28 Nov A timely reminder about co-sleeping and your baby
The Tresilian Sleep Book provides expert advice on how to help your baby to sleep safely – from Australia’s most trusted parent support organisation
There’s lots of advice on where your baby should sleep after she’s born.
Some people recommend that you share a room with your baby, and other people advise that it’s better to let your baby sleep in her own room. Cultural differences play a large part in choosing where you put your baby to sleep. Western cultures tend to place emphasis on encouraging independence in young children, therefore babies sleeping in their own room has become popular. Parents across other cultural groups may place less emphasis on independence, so solitary sleeping is not so important.
Co-sleeping or bed-sharing is not recommended due to the risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI).
The term SUDI includes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other fatal sleeping accidents. Some parents do choose to co-sleep or bed-share because of their personal beliefs. Often bed-sharing happens by default – that is, you don’t intend to co-sleep with your baby but you’re so exhausted from frequent night waking that bed-sharing is your last resort, just to get some rest.
Whatever reason co-sleeping or bed-sharing occurs, make sure you are aware of the Red Nose SUDI guidelines to ensure your baby sleeps safely.
- Sharing a sleep surface increases the risk of SIDS and fatal
sleep accidents. Babies most at risk are those who are under
3 months of age, were born prematurely or were small for
their gestational age.
- You shouldn’t sleep with your baby on your sofa or couch,
a waterbed, hammock or a beanbag. These surfaces aren’t
flat or stable and are completely unsafe if you fall asleep and
accidentally roll on your baby.
- It’s safest not to share your bed or any sleep surface with
your baby and anyone who is affected by alcohol or other
drugs – that includes medicines that cause drowsiness, even
prescribed or over-the-counter medicines – or with someone
Extract has been taken from Chapter 4 of The Tresillian Sleep Book (HarperCollins Publishers) available now online at https://shop.abc.net.au/tresillian-sleep-book or from your local bookshop. Part of the proceeds of this book go to Tresillian, Australia’s largest early parenting organisation providing advice and guidance to thousands of families over 100 years.