Co-sleeping or not, how do you choose?

Some parents choose to have a separate nursery from Day 1 while others prefer co-sleeping. Co-sleeping could mean having your baby sleeping on the same bed as you or in the same room. It has been gaining in popularity, particularly in having the baby sleep in the same room as the parent, as a way to reduce the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDs because the parent is close to the baby. Being near their parent is also thought to benefit the baby.

Sharing a bed was thought to make it easier for breastfeeding moms. It’s not uncommon in several traditional cultures. The proximity of the mother is also thought to offer emotional security and comfort for the baby. However, sharing a bed is not recommended in the West for various reasons: The adult bed is not considered safe for a baby and gaps between the mattress and the headboard and such spaces may actually be a cause for concern. Another fear is that an over-tired mum may roll on the baby causing inadvertent harm. Taking extra care may mean compromising on their own sleep and rest.

Co-sleeping in the same room allows both parent and baby the proximity to each other without compromising on safety or rest for either. It allows the parent to respond quickly and immediately to the baby. Some may view this as a good thing while there’s a school of thought that may disapprove because it doesn’t allow the baby to self-soothe and be independent.

Choosing a separate nursery means allowing the baby to get used to sleeping in their own room, and their own bed. It demands more on the parent – to attend to the baby for feeds or if they are crying. Also, there’s the niggling worry about their well-being.

Your decision to co-sleep or not depends on your own preferences and the space you have within your house. No matter what you choose, here are a few recommendations for a safe sleep environment for your baby:

  • Do ensure that the baby’s bed is clear of clutter – no pillows, soft toys, big blankets or crib bumpers.
  • Do ensure that your baby sleeps on their back, not on their side or tummy
  • Do use a light baby blanket and make sure that their face is not covered.

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