Co-sleeping with baby: what you need to know
When parents sleep in the same beds as their babies, it’s called co-sleeping. It’s the way humans have naturally raised their children for thousands of years, and it’s still common practice in many parts of the world.
However, co-sleeping is less popular than it used to be. This is, in part, because it has been linked to an increased risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and fatal sleeping accidents.
At Sleep Republic we don’t express an opinion on co-sleeping. But we do believe you should make an informed decision on where your baby sleeps.
We’re focused on making the best high-quality pocket-spring mattresses we can so everyone can get perfect sleep, no matter who’s in your bed.
Advantages of co-sleeping
Parents who advocate co-sleeping with their babies believe that it has many advantages, including:
- Helping their babies feel safe, secure and loved from an early age
- Making it easy to breastfeed during the night, and allowing the baby to be soothed back to sleep before he or she fully wakes up so parents can get more sleep
- Enjoying the experience of waking up each morning next to a happy baby
Advantages of a cot in the same room
The federal government-funded Raising Children Network recommends that rather than sleeping in your bed, your baby should sleep in a cot next to your bed for the first 6-12 months.
Like co-sleeping, having your baby in a separate cot in the same room has the advantages of:
- Being near your baby so you can respond quickly when they wake up
- Making it easy to check on your baby whenever you want without needing to get out of bed
But it has advantages over co-sleeping, including:
- You get better sleep. Babies sleep very lightly, and their movements can disturb a parent sleeping in the same bed
- If babies are used to settling in their own beds, it’s easier for them to sleep away from their parents at childcare centres or in the care of friends or relatives
- It’s easier to start babies off in their own beds than to change the sleeping arrangements at a later stage.
Of course some parents choose to sleep their baby in a separate room, often using a baby monitor to keep in close touch. One study has found that this can result in better sleep for infants, especially after the age of 4 months.
Factors which raise the risks of co-sleeping
The Raising Children Network warns that the risks of SIDS in infancy are increased by co-sleeping if:
- You or your partner is a smoker
- You or your partner use drugs, alcohol or any type of sedative medication that causes heavy sleep
- Your baby is less than three months old, was born prematurely, or is smaller than most babies when born
Top tips for safe co-sleeping
The Western Australian Department of Health offers this advice on how to co-sleep as safely as possible:
- Place your baby on their back and beside one parent/carer, not in between two people so that they don’t overheat, get smothered, or slip underneath pillows, adult bedding or covers
- Make sure your baby is not too close to the edge of the bed where they could roll off.
- Don’t place pillows at the side of your baby to prevent them from rolling off
- If you’ve placed your mattress on the floor, make sure it’s away from the wall and other furniture so there are no gaps your baby could slip into
- Make sure that your mattress is firm and flat
- Pillows, adult bedding or covers, and any other soft items should be kept away from your baby
- Make sure there is nothing soft underneath your baby, like a sheepskin rug or a wool underlay
- Dress your baby in a baby sleeping bag with fitted neck and arm holes, so they can lie outside the adult bedding or covers
- Only use lightweight blankets
- Your baby should not be wrapped when sharing the same sleep surface as a parent/carer to prevent overheating.
- Children or pets should never share the same sleep surface with your baby
For more information and advice on your baby’s sleeping arrangements, talk to your doctor, midwife or child health nurse, or contact Healthdirect Australia.
The perfect sleep experience
Whether you’re sharing a bed with your baby, your partner or sleeping alone, the secret to a good night’s sleep is a great mattress.
At Sleep Republic, our mattresses are available in six sizes.
Each one features:
- Over 1000 pocket springs
- Gel-infused memory foam
- Anti-allergenic natural latex lining
- Knitted cashmere covers
And you can buy now from Sleep Republic and pay later with Zip Pay and Afterpay.
Take us up on our 100-night free trial, with free delivery and free returns nationwide, to feel the Sleep Republic difference for yourself.