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Health Information For Parents
I’m pregnant with my first child. I’m thinking about letting my baby sleep in bed with me and my husband. Is this OK? – Natalia
Experts recommend room-sharing without bed-sharing to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related deaths in infants.
Bed-sharing — letting your baby sleep in the same bed with you — is one type of co-sleeping, which is when parents sleep near their baby.
Most experts agree that sleeping near your baby is a good thing to do. But people often disagree on bed-sharing. Fans of bed-sharing say it helps a baby fall asleep, is easier on nursing mothers, and promotes the bond between parent and child.
But bed-sharing can be dangerous. Adult beds can be unsafe for babies. Parents can roll over onto the baby, the baby can be suffocated in the bedding, or the baby could get trapped between the mattress and a wall or headboard. An infant could even fall off the bed entirely. Studies show that bed-sharing increases the risk of SIDS, especially for babies whose mothers smoke.
Instead, enjoy the benefits of sleeping close to your baby by room-sharing, which means having your infant’s sleep space near your bed, but not in your bed. You can keep your baby near you by having him or her sleep in a bassinet, crib, or play yard. Bedside sleepers are available that attach to the side of the bed so that babies are within reach of their parents but still in their own safe space.
If you do choose to bed-share, be sure to:
Do not sleep with your infant if you are a smoker; have been drinking alcohol; or have taken any drugs or medicine that could make you groggy and less responsive to your baby (such as nighttime cough medicines, certain pain medicines, antidepressants, or sleep aids).
Bed-sharing increases the risk of sleep-related deaths, including SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room-sharing without bed-sharing for the safest sleep environment.
Newborn babies donât yet have a sense of day and night. They wake often to eat â no matter what time it is.
SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants 1 month to 1 year old. Though SIDS remains unpredictable, you can help reduce your infant’s risk.
At this age, babies generally have their days and nights straightened out. Many infants even “sleep through the night,” which means 5 or 6 hours at a time.
When you choose a crib, check it carefully to make sure that your baby’s sleep space is safe. Here’s how.
Kids can strangle or become entrapped in the most unexpected ways – even cords, strings on clothing, and infant furniture and accessories can be dangerous. Read how to prevent these dangers around your home.
Use these checklists to make a safety check of your home, including your nursery, child’s room, adult’s bedroom. You should answer “yes” to all of these questions.
Guard against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by learning how to safely put your baby to sleep.
All new parents want their babies to sleep well. Here’s what to expect in that first year, and how to help your baby sleep.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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