Never sleep with your baby.
Based on the evidence, the AAP doesn’t recommend bed sharing with your baby under any circumstances. This includes twins and other multiples.
- If you bring your baby into your bed to feed or comfort them, place them in their own sleep space when you’re ready to go to sleep.
- If there is any possibility that you might fall asleep while your baby is in your bed, make sure there are no pillows, sheets, blankets or any other items that could cover your baby’s face, head and neck or overheat them. As soon as you wake up, be sure to move your baby to their own bed.
- Avoid falling asleep with your baby in other spots, too. The risk of sleep-related infant death is up to 67 times higher when infants sleep with someone on a couch, soft armchair or cushion.
- It’s extra important not to bed share with your baby if:
- You have been drinking alcohol, used marijuana or taken any medicines or illicit drugs. The risk of sleep-related infant death is more than 10 times higher for babies who bed share with someone who is fatigued or has taken medications that make it harder for them to wake up; has used substances such as alcohol or drugs.
- Your baby is very young, small or was born prematurely. The risk of sleep-related infant death while bed sharing is 5 to 10 times higher when your baby is younger than 4 months olds. And the risk of sleep-related infant death is 2 to 5 times higher when your baby was born preterm or with low birth weight.
That’s great that you are breastfeeding! Try putting your baby’s crib near your bed so that you can easily pick him or her up for feedings during the night and then return him or her to their crib for sleeping. Infants sleeping with another adult in an adult bed or couch can be very dangerous for the infant.
There are lots of other time for bonding with your infant, but when your baby is sleeping it is safest for them to be in their own space. You might sleep better too.
Just because people do sleep with their babies doesn’t mean it is recommended. The truth is babies are more likely to suffocate when they sleep with an adult or another child. Most of the infant sleep-related deaths in North Carolina are associated with infants sleeping with another person.
Taking care of a baby is exhausting! You will get sleepy, so do all you can to reduce the risk if you do fall asleep. You could set an alarm on your phone to wake you in case you fall asleep while you are caring for your baby. When you do wake up, move baby to their sleep space. Tell others in your home to move baby to their sleep space if they see that you have fallen asleep with them. When caring for baby in your bed, you can remove all bulky bedding from your bed to reduce the risk of suffocation if you do fall asleep. Be sure not to care for baby on a couch, recliner, or soft chair when you are sleepy. These spaces are extra dangerous to sleep with your baby because they increase the risk of suffocation.
You are right, we strongly recommend that a baby sleeps alone because of the tragic risk of possible death or injury if they sleep with someone else. Please be aware of what circumstances make bed sharing even more dangerous these include:
- Your baby is younger than 4 months old.
- Your baby was born prematurely or with low birth weight.
- You or any other person in the bed is a smoker (even if you do not smoke in bed).
- The mother of the baby smoked during pregnancy.
- You have taken any medicines or drugs that might make it harder for you to wake up.
- You drank any alcohol.
- You are not the baby’s parent.
- The surface is soft, such as a waterbed, old mattress, sofa, couch, or armchair.
- There is soft bedding like pillows or blankets on the bed.
Despite the possible risk, if you plan to bed share we would certainly want you to really think through how you can reduce as much risk as possible.
- Consider what the sleep space is like? You’d want to be sure that the sleep space is a firm bed, low to the ground, away from a wall, and without soft bedding.
- Consider the people in the sleep space? The people sharing the bed would need to be sober–not impaired by any substances, be non-smokers, and be in favor & aware of the infant being in that space.
- The baby should not sleep between two people, not be against a wall, and not have other children in the bed.
- Lastly, the infant should not be propped on a pillow or surrounded by bedding and they should sleep on their back.
Again, it is strongly advised that an infant sleep in their own separate sleep surface, but if you decide to sleep with your baby takes steps to reduce risks.