Sharing your bed with the baby or co-sleeping is a common phenomenon that happens in all parts of the world. Parents normally share the bed with the baby due to convenience. If the baby sleeps in a separate room or even a separate cot parents need to get up from their bed when the need arises. Whereas, if they share bed with the baby they can check on the baby while lying in bed itself. Sharing the bed with the baby enables the mother to bond well with the baby and also to easily breastfeed the baby during the night.

Even though co-sleeping is beneficial for the healthy relation between mother and baby it has its disadvantages:

  • The first and foremost danger of co-sleeping is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS). Even though the percentage of death due to SIDS is very low, it can never be neglected. SIDS occurs as a result of breathlessness caused by the face being covered by bedspread or pillow.

  • If either of the parents is a smoker, the smell of cigarettes can be dangerous to the infant.

  • If the baby is premature or has low birth weight, it is likely to contract infection through co-sleeping.

  • If either of the parent is under the influence of alcohol or under heavy medication they are likely to forget the presence of baby on the bed and may accidentally roll over him. Similarly if you have a sleep disorder, then also you should avoid sleeping with the baby.

How to make co-sleeping safe?

  • Light bedding: Make sure that the bedcover used is light so that it is possible to breath even if it accidentally falls on the baby’s face. Under no circumstances should a duvet be used while sleeping with baby under 1 year old. Similarly the mattress should also be firm so that  it does not suffocate or overheat the baby. Tuck any gap between the bed and the wall. Remove any oversized stuffed toys that might fall on the baby accidentally.

  • Bed: A king size bed would be ideal if you are planning to co-sleep as it provides enough space for all.

  • Room Temperature: The room temperature should not be hot as sleeping together will again raise the temperature. Ideally speaking, if you are comfortable with the room temperature the baby should also be comfortable.

  • No toddlers: Never allow your toddler to sleep next to your baby. Toddlers are immature and they might accidentally roll over the baby or put their arm or leg over baby while sleeping.

  • Position: The baby should always be made to sleep on his back and not on his tummy.

Co-sleeping has its own share of advantages and disadvantages. It is completely left to the parents whether they want to share bed with the baby or make him sleep separately.

Source http://www.babycentre.co.uk/