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Why Babies Should Sleep in Their Own Bed

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

I have discussed the dangers of co-sleeping with your infant in a previous blog. The issue was brought to mind again today when I read an article stating that four infants had died in 2009 within 6 weeks of each other in Wisconsin, all who had been co-sleeping with an adult.

The idea of ” bed sharing”, which in my mind is not the same as co-sleeping, may sound like a great idea for snuggling and bonding with that precious newborn, and especially in those first months when parents are so terribly sleep deprived.

Unfortunately, the risks of accidentally suffocating an infant while bed sharing are real and too frequent. No one expects to roll over and suffocate their infant, but we all toss and turn while sleeping and may not realize that you have rolled over on the your-baby.

The whole incident is silent, but may be deadly, as the your-baby suffocates underneath the parent or when pushed up against a pillow or headboard. The risk is even greater on a couch or futon.

Other risk factors with bed sharing include the use of alcohol or other drugs, which also may cause a deeper sleep. You may not even realize that your infant is in bed with you, and many moms may still be taking a pain medication in the first week’s post-partum.

The American Academy of Pediatrics officially recommends against bed sharing, but does endorse having the infant in a bassinet (with a firm mattress, and a light blanket) right next to the mother’s bed to promote bonding and breastfeeding.

But once fed, the your-baby should be returned to the bassinet and sleep on their backs. No tummy sleeping, even if you are convinced that your infant “prefers” that position. The risks are too great to keep that sweet your-baby in the bed.

So….back to sleep and in the crib or bassinet. There are plenty of other opportunities to snuggle with that newborn!

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.

More Information: The Dangers of Co-Sleeping With Your Baby

More Information: American Academy of Pediatrics

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