The question of co-sleeping comes up frequently with new parents. There’s a lot of conflicting and controversial information on the subject, so it can be difficult to decipher fact from fiction. Furthermore, there is no one-size fits all strategy in regards to sleeping arrangements. There is more than one way to save babies lives and promote the well-being of families. This is why San Francisco’s newborn care experts at GetzWell Pediatrics partner with you to understand the factors unique to your family in order to help you reach a decision about where your baby should sleep.
Benefits of Co-sleeping
Despite much of what circulates in the media, co-sleeping is thought to have a number of benefits that last well beyond infancy. For example, babies who co-sleep tend to startle less while sleeping and spend less time crying than those who don’t. They have more stable body temperatures, heart rates, and breathing rhythms compared to those who don’t co-sleep. Lastly, those who co-sleep have been shown in some studies to grow up with less anxiety, higher self-esteem, better behavior in school, fewer psychiatric problems, become independent sooner, and to be more comfortable with affection.
Ensuring Baby’s Safety and Your Peace of Mind
The decision to co-sleep comes down to a decision made by both parents, but should you decide to co-sleep, there are a number of things you can do to help ensure baby’s safety and your peace of mind:
- Understand that the conditions under which co-sleeping occurs are the main determinant as to whether it can be done safely. Infants should always sleep on their backs, on firm surfaces, on clean surfaces, in the absence of (secondhand) smoke, under light (comfortable) blanketing, and their heads should never be covered. See this for more details and the safest co-sleeping configuration.
- When co-sleeping with bottle-fed babies, the baby should not sleep in the bed but on a separate surface.
- Both parents should be in agreement and fully aware that co-sleeping is taking place.
- Infants under one year of age should never sleep with other siblings.
- If you’ve had alcohol, sedatives, or other substances that could prevent your ability to wake easily, your baby should co-sleep on a separate surface.
- Mothers with very long hair should tie it up securely to prevent infant entanglement.
- Parents who are obese or have other physical conditions that may cause difficulty in feeling the position of their infant should have the child co-sleep on a separate surface.
In the end, co-sleeping is something parents should carefully consider together using all the available information to inform their decision.
More questions about co-sleeping with your infant? Your San Francisco newborn care experts at GetzWell Pediatrics are here to help. Church St / Union St: (415) 826-1701.