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Sharing a Bed with your baby - safety tips

The safest place for a baby to sleep in the first 6 months is in his own cot that is placed in the parents’ room. However some mothers, particularly those who are breastfeeding prefer to have the baby in their own bed, as this makes feeding at night more comfortable. It is very easy for the mother to fall asleep while lying down so it is very important to make sure that your bed is safe enough for the baby. Our adult beds are not safe enough for a baby so extra care must be taken to make sure that the baby is sleeping safely next to you and avoid cot death. 

Never sleep on a sofa or armchair as the baby might get trapped in the cushions.

 

If you or your partner (sharing the bed with you and the baby) are not in a condition to respond to the baby’s needs during the night, you should NOT take the baby with you in bed. These conditions include:

- Alcohol: if you or your partner have had a drink, or even worse, are drunk, you will not be able to respond to the baby’s needs.

- Drugs: both legal and illegal drugs might make you extra sleepy.

- If you are ill or suffer from any condition which makes you sleepy or not responsive.

- If you feel unusually tired to a point where you are not sure if you would be attentive to the baby’s needs.

- It is not safe to share the bed for the first few months with a baby who was born preterm, who was very small at birth or if he has a high temperature.

If you are not suffering from any of the above conditions, then you can reduce the risk of accident and overheating by taking some precautions before taking the baby in bed with you:

Never sleep on a sofa or armchair as the baby might get trapped in the cushions.

If sleeping on an adult bed, you need to make sure that the baby cannot become overheated, cannot suffocate or get trapped in any cushions, sheets or mattress.

  • the mattress has to be firm and flat – do not sleep with your baby on a water bed, a bean bag, a set of cushions or very soft mattress.

  • Make sure that the baby cannot fall out of the bed or get trapped between the wall and the mattress.

  • Make sure that the temperature of the room does not exceed 18 degrees Celsius. The ideal temperature would be between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius.

  • Do not overdress the baby. The baby needs to be wearing the same layers of clothing that you are wearing.

  • The covers should not overheat the baby or cover his head. Make sure that the baby cannot slip down under them. Do not cover the baby with your own covers. Let him sleep on top of them and cover him with his own covers. Babies covers are usually made with special material that allows them to breathe even if their head accidentally get covered too.

  • Never leave the baby alone when baby is in the adult bed as even tiny babies can get into dangerous positions.

  • Tell your partner that the baby is in the bed.

  • If there is another child in the bed place your partner between the child and the baby.

  • Do not let pets share the bed with you too.

  • Make sure that the baby cannot go ender the covers or under/in your pillow. Place your arm above the baby’s head thus creating a barrier between the baby and your pillow. Bend your legs so that the baby lies in the space between your legs and your arm. You are naturally facing the baby as you are breastfeeding and the baby will be on his side while drinking. After drinking place the baby flat on his back, never on his front or side.

  • If you are not breastfeeding, it is safer for your baby to sleep in a cot by your bed rather than your own bed.

If you are worried about sharing the bed with your baby speak to your midwife or pediatrician.

You can find more information on:   http://www.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly/News-and-Research/Research/Bed-sharing-and-infant-sleep/
 
 
 

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