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Keep Your Baby Close While Sleeping

By Melanie H. Weaver RN, MSN, APRN-CNM

Keep Your Baby Close While Sleeping

Sleep is a luxury you won’t get much of once your baby is born. And if you’re dreaming of peacefully dozing together in the same bed, especially if you’re nursing your baby, you should know there are some serious safety concerns in sleeping with your baby.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your baby be close to you, such as in a bassinet by the bed, but not in the same bed. Statistics show that babies who are share a bed with adults are at risk for falling out of the bed, suffocating in the blankets, becoming trapped by the bed’s frame or headboard, or being rolled on.

Safe Habits

So what can you do when you’re torn between wanting your baby close by so that breastfeeding through the night is doable but are also worried about hurting your baby?

Many moms start the baby sleeping beside the bed in a bassinet designed for infant sleeping. Research shows that having your baby in the same room as you decreases her risk of SIDS by 20%. You may even sleep better because you won’t be worried about the possibility of him or her being hurt while in the bed with you. Then you can nestle down near your little one and get some much deserved sleep!

Experts recommend the following:

    • Always put your baby on his or her back to sleep—this is essential to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
    • Always put your baby to sleep on a firm surface in a crib or bassinet that meets national safety standards
    • Ensure the mattress or sleep surface is snug against the sides of the crib or bassinet and that there are no openings in the headboard, footboard or sides to prevent your baby from getting trapped
    • Never cover your baby’s head during sleep – this will prevent overheating and reduce SIDS risk
    • Never use soft bedding or pillows, comforters or plush items on top of or under your baby, or even beside the bed
    • Never place or allow your baby to sleep alone in an adult bed, water bed, chair, sofa, soft mattress or other soft surface, or with a sibling
    • Never use medications that make you drowsy or drink alcohol when providing sleep care for your baby
    • Ensure your baby’s bed is far away from any cords, blinds, or items in reach that your baby could pull into the crib
    • Avoid products designed to help your baby sleep in your bed; these haven’t proven safe


About the author: Melanie H. Weaver RN, MSN, APRN-CNM, is an instructor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

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