I'm pregnant with my first child. I'm thinking about letting my baby sleep in bed with me and my husband. Is this OK?
It's not the safest option for your family. Experts recommend room-sharing without bed-sharing to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related deaths in infants.
Bed-sharing — letting your baby sleep in the same bed with you — is one type of co-sleeping, which is when parents sleep near their baby so that their little one can detect their presence by seeing, smelling, or otherwise sensing that they're nearby.
Most experts agree that co-sleeping (sleeping near your baby) is a good thing to do, but people often disagree on bed-sharing. Fans of bed-sharing say it helps a baby fall asleep, is easier on nursing mothers, and promotes the bond between parent and child.
But besides making a baby dependent on being with his or her parents to fall asleep, bed-sharing can be dangerous. Adult beds can be unsafe for babies. Parents can roll over onto the baby, the baby can be suffocated in the bedding, or the baby could get trapped between the mattress and a wall or headboard. An infant could even fall off the bed entirely. Studies show that bed-sharing may increase the risk of SIDS, especially for babies whose mothers smoke.
Instead, enjoy the benefits of sleeping close to your baby by room-sharing, which means having your infant's sleep space near your bed, but not in your bed. You can keep your baby near you by having him or her sleep in a bassinet, crib, or play yard. And products are available that attach to the side of the bed so that babies are within reach of their parents but still in their own safe space.
If you do choose to bed-share, be sure to:
Do not bed-share if you are a smoker or have taken any drugs, alcohol, or other substances that could make you groggy and less responsive to your baby (such as nighttime cough medicines, certain pain medications, antidepressants, or sleep aids).
Reviewed by: Rupal Christine Gupta, MD
Date reviewed: October 2014
|U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) This federal agency collects information about consumer goods and issues recalls on unsafe or dangerous products.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|Safe to Sleep This safety campaign teaches parents and other caregivers to always place babies on their backs to sleep. Babies who sleep on their backs are much less likely to die of SIDS than are babies who sleep on their stomachs or sides.|
|Bed-Sharing Bed-sharing is controversial in the United States. Supporters believe that a parent's bed is just where an infant belongs. But is it safe?|
|Household Safety: Preventing Strangulation and Entrapment Kids can strangle or become entrapped in the most unexpected ways - even cords, strings on clothing, and infant furniture and accessories can be dangerous. Read how to prevent these dangers around your home.|
|Bedrooms: Household Safety Checklist Use these checklists to make a safety check of your home, including your nursery, child's room, adult's bedroom. You should answer "yes" to all of these questions.|
|Choosing Safe Baby Products: Cribs Choosing baby products can be confusing with all the gadgets available. But one consideration must never be compromised: your baby's safety.|
|Sleep and Your 1- to 3-Month-Old At this age, babies generally have their days and nights straightened out. Many infants even "sleep through the night," which means 5 or 6 hours at a time.|
|Sleep and Newborns Newborn babies may wake up often at night. Their internal time clocks are not yet set, and their small stomachs are often hungry for milk.|
|Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants 1 month to 1 year old. Though SIDS remains unpredictable, you can help reduce your infant's risk.|
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