Is Co-Sleeping with Your Newborn a Good Idea?

April 16, 2019

co-sleepingWhen you become a parent, you are making crucial decisions on an ongoing basis regarding the health and happiness of your child. One of those decisions, as common as it may sound, is regarding where your child sleeps and it’s a wildly debated topic.

A parent can decide to co-sleep with their baby – which means having your newborn sleep in bed with you or next to the bed in the same room. However, the high risk associated with sleeping with your child in the bed with you as a parent or caregiver is often considered too high of a risk to take.

Instead of actually sleeping in the bed with your newborn, bassinets are a wonderful option. A new parent can make co-sleeping work for them without the newborn actually sleeping in the bed. Co-sleeping benefits can be achieved by placing a bassinet next to the bed instead. One statistic on co-sleeping indicated that there were 8,207 infant deaths from 2004 to 2012 in 24 states, and 74% of those deaths occurred in a bed-sharing situation.

Some may argue that co-sleeping reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, you gain more risks when putting the child in the bed with you. By simply putting the newborn in a bassinet next to the bed, rather than in the bed, you are decreasing the risk factors of two sleeping adults possibly suffocating the newborn accidentally while in bed with him or her. The American Academy of Pediatrics says sleeping in the parent’s room, separately, on a safe surface (such as a crib or bassinet) lowers SIDS up to 50%.

The US National Library of Medicine states that co-sleeping is popular, even though there are risks involved. In 2012, a study was done on bed-sharing between parents and newborns and the occurrence of co-sleeping doubled from 1993 and 2010 from a mere 6% to 13.5%. Why do parents still co-sleep?  Studies show that babies can get a boost in development from sleeping with their parents. Keep in mind this feeling of added security is also believed to happen when the newborn sleeps in the parent’s room, safe and secure in a nearby crib.

Another reason to co-sleep is for mothers that breastfeed. Breastfeeding can be easier when the baby is in the room because newborns are eating around the clock. However, even if your baby is within arms reach in a crib nearby, you can breastfeed with ease, if you chose to do so.

It’s true: being a parent can be exhausting, especially with a newborn! Co-sleeping often disturbs a parent’s deep sleep because of the worry that your newborn is sleeping right next to you in the bed.  Your sleep is imperative to your well-being, especially now that you have a newborn you are caring for every day and night.

Think about the ABC’s of Safe Sleeping, found at the website pathways.org:

A –  Alone. The newborn sleeps alone. Not with you in the bed. This is good for the first six to twelve months of an infant’s life.

B –  Back. The baby sleeps on their back with nothing interfering. Such as a back pad, blankets, and covers or toys.

C –  Crib. Your infant needs to be sleeping somewhere, and a crib or bassinet is your best option.

Deciding to co-sleep is a decision between you and your partner. But it’s important to understand the significance of setting up a good routine for you, your baby and your entire household. If you have questions or concerns about your newborn’s sleep schedule or co-sleeping, contact Dr. Kellow or Dr. Shaw and we’d be happy to discuss what’s best for your beautiful, new family member. Give us a call at 618-235-2311 or contact us here.