I am very happy to see that this year #safersleepweek is focusing on co-sleeping! Sadly, 3 babies die every week from SIDS and unsafe co-sleeping is certainly a factor.
A recent report from the National Child Mortality Database highlighted that many babies die in hazardous co-sleeping situations, the majority of which are unplanned. So, it’s vital that every new and expectant parent knows the advice on how to co-sleep more safely, regardless of how they plan to sleep. This will allow parents to prepare a safer space for planned co-sleeping, or if they fall asleep without intending to.[The Lullaby Trust, 2023]
I started off co-sleeping with my eldest 13 years go but it only lasted for 7 weeks and I remember researching a lot seeing he was my first child. With my daughter despite having a bedside crib we co-slept for over a year. My husband works nights so we had the bed to ourselves although I do remember her big brother sometimes joining us midway through the night.
First time around I remember there was a lot of stigma and strong opinions on the co-sleeping subject online and it was something I didn’t really discussed with my Antenatal class mum group when we meet weekly because I was worried that I would get judged. Same with the midwife & health visitor who would easily lecture me on things I did wrong.
The thing that worried me the most about co-sleeping was the pillow and the duvet and it getting onto the baby so I changed my thick duvet to a summer one and had a very flat pillow for myself instead of 2.
The above was with our first born 13 years ago. 2nd time round I was more prepared, informed and had confidence in the choices I was making from the start. I let my health visitor know what we were planning to do and she ensured I had access and was informed of the way to co-sleep safely and was very supportive.
I love that this campaign is focusing on safer co-sleeping and it will help so many families have access to information to enable them to make their own informed decision on this subject and reduce hazardous co-sleeping situations!!
Information from The Lullaby Trust
How to co-sleep more safely
Although the safest place for a baby to sleep is in a clear, flat, separate sleep space (e.g. cot or Moses basket), many families will co-sleep with their baby at some point.
Even if a family doesn’t intend to co-sleep, they need to know how to prepare their bed in case they do.
Take a look at @lullabytrust’s step-by-step guide to preparing your bed for co-sleeping more safely:
🛏️ Firm, flat mattress
🛏️ Make sure baby can’t get trapped, wedged or fall out
🛏️ Never leave baby unattended in adult bed
🛏 Do not let additional children / pets in
🛏️ Keep pillows and adult bedding away from your baby
🛏 Follow all other safer sleep advice, such as sleeping baby on their back
Sleeping on a sofa or armchair with your baby can increase the risk of SIDS by 50 times. Babies are also at risk of accidental death as they can easily slip into a position where they are trapped and can’t breathe.
It’s fine to have a cuddle on the sofa with your baby but if you feel sleepy, get up and pop your baby in their cot or Moses basket
Co-sleeping is especially dangerous in certain situations and @lullabytrust advises that you never co-sleep if any of these apply:
Either you or anyone in the bed smokes (even if you do not smoke in the bedroom)
Either you or anyone in the bed has recently drunk any alcohol
You or anyone in the bed has taken any drugs that make you feel sleepy
Your baby was born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or weighed under 2.5kg or 5½lbs when they were born