The question of cosleeping 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, and there’s more than one way to keep babies safe and promote families’ well-being. This is why at GetzWell Pediatrics we partner with you to understand the factors unique to your family and help you reach a decision about where your baby should sleep.
Benefits of Cosleeping
Despite much of what circulates in the media, cosleeping is thought to have a number of benefits that last well beyond infancy. For example, babies who cosleep 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 cosleep. Lastly, those who cosleep 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 are more comfortable with affection.
Ensuring Baby’s Safety and Your Peace of Mind
The decision to cosleep must be a decision made by both parents. And should you decide to cosleep, there are a number of things you can do to help ensure baby’s safety and your peace of mind, including the following:
- Understand that the conditions under which cosleeping occurs are the main determinants as to whether it can be done safely. Infants should always sleep on their backs, on a firm clean mattress/surface in the absence of (secondhand) smoke, under light (comfortable) blanketing, and their heads should never be covered. See the safest co-sleeping configuration.
- Bottle/formula fed babies should not sleep in the bed but on a separate surface like a “sidecar” crib.
- Both parents should be in agreement and fully aware that cosleeping is taking place.
- Infants under one year of age should never sleep with other siblings present in the bed.
- If you’ve had alcohol, sedatives, or other substances that could prevent your ability to wake easily, your baby should not cosleep.
- 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 cosleep on a separate surface such as a side-car bed.
In the end, co-sleeping is something parents should carefully consider together using all the available information in order to make their decision.
More questions about cosleeping with your infant? Your San Francisco pediatric experts at GetzWell are here to help. Church St / Union St: (415) 826-1701.