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  • Taylor Scott-Wood

Why It's Important Not to Bed Share with Your Baby

So you just got home from the hospital and you’re exhausted, hormones are all over the place, and all you want to do is sleep. Your little one has day and night confusion and is asleep all day and then awake at night when both they AND YOU should be sleeping. All you want to do is sleep and so you bring your newborn into bed with you because you feel it’s the only way you’ll get some sleep. I’ve been there and I absolutely understand the temptation. In this post, I will go over the reasons why it’s crucial not to bed share with your baby and offer alternatives for both your baby's safety and your peace of mind.


Resisting the Desire to Bed Share

As parents, we want nothing more than to provide the best care and protection for our little ones. But running on no sleep, it’s impossible to provide the best care when you can’t care for yourself. One topic that often sparks debate is whether or not to bed share with a new baby.


I want to specify that bed sharing and room sharing is VERY different. Bed sharing is sleeping in the same bed with your infant. Room sharing is when your baby is in their own bed in the same room as the parents. Experts are very adamant that you should never bedshare because of the potential SIDS, suffocation and accident risks.


Baby sleeping

1. Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexplained death of an otherwise healthy infant. Bed sharing significantly increases the risk of SIDS. Research has shown that sharing a bed with a baby increases the likelihood of accidental suffocation, entrapment, or overheating, all of which are known risk factors for SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly advises against bed sharing to reduce the risk of SIDS and promotes safe sleep practices such as room sharing.



2. Increased Risk of Accidents

Lets face it, most parents' beds aren't designed for a baby to fit in bed too. The risk of accidental injury or death is higher when a baby is placed in an adult bed. There is a chance of the baby rolling off the bed, becoming wedged between the mattress and headboard, or getting trapped between pillows or blankets. Also think of how much you toss and turn while you sleep, and potentially rolling onto your baby or being half asleep and thinking they’re a pillow and accidentally moving it. Or you’re like me, and can’t fall asleep at all with your little one in your arms or in the bed with you. Creating a separate sleeping space for your baby, such as a crib or bassinet, significantly reduces these risks. There are so many different styles of bassinets that actually have the bassinet essentially hover over top of your bed with rails that slide down easily, making it very easy to breastfeed during the night and pop them right back in their own safe sleep space.


3. Interference with Normal Development

Infants, especially newborns, make a lot of noise when they sleep, and it doesn’t mean they are actually awake. But when they’re in bed with you, that noise is right beside you and seems much louder, and naturally you will try to get them right back to sleep without allowing them to do so on their own. Sharing a bed with your baby makes it harder for them to learn to self-soothe and fall asleep independently, which can lead to sleep difficulties later on. Creating a consistent sleep routine in a safe sleep space helps babies establish healthy sleep habits and encourages them to develop independent sleep skills.


4. Compromised Parental Rest


While bed sharing may seem convenient for night feedings and soothing, it often results in fragmented sleep for both the baby and parents. Infants have different sleep patterns and may frequently wake up during the night, they do not develop sleep cycles like adults until around 4 months. Them waking more often actually disturbs their parents' rest. Having a separate sleep space for your baby within arm's reach, such as a bedside crib or bassinet, allows for easy access and minimizes sleep disturbances for everyone. It provides the benefits of close proximity without the risks associated with bed sharing. Room sharing makes breastfeeding more convenient, allowing mothers to quickly attend to their baby's needs. It also allows parents to be able to bond, as parents can easily comfort and monitor their baby without risking sleep safety.





Sleeping Safely

While the idea of bed sharing with your new baby might seem like an easy fix for some much needed sleep, it is essential to prioritize their safety and well-being. The risks associated with bed sharing, including an increased likelihood of SIDS, accidental suffocation, and interference with normal sleep development, outweigh any potential benefits.


By opting for room sharing and creating a safe sleep environment for your baby, you can promote their healthy development and ensure restful nights for the entire family. Remember, a well-rested and secure parent is better equipped to provide the love and care their baby needs. Try getting a bassinet that allows them to be within an arm’s reach, or as parents take turns being on baby watch.


If you are struggling to have your little one sleep in their own space, reach out to me or another sleep consultant and we can help you and your family get on track.



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