Babies are the cutest but their sleep schedules are no joke. If you’re feeling sleep deprived and crazy, I get it. At this point, you’re probably considering all types of things to get more sleep.
You may be wondering if a co-sleeper is a safe option for your baby. Co-sleepers are designed to allow your baby to sleep close to you but in a separate sleep space.
They come in different styles, including freestanding and attached to your bed. While they can be convenient and offer some benefits, safety is always top of mind for you, right?
But is a cosleeper safe?
When it comes to safety, there are risks to consider with any sleep arrangement. However, co-sleepers that meet federal safety guidelines are generally considered safe sleep surfaces for babies. It’s important to note that co-sleepers are not a guarantee against SIDS or other sleep-related risks, but they can offer some peace of mind for parents who want to keep their baby close.
What is a Co-Sleeper?
We have already defined cosleeping, it can be many types of sleeping arrangements in which your baby sleeps close to you in near proximity, including in your bed (bed sharing) or in your room (room sharing).
Cosleepers are actually designated beds designed for cosleeping, these are a type of baby bed that allows you to keep your baby close to you while you sleep.
There are several types of co-sleepers available, including attached co-sleepers, in-bed co-sleepers, freestanding co-sleepers, and bedside co-sleepers.
Attached co-sleepers are designed to attach to the side of your bed, creating a safe sleeping space for your baby that is right next to you. They often have 3 sides with one open side. These co-sleepers are usually adjustable in height, so they can be positioned at the same level as your mattress.
This type of co-sleeper is a great choice for parents who want to be able to easily reach their baby during the night without having to get out of bed. Bedside co-sleepers come in a variety of sizes and storage options, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs.
In-bed co-sleepers are designed to be placed directly on your bed, allowing your baby to sleep right next to you.
These co-sleepers are typically smaller than other types of co-sleepers, making them more portable and easier to store.
This type of co-sleeper is a good choice for parents who want to be able to easily comfort their baby during the night without having to get out of bed at all.
Freestanding co-sleepers are designed to be placed on the floor next to your bed, creating a safe sleeping space for your baby that is still close to you.
These types of co-sleepers are typically larger than other co-sleepers, making them a good choice if you have more space in your bedroom. It’s also a good choice for parents who want to be able to easily move the co-sleeper around the house or use it as a standalone bassinet.
Bedside co-sleepers are designed to be placed next to your bed, creating a safe sleeping space for your baby that is right at arm’s reach. These co-sleepers are typically adjustable in height, so they can be positioned at the same level as your mattress.
Co-Sleeping vs. Bed-Sharing
When it comes to sleeping arrangements for your baby, there are several options available. Two of the most popular options are co-sleeping and bed-sharing.
While these terms are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing.
Co-sleeping refers to sleeping in close proximity to your baby, sometimes in the same bed and sometimes nearby in the same room (room-sharing).
On the other hand, bed-sharing means sleeping in the same bed as your baby or sharing the same sleeping surface.
Room-sharing is a type of co-sleeping where parents have a crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard in the room with them near the bed.
This allows parents to be close to their baby and monitor them throughout the night while still maintaining a safe sleeping environment.
Bed-sharing, on the other hand, involves sharing the same sleeping surface with your baby.
While bed-sharing can be a personal decision for some families, it is not recommended by many medical professionals due to the risks involved.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room-sharing without bed-sharing for at least the first six months of a baby’s life to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
If the parent is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the risks go up. Even if you’re just excessively tired, there is still a risk. Also, if your baby is premature or small for her age, you can run into the dangers of suffocation, entrapment or strangulation.
Ultimately no one can tell you whether to cosleep or not, but if you decide to, it is important to ensure that it is done safely.
The University of Notre Dame has developed safe co-sleeping guidelines that can be followed to reduce the risk of harm to your baby. These guidelines include:
- Always placing your baby on their back to sleep
- Avoiding loose bedding, pillows, and soft objects in the bed
- Ensuring that the mattress is firm and fits snugly in the bed frame
- Keeping your baby warm with a sleep sack or swaddle instead of blankets
- Avoiding bed-sharing if you or your partner are smokers
Is a Co-Sleeper Safe?
When you’re sleep deprived and beyond tired, cosleepers sound like game changers. They promise to allow you and your baby to safely get some sleep.
Now at this point, youre like, do I need a cosleeper?
Well, co-sleepers can be a great option for parents who want to keep their baby close by while they sleep, but it’s important to understand the safety risks and precautions involved.
Bed-sharing, or sleeping in the same bed as your baby, can increase the risk of suffocation, entrapment, and strangulation.
However, co-sleepers that have separate sleeping surfaces for the baby and parent can be a safer option.
You will need to choose a co-sleeper that is designed with safety in mind and meets the safety standards set by the AAP.
To ensure that your co-sleeper is as safe as possible, there are several precautions that you should take:
- Avoid using bedding, such as blankets or pillows, in the co-sleeper.
- Make sure that the co-sleeper is securely attached to the bed and cannot be easily tipped over or dislodged.
- Choose a co-sleeper made from breathable material and avoid any that have excessive padding or soft surfaces that could pose a suffocation hazard.
- Keep the co-sleeper away from any potential hazards, such as windows or cords that could pose a strangulation risk.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper use and storage of the co-sleeper.
- Do not use drugs or alcohol before sleeping with your baby in a co-sleeper, as it can impair your ability to respond to your baby’s needs.
It’s also important to consult with your pediatrician about the safety of co-sleeping and whether it’s the right choice for your family.
Some co-sleepers, such as those with a mesh net or the Snuggle Me, may not be recommended for certain babies due to safety concerns.
I’ve also written an in-depth review about my take on baby loungers like the Doc-a-Tot and if it’s worth it and I do not recommend them for unsupervised sleeping.
While boppy pillows can be amazing baby care items, don’t use them for cosleeping either.
Benefits of Co-Sleeping
Co-sleeping with your baby can be a great way to bond and promote a sense of security and comfort for both you and your little one. Here are some benefits of co-sleeping:
Co-sleeping can help you bond with your baby and promote a sense of security and comfort. Being close to your baby can help you feel more connected and in tune with their needs, which can be especially helpful during those early months when your baby is still getting used to the world outside the womb.
Feeding and Breastfeeding
Co-sleeping can make breastfeeding easier and more convenient. When your baby is sleeping next to you, you can easily breastfeed them without having to get out of bed or disturb their sleep. This can be especially helpful during those early weeks when your baby needs to feed frequently.
Co-sleeping can also make nighttime feedings easier and less disruptive. When your baby is sleeping next to you, you can quickly and easily attend to their needs without having to get up and go to another room.
Even if you are formula feeding, cosleeping can help you anticipate your baby’s needs a little bit better since you’re not being awakened by a screaming hungry baby in another room of the house.
Co-sleeping can provide your baby with a sense of comfort and security. Being close to you can help them feel safe and calm, which can make it easier for them to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Calming Vibrations and Music
Some co-sleepers come with built-in calming vibrations or music, which can help soothe your baby and promote better sleep. These features can be especially helpful if your baby has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
Co-sleeping can make dealing with diaper explosions easier. When your baby has a blowout in the middle of the night, you can quickly and easily take care of them without having to go to another room or disturb their sleep.
Co-sleepers come in a variety of styles and sizes, which makes them a versatile option for different living situations. Whether you have a small apartment or a large house, there is a co-sleeper that will work for you and your baby.
Choosing a Co-Sleeper
When it comes to choosing a co-sleeper for your baby, safety should be your top priority. Here are some factors to consider:
The co-sleeper mattress should be flat, firm, and level, without any incline. It should also be covered only by a fitted sheet that fits snugly around the mattress.
Bassinet or Crib
A co-sleeper can come in the form of a bassinet or a crib that can be attached to your bed. A bassinet is typically smaller and more portable, while a crib is more spacious and can be used for a longer period of time.
Consider your space and lifestyle when making your choice.
Avoid using loose bedding, pillows, or soft objects in the co-sleeper as they can pose a suffocation risk for your baby. Instead, use a fitted sheet that fits snugly around the mattress.
No, this isn’t as cute as all those cute kids’ bedroom setups, but it’s actually 100% safer and will give you peace of mind.
Size and Comfort
The co-sleeper should be the right size for your baby, allowing them to move comfortably and breathe freely. It should also be comfortable for you to access and attend to your baby’s needs during the night.
Ensure that the co-sleeper meets all federal safety guidelines. Look for a co-sleeper with mesh sides or wooden slats for breathability and visibility. Avoid using a co-sleeper that is inclined or has soft sides that can pose a suffocation risk.
Consider a co-sleeper that comes with storage options for baby essentials such as diapers, wipes, and clothes. This can make nighttime diaper changes and feedings more convenient.
Do I Need A Cosleeper?
Again to answer your question is a cosleeper safe? Yes, co-sleepers can be a safe sleeping option for your baby if used properly. As with any baby product, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines to ensure that your baby is sleeping in a safe environment.
When choosing a co-sleeper, make sure it meets all federal safety guidelines and has a firm, flat mattress that fits snugly. Avoid using any loose items because this can be a suffocation hazard.
It is also important to remember that co-sleeping is not recommended for all families. If you or your partner are heavy sleepers, have consumed alcohol or drugs, or have any medical conditions that may affect your ability to wake up, it may not be safe to co-sleep with your baby.
If you do choose to co-sleep, consider room-sharing instead of bed-sharing. This means placing your baby’s co-sleeper in your room, but not in your bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room-sharing as the safest option for co-sleeping.
Ultimately, the decision to co-sleep with your baby is a personal one. It is important to weigh the benefits and risks and make an informed decision that is best for you and your family. By following safety guidelines and using a co-sleeper properly, you can provide a safe and comfortable sleeping environment for your baby.
Should I use a co-sleeper or bassinet?
It really depends on your individual needs and preferences. Both are perfectly good sleeping options for babies. If you’re looking for a sleep solution that promotes bonding and allows for easy nighttime feedings, a co-sleeper might be the way to go. If you want a sleep space that’s portable and versatile, a bassinet could be a good choice.
How old can a baby sleep in a co-sleeper up to?
While this can vary depending on the specific co-sleeper, most are designed to be used until your baby is around 6 months old or when they start to roll over or sit up on their own.
What about co sleeping with a newborn on your chest?
This can feel like a natural and comforting way to sleep with your baby, this should only be done while the parent or caregiver is alert and awake. While it does feel babies sleep longer this way because they feel comforted and safe and benefit from skin to skin. But the adult in this situation should definitely be awake to make this a safe sleeping arrangement.