— letting your baby sleep in the same bed with you — is one type of co-sleeping,
which is when parents sleep near their baby.
Most experts agree that 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
But 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 increases 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. Bedside sleepers 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:
never bed-share during your infant's first 4 months of life, when the risk of SIDS
always put your baby to sleep on his or her back
never bed-share on a soft surface, such as a waterbed, couch, or armchair
make sure the bed's headboard and footboard do not have openings or cutouts that
could trap your baby's head
check that the mattress fits snugly in the bed frame so that your baby will not
use only minimal amounts of bedding and avoid pillows, blankets, bumper pads,
make sure your baby's head will not be covered by any bedding
never bed-share with other children in the bed
Do not sleep with your infant if you are a smoker; have been drinking alcohol;
or have taken any drugs or medicine that could make you groggy and less responsive
to your baby (such as nighttime cough medicines, certain pain medicines, antidepressants,
or sleep aids).