more common to co-sleep with your baby, and yet the AAP does not recommend it. As an attached parent, I have practiced safe co-sleeping with my children and we currently have a huge family bed. In the research I have done, it seems that many of the cases of infant death have resulted in unsafe co-sleeping, and/or a parent being intoxicated. When done properly, research actually suggests that it can reduce the risk of SIDS.
I love co-sleeping and wouldn’t change it for the world. I wake before my little guy fully rouses to nurse and so he “sleeps through the night” only waking to feed, therefore we all get more rest. I feel more confident in that I KNOW he is next to me, breathing, and I can kep a very close eye on him. With my toddler, I love being ther when he wakes for those bad dreams, or when he just needs mommy. And I LOVE waking up in the morning for family snuggles.
With that all being said, there are several safety precautions we take to ensure that the infant and toddler are safe. These are not things to get careless with, no matter how comfortable co-sleeping you are.
Remove all pillows from the bed, except the one you use to sleep on and keep it away from the baby’s head.
Dress the baby in warm clothing so he doesn’t need a blanket.
Put the bed on the floor and make sure there are no cracks or pillows for him to get stuck in.
Make sure the sheets fit tight and the mattress is firm. We have a pillow top mattress, but it is on the floor making it firm. When DS was very young he slept in the cook of my arm, and wasn’t going ANYWHERE! I also keep him on his back, though he can now roll and pick up his head.
Have a large enough bed. We co-slept with our first son in a king bed and when our second was born we tried a co-sleeper. DS hated it and ended up in the bed. To ensure everyone’s safety and a good nights sleep, we bought another king bed. They lie side by side on the floor, and everyone has enough room.
NEVER CO-SLEEP WHILE INTOXICATED IN ANY WAY.
Co-sleeping is a great bonding experience and I absolutely love it, but co-sleeping safely is very important. Be sure to do your research and make sure it is right for your family.