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Co-sleeping with your child

Co-Sleeping with your child
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The Do’s and Don’ts

Co-Sleeping with your child can be a wonderful way to bond, and brings a sense of physical closeness that is hard to beat.  Yet the concept of co-sleeping also has many opponents who claim that it is just not safe.  Experts are divided on the subject, so where does that leave parents wondering what to do for the best?  In need of facts that allow them to make an informed choice, that’s where.  To help you on your way here is our basic guide to the key do’s and don’ts of bed sharing:

Safety First

There are things you can do to make co-sleeping as safe as possible:

  • Your bed should have no gaps in the middle or at the edges that your baby could slip into and get trappedCo-Sleeping with your child
  • If your bed is high, invest in a bed rail to prevent you baby rolling off in the night
  • Choose a firm mattress that allows your baby to lie flat, protecting his back
  • Make sure your baby goes to sleep on his back, following the advice of SIDS research campaign
  • Consider the compromise of a co-sleeper crib, that sits alongside your bed allowing closeness with your baby without the worries of him being in your bed
  • Make sure there is no risk of older siblings joining you in bed.  They do not understand the dangers of suffocation

What Not to Do

Certain precautions are obvious, but it is easy to overlook or not even consider some eventualities, so be sure to bear these wise words in mind:

  • Never leave you baby alone in an adult bed.  Rolling off, and bulky covers that can smother are dangerous
  • Ensure your bedding is lightweight and not bulky, including pillows.  Your movements while you sleep can inadvertently wrap and trap your baby
  • Do not fall asleep with your baby on the sofa.  He can easily become trapped and crushed, and may fall off and injure himself
  • Avoid sharing a waterbed with your baby, as the unstable base is bad for his bone development, and rolling or crushing are more likely to occur
  • Don’t dress your baby too warmly, or keep the ambient room temperature too high
  • Don’t co-sleep if you are exhausted, or under the influence of drink or drugs
  • If you smoke, or did so during pregnancy, this can reduce your baby’s ability to wake in the night, making co-sleeping more risky

Benefits

Supporters of co-sleeping claim that there it brings many benefits to parent and child, including assisting the tender nervous system of your baby in learning to regulate itself.  Better quality sleep is often obtained by both parent and child, as once baby stirs, the parent is quicker to wake and respond, without having to climb out of bed.  Longer-term studies suggest that co-sleeping can improve self-esteem in children as they grow-up.Co-Sleeping with your child

Downsides

Studies have been undertaken over the years to assess the risks of co-sleeping in relation to SIDS.  Some appear to suggest a link, where others find little or no correlation.  Other studies recommend that sleeping in the same room is preferable to co-sleeping or being put down in a separate room. Ultimately, it is the parents’ decision and choice, and if you decide to co-sleep with your baby then the best advice is to learn how to do so in the safest possible way.

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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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