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In our recent podcast interview with Nancy Mohrbacher on night feedings and breastfed babies, she highlighted an important piece of advice:
Even if you don’t plan on co-sleeping with your baby, make your sleep surface safe for co-sleeping.
Why? Because research has shown that about half of all babies end up sleeping in their parents’ beds for part or all of the night, even though many of these same parents don’t intend to do so.
So babies often end up sleeping with their parents in an unplanned way. And if beds aren’t safe for co-sleeping, it means that moms and babies will often either end up sleeping on a couch or chair - unsafe locations - or in a bed which has not been made safe.
Knowing the guidelines for safe co-sleeping, and establishing an appropriate sleep space will create a safer environment in case you do end up co-sleeping - even by accident!
So, here are our favorite links for information on making a bed safe for co-sleeping:
Safe co-sleeping guidelines from Dr. James McKenna. Dr. McKenna is recognized as the world’s leading authority on mother-infant co-sleeping, in relationship to breastfeeding and SIDS. He is author of Sleeping with Your Baby. These guidelines will help you establish a safe sleep environment for your baby.
Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Cosleeping. This is Dr. McKenna’s book on the topic, which explains safe co-sleeping and the basis for co-sleeping in more detail.
National Childbirth Trust (NCT) and Infant Sleep Information Source (ISIS). NCT is the U.K.‘s largest parenting charitable organization, and they have a set of bed-sharing safety guidelines. ISIS concisely explains concepts around infant sleep and safety.