Every few months the topic of safe sleep locations for babies comes up in the media and there is a great deal of discussion about bed-sharing vs. room-sharing vs. baby sleeping in his/her own room. The discussion can be muddied because the word “co-sleeping” is often used and may mean “a shared sleep surface” or “a shared room” depending on who is speaking. Parents may find themselves wondering about their own decision if they have chosen to bed-share or having their choice, no matter what it is, questioned by others.
There isn’t one right answer about where a baby should sleep. Every family needs to take in to consideration the factual information available about safe sleep practices and figure out what will work best for their situation. The right solution at one point in time may not be the right solution six months later or with a different baby.
From La Leche League International’s new book “Sweet Sleep” comes a quick and easy to remember set of guidelines for deciding if bed sharing is the right choice for you at a specific moment in time:
The Safe Sleep Seven
If a mother is:
1. A non-smoker
And her baby is:
5. On his back
6. Lightly dressed and unswaddled
7. share a safe surface
Then the baby’s risk of SIDS is no greater than in a crib, and any breathing hazards have been hugely reduced.
Here are some websites which have good resources to help you make a decision about safe sleep locations for your baby:
The lead article in this issue of Keeping In The LLLoop is on sleep. As this newsletter went to desktop publishing (May 21, 2013), an article by Carpenter et al was published in BMJ Open. Because of timing, Carpenter’s analysis is not addressed in our article. However, we do not believe it changes the information shared in our article.
Keeping it safe: guidelines for those who chose to bed share
Important do's and don'ts for co-sleeping from Dr Sears
James McKenna’s website (author of Sleeping with Your Baby); includes safe co-sleeping guidelines and information on the bedsharing controversy.
Kathleen Kendall-Tackett: Safe Sleep for You and Your Baby; A Guide for Breastfeeding Families
Other excellent resources
You can purchase Sweet Sleep and support La Leche League Canada by using our Indigo portal.