Should I sleep with my baby?
It can be hard to continue your breastfeeding relationship if you are told you are not safe for your baby for a full third of the day! LLL believes there are many safe sleep options available to parents with infants. Education and accurate information are the keys to unlocking Sweet Sleep solutions!
Ten Minutes to safe sleep tonight:
You need to be:
- A nonsmoker
- Sober (no drugs, alcohol, or medications that make you drowsy)
Your baby needs to be:
- Full-term and healthy
- Kept on his back when he is not nursing
- Unswaddled, in a onesie or light pajamas
You both need to be:
- On a safe surface
Our families’ needs exist 24 hours, every single day. LLL’s goal is to help families get the most sleep for everyone tonight. Sleeping situations vary within families, for each child, and for each age or stage of development. Meeting the Sweet Sleep Seven guidelines means you virtually eliminate overlying or suffocation risks and bring your baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) down to levels below sleeping alone in a crib.
A “safe surface” is a flat mattress with only one pillow for mom and a sheet and light blanket for covering. No older children or pets in the bed. If you have a partner, think about whether you both feel comfortable sleeping with the baby in between you (baby will still stay close to the breast) or place the breastfeeding parent between partner and baby.
Breastfeeding families have come up with a wide set of solutions to night-time parenting! Some use a side-car set up where you have either a crib made to be attached to the side of an adult bed or move a crib next to an adult bed. Many times baby will start the night in their crib but wake in the morning in their parents’ bed. If this solution appeals to your family, be sure to pack the cracks of the crib mattress against the adult bed with very tight-fitting towels or blankets to ensure baby won’t get stuck in a gap.
As infants age, their sleep patterns and needs will change as well. The peak risk for SIDS is four months. Beyond four months, even the most cautious of infant sleep researchers agree that bedsharing by a responsible, nonsmoking, unimpaired adult is safe. Preserving your breastfeeding relationship at night does not have to become a marathon of sleep deprivation. With a little preparation and some solid science supporting you, bedsharing can be the most effective way of getting the most sleep for everyone in your family.
More detailed information can be found in the LLL publication, Sweet Sleep . It’s well worth the read if you are looking to help a friend or family member understand your choice to bedshare with your baby.