Can My Baby Sleep on My Chest? Co-Sleeping Facts
Co-sleeping is a controversial topic. Some people swear by co-sleeping, while others view it as too big a risk.
We’ve compiled the must-know facts on co-sleeping so that you can decide what’s right for you and your family.
Making decisions about your baby’s sleep shouldn’t be stressful, so Tabeeze is here to help lay down some of the must-know facts.
What Is Co-Sleeping?
Let’s define co-sleeping before we go any further. Many people think of this phrase and imagine a baby and parent sharing one bed, snuggled up together. While this is definitely a type of co-sleeping for some people, it is not the only kind.
What most people think of as co-sleeping is actually known as “bed-sharing” and is a subcategory of co-sleeping.
Co-sleeping is technically defined as sleeping close enough to your baby so that you can easily see, hear, and touch them. By this definition, co-sleeping could be as simple as having your baby sleep in the same room in a bassinet or a crib next to your bed (but not in your bed) for the first few months of their life.
While some people will swear by bed-sharing, research suggests that other co-sleeping forms are safer for your baby.
Below, we will share all the facts we’ve got about co-sleeping so that you can decide on the ultimate best practice for you and the little bundle of joy (so you can both get good quality sleep without any potential risks).
What Is Bed Sharing?
As previously stated, bed-sharing is the literal sharing of a sleeping space with your little one. If your baby is sleeping in the same bed as you, that’s the definition of bed-sharing — a form of co-sleeping.
Although bed-sharing has its perks, it also offers major health risks. Babies who bed-share are at a much greater risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the most common cause of death in babies younger than three months old. It’s a frightening statistic, and it’s not the only one.
Alongside the very real concern about SIDS, bed-sharing increases the likelihood and worries of infant suffocation on bedding fabrics like pillows, blankets, or sheets. Babies should not sleep with blankets, in their crib or anywhere else.
Then, too, there’s the possibility of your baby getting wedged between the mattress and other objects. Cords and other fabrics near the bed, like drapes, can also pose a danger. Babies have very little control over their limbs and can become wound up in anything hanging too close to the bed. A bed also allows them to go exploring into things that should be off-limits to them.
Again, we know these prospects are alarming — but we want to be real with you. Scary as they are, there are valid concerns surrounding bed-sharing that you deserve to know.
What Is Room Sharing?
Room sharing, on the other hand, hits all the right notes. The risks associated with room sharing are significantly lower than that of bed-sharing — and can even provide a few potential benefits too.
In fact, the American Pediatrics Association promoted room sharing as the preferred form of co-sleeping with your infant. Room sharing is typically described as you and your own baby having separate sleeping spaces while staying in the same room. You would have your little one in a crib, bassinet, or maybe even a sleeping device that attaches itself to your bed.
This way, your baby is close enough to you at night for relaxed feeding, diaper changes, or comfort. At the same time, it helps keep them a safe enough distance away from potential risks like bedding or cords. Plus, after an unfortunate diaper blowout, you can get your baby fed or changed a little faster, and both of you can get back to sleep sooner.
Most pediatricians would recommend a room-sharing situation such as this until your baby is about six months old and up to a year old.
You can stay close to your baby and better meet their needs while spending less time traipsing from one room to the other.
Know What Increases the Risks of Co-Sleeping
So we’ve established that co-sleeping can increase the risks of SIDS in infants. It is a nightmare scenario, but it’s important stuff to know as a new parent.
While we’re at it, let’s take a look at other factors that can increase the risks of SIDS or other sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI). We’ll make it quick:
- Don’t co-sleep if you’re sick or feeling unwell. Keep your baby away from any possible illness.
- Don’t co-sleep or let your baby fall asleep on you if you are extremely exhausted.
- Don’t co-sleep if you or your partner are smoking (no shame, just no co-sleeping for your baby, please).
- Don’t co-sleep if your baby is sick or unwell.
- Don’t co-sleep if your baby is premature or smaller than most at their age.
These tips are not to scare you, but they can help keep your baby happy and safe. No one deserves to live with the guilt and grief that SIDS and other SUDI situations can, unfortunately, inflict on caregivers.
How To Avoid the Risks
In the same way, it’s essential to understand the risks associated with co-sleeping; we wouldn’t be real without including tips for avoiding these risks.
If you want to reap all the benefits of co-sleeping, then we want to make sure you know how to reduce the risk of SIDS or any other unnecessary incidents:
Position Your Baby Carefully
- Put your baby to sleep on their back. Once they are old enough to roll over, they will, and they’ll be just fine in those positions when they sleep. But while they can’t, always put them down on their back to keep those airways open.
Remember it with this simple phrase: back to sleep.
Don’t Overdress Your Baby
- Dress your baby in minimal clothing at night. Babies are in danger of overheating. While some people bundle a baby as though they are headed to the arctic, newborn babies get their body temperature under control sooner than you might think.
We suggest the Tabeeze Bottom-Up Baby Bodysuit. Our patented shoulder flaps and fumble-free snap alignment will keep your baby cool and comfy while they sleep (and can make midnight diaper changes a breeze).
Pick a Safe Surface To Sleep On
- Never, ever let your baby sleep on any soft surfaces. Soft surfaces can include items like a couch, a chair, or an adult bed. These too-soft spots can pose a suffocation threat.
- Place Baby on a stable surface. Lastly, always have your baby sleep on a firm surface in a bed made for their size and safety.
Remove Potential Threats
- Keep your bed or sleeping space free from dangling objects. Keep any dangling cords, wires, drapes, or fabric pieces away so that your baby can’t get wrapped up or caught within them.
- Remove soft objects. Keep super soft items like pillows, decorative pillows, crib bumpers, stuffed animals, blankets, and throws, far away from your little sleeping one. As cute as all those extras may look, they can create an unsafe (if not downright hazardous) sleeping environment.
What Are the Pros of Co-Sleeping?
With all the scary stuff out of the way, let’s take a second to appreciate the perks of co-sleeping because they do exist and are important.
Room-sharing has plenty of perks. Let’s take a look at a few of our favorites:
- Feeding is faster. When your baby is directly next to you or in the same room as you, feeding them in the middle of the night can’t get much easier. With minimal time spent walking from one room to the other, you may find you have a smoother time getting back to sleep afterward.
- It has been shown that both caregivers and their babies fall asleep more quickly when they sleep in the same room.
- Similar to the point of feeding, soothing your baby is quicker and easier too. When you can cradle your baby immediately if they get distressed at night, you can more quickly calm them down before a full-out crying fit begins. That’s a win for everyone and could lead to more sleep.
- Last but not least, it’s been shown that babies who co-sleep tend to cry less often than those who don’t. Since a good portion of a baby’s early months depends on crying as a major form of communication, that’s definitely good news.
All of these perks can turn into real gifts when you have a newborn in the house, so why would you want to miss out? From everyone falling asleep more quickly and spending less time moving between rooms, even diaper changes become something closer to easy when you share a room.
As long as you’re informed of the risks associated with the different types of co-sleeping, you can create a set-up that works best for you and your baby – and reap all the potential benefits in the process.
Sweet, Safe Dreams
So, you know that here at Tabeeze, we love some good quality skin-to-skin time. While it might be tempting to combine the two by allowing your infant to fall asleep on your chest as you doze in bed, it’s not the best option for either of you.
The concept of you and your baby getting some shut-eye while engaging in kangaroo care can seem sweet, but it seriously increases the documented risks associated with co-sleeping and SIDS. The only way to help reduce the risk of ill effects is if you havesomeone else present to diligently keep an eye on you and your baby.
For the best way to get a little skin-to-skin contact without the fuss, turn to Tabeeze Bottom-Up Baby Bodysuit. With a feet-first design and simple shoulder flaps, you can keep baby diapered and snuggly while still getting the skin-first contact baby craves.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Symptoms and Prevention | Healthline
Sudden unexpected death in infants (SUDI and SIDS) | Better Health Channel
Is Co-Sleeping Safe for Babies? We Asked the Experts – TODAY