Everyone loves to sleep with a new family member, but is it safe to co-sleep with a newborn?
May I share my bed with an infant or let her sleep in their separate place or room?
That kind of indecision & thoughts continuously kept running in your mind like a faucet when you become parents.
To get an answer, all of these questions, I read some publications.
I researched what expert & pediatrics has said to provide you with an up accurate solution.
But before we start, it is important to understand what Co-Sleeping & Bedside Sleeping mean & how does it look like?
- Co-sleeping means sharing the same bed with your newborn. It can be like you are laying with your baby on the same bed as your Or using a bassinet that can place over the bed and letting your baby lie in it safely.
- Another arrangement is called Bedside Sleeping. In which, you securely attach the bassinet’s side to the parent’s bed to do safe bedside sleeping without actually sharing your bed.
Now, you know the difference between co-sleeping & bed-sharing; Now, the next thing to understand is “Is Co-Sleeping With an Infant is Safe or not?”
Is Co-Sleeping With Infant Safe?
Co-Sleeping is not a new thing, we have been doing it from ancient times to modern days, and it’s safe. But we learn many things over time to minimize the risk of Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) .
You can follow that set of rules set by a pediatrician to do safe co-sleeping. But on the other hand, some pediatrician thinks that it’s not safe.
It is essential to know that the first six months of a baby’s life is considered the most important & delicate  time to prevent SIDS.
This is because it is at this time that sleep-related deaths are at their peak.
How dangerous is co-sleeping can be? According to the article posted on daily mail , there are 133 infants die every year.
Co-sleeping’ has been revealed to kill 133 every year – almost three every week – in cases of suffocation, over-heating, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)………….The chance of sudden death goes up when bed-sharing if a parent smokes, has drunk alcohol or taken drugs or is very tired.’
If you read the statement carefully, you will see some words, like Smoke, Alcohol, Drugs. There are no doubts SIDS kills a lot of infants every year, but the reason behind this is parents’ carelessness.
Sometimes mothers are tired (due to hard work or alcohol).
When they start breastfeeding, they fall asleep that increases the risk of suffocation.
Both the Bassinet has a mobile device that automatically generates sound after 30 minutes as a reminder to tell the mother it’s time to put a baby back in the Bassinet.
According to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, in their Clinical Protocol #6: Guideline on Co-Sleeping and Breastfeeding .
There is currently not enough evidence to support routine recommendations against co-sleeping. Parents should be educated about the risks and benefits of co-sleeping and unsafe co-sleeping practices and should be allowed to make their own informed decision. If you are breastfeeding in bed, do it in a position where you won’t fall asleep,’ she said. ‘A good tip is to set the alarm on your phone.’
Armchairs and couches also put newborns at a high rate of sleep-related deaths through entrapment or suffocation in seat cushions.
As a parent or a caregiver, you must be extra careful when dealing with newborn babies in every aspect.
When Is It Not Safe To Do Co-Sleeping?
- You are tired
- Your infant is born premature ( 37 weeks and lesser) ( use the Bassinet for preemies ).
- You want to sleep on the armchair or sofa or couch.
- Your newborn baby weighs very low, about 2.5kg or 5.5 lbs or even lesser
- You or your partner smoke and drunk at all
- Your or your partner has taken a drug or just medications that can make you drowsy
Until now, we only talked about the negative side of co-sleeping; now, it’s time to see the positive side of co-sleeping too for a better decision.
As per the conversation  with Dr. James J. McKenna  ( is a professor of anthropology and the director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame) on Huffspot, he said’
When done safely, bed-sharing makes mothers (and fathers!) and babies happy and has positive developmental effects on growing children. Surely mothers should not be stigmatised or considered irresponsible for bed-sharing. Ninety per cent of all human beings sleeps with their babies in some form or another!
Dr. McKenna  also notes that;
It has never been proven, nor shown, nor is it even probable, that sleeping with your baby has any detrimental long-term effects when the relationships between those involved are healthy. Instead, experts are finding that co-sleeping can help develop positive qualities, such as being more comfortable with physical affection, more confidence in one’s own sexual gender identity, a more positive and optimistic attitude about life, or more innovativeness as a toddler and an increased ability to be alone.
So, it’s clear that co-sleeping with a newborn baby is good for child health development & to make a strong bond between you and your baby.
Have a look at the metrics related to infant death and tips for safe sleeping by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
So, now you have a little bit of idea about safe co-sleeping. We will discuss more on how to safely co-sleep with a baby later on in this article.
Now, it’s time to answer your question, “Is Co-sleeping With a Newborn Safe?”
Yes, co-sleeping with a newborn baby is safe; it is a common misconception that co-sleeping is a bad idea. But the truth is, baby co-sleeping helps to develop positive qualities & make a secure bond between both you & your baby.
Co-sleeping is beneficial for good health; it also helps parents take care of their baby more accessible, especially at night. And a co-sleeping bassinet makes all that thing even more comfortable.
What is a Co-Sleeper Bassinet?
A Co-Sleeper Bassinet is also called a Bed-Sharing bassinet. It is an especially designed bassinet that you can place over the bed to provide a perfectly flat surface to infants as per the APP recommendation.
It ensures that you & your child get plenty of restful sleep at night, especially when it comes down to those first few weeks where sleep deprivation will be an issue for both parents and infants alike!
But the question is, “Is a Co-Sleeper Bassinet Safe?”
Well, Yes, the co-sleeper Bassinet is safe 100% safe to do co-sleeping with infants. You keep your baby on your bed without actually having them in the bed with you.
Its side is strong enough to keep the baby safe when you accidentally roll over it at night.
How Long are Bassinets Good for Co-sleeping?
All the bassinet is designed to use up to 5-7 months, but how long you can use it depends upon the age & weight of your infants. Most manufacturers set the age & weight limit recommendation to keep the baby safe.
But, note all the babies grow at a different rate. For example, In the case of a premature baby, you can use a bassinet for even more than 7 months. However, on the other hand, healthy babies grow it even before 5 months.
To make a more valuable decision, read our guide: When to stop using a bassinet?
How Do You Co-Sleep With a Newborn Safely?
If you decide to co-sleeping with your newborn baby, then make sure you follow the below guidelines. These guidelines would help greatly reduce the risk of SIDS ( set by Raisingchildren.net.au and James J. McKenna, Ph.D.  )
Here is the conclusion of both the guidelines.
- The use of heavy blankets is not to be done when you want to co-sleep with your baby. It is not safe because the blanket may flip off over the baby’s head, and the mother sleeping beside may not notice. Even if you do eventually, it may be too late to save the child.
- If you are quite insensitive to the needs of a child, then co-sleeping cannot be practiced safely in such instances. The use of drugs also does not provide a safe, co-sleeping environment with your newborn baby. In that case, they recommend using the Bassinet ( best bassinets 2021 ).
- You are to put the baby beside one parent or caregiver, not between two people, and don’t place the baby in a position where they can fall out or off.
- Place the baby on her back to sleep, not sideways or on her tummy, and make sure the sleeping surface is flat and not too soft.
- Never leave your newborn baby alone on the bed until they are not in their sleeping place because adult bedding is very soft & cozy; the baby can flip over, can die due to suffocation. Also, Do not put pillows, blankets, or sheets close to your newborn baby such that they can obstruct breathing.
- Make sure the sleeping environment is clean and do not allow pets around the area. Cats love to sleep and play with newborn babies due to their soft skin, and sometimes they sleep on them and become the cause of the baby’s death (keep a pet out of Bassinet)
- You can safely co-sleep with your baby when you ensure your older children do not sleep on the same bed as the newborn. The older ones may not understand the risks involved, and this can cause a significant crisis.
- Always tie your hair if it is too long, so it doesn’t tangle or trap your baby’s neck.
Have a look at this Video; How to safely co-sleep by James Mckenna.
Note: Following the above guidelines does not guarantee or eliminate the risk of infant death, but it reduces the risk of SIDS. Your attention, love, and care towards your baby make him feel safer.
Check out the below video to understand; how you posture your baby on the bed for safe sleeping.
Until now, we have learned about is co-sleeping safe, what is bed-sharing & bedside sleeping, when it is safe to co-sleep, and How do you co-sleep with a newborn.
But know the most important things to understand is” when you should have to stop co-sleeping? so let check it
What Age Should You Stop Co-sleeping?
As much as co-sleeping is essential for the baby’s growth, it is said that whatever has a beginning must have an end. Also is co-sleeping with a baby. It is not supposed to last forever.
When the child is older – about a year plus, the risk of getting SIDS is very minimal.
A co-sleeper is like a bassinet; if you when to stop using the bassinet, that means you know when to stop co-sleeping with a newborn. Check this handy guide; When to stop using a bassinet?
But in short, maximum manufacturers recommend using bassinet/co-sleeper for up to 5-7 months. But again, there is no hard and fast rule to stop using it.
You can use it until the baby can’t roll in it or until the baby becomes too big for it.
At that time, you have to switch the baby to the crib.
Although many experts believe co-sleeping should end when the baby is around two, others think it should continue until the child is around four or five.
kindly note, no rule states explicitly when to stop co-sleeping or at what age. Putting a stop to co-sleeping varies from one parent to another and thus, heavily depends on them.
Janet Morrison, a psychological associate from Toronto,  says, “
there is nothing wrong with cuddling your eight-year-old in bed, on occasion, sleeping with them for comfort when they are stressed or ill.” She also talks about the fact that if you want them to have independence, no more co-sleeping.
Here are a few more things that will give you a sign to Stop Co-sleeping With the baby
- You can stop co-sleeping with your baby when they are old enough to sleep alone.
- If you start getting uncomfortable with your child being of the opposite sex, then you should stop co-sleeping.
- If you realize your child has started some bad habits because of co-sleeping, then you should stop it.
- If you or your partner start to drink or smoke, seeing that either is unhealthy for a child, you should stop co-sleeping. This will save your child from any form of suffocation or even death.
So, I hope now you have an idea of when to stop co-sleeping with the baby.
What I Prefer: Bedside Or In Bed Co-Sleeping?
I prefer bedside sleeping over In Bed Co-Sleeping. It’s much, much better and safer. In this way, your baby gets a separate sleeping place &, at the same time, gets the benefit of co-sleeping.
Like my friend Sara (who drinks and smokes a lot), I strongly recommend a bedside co-sleeper. This is the best way to eliminate the risk of SIDS when you are doing co-sleeping.
Now, what next? Here are a few essential articles that help you to take care of your newborn baby.
- Do I Need a Bassinet for Infant?
- How to Transition from Bassinet to Crib?
- How to Choose a Bassinet [Buying Guide: 2021]
- How To Keep Bassinet Or Crib Warm In Winter?
Now, it’s your turn. Let me know what you think – What you think & what are you doing? Drop your valuable opinion in the comment box, and let me know if you have any questions in mind.
Don’t forget to share the article because sharing is caring.
Dr. Sakshi Patel
Senior Content Writer
Dr. Sakshi Patel is a housewife who loves to spend most of her time with her Twin daughter. She loves to share her parenting journey with other new parents. She completed her Ph.D. from MPUAT in HDFS. Learn more about Sakshi here.