Most of us will have been told that sharing a bed with a baby is an absolute no, and for years this was reflected in safe sleep guidelines.
However, in 2019, The Lullaby Trust updated their bed sharing guidelines after noting that there will always be parents who choose this sleeping arrangement. The Lullaby Trust are a trusted organisation who raise awareness of SIDS, advocate for safer sleep advice as well as providing support for bereaved parents, and since they publicised their ‘Back To Sleep’ campaign in 1991, SIDS rates have dropped by a whopping 82%.
By looking into this and creating safer bed sharing guidelines, The Lullaby Trust hopes to mitigate the risks posed by bed sharing and open up a dialogue which will mean that this information becomes more well known.
Please note that the Lullaby Trust use the term co-sleeping in reference to bed sharing. Co-sleeping can also refer to sharing the same bedroom as your baby, but in this context they are discussing bed sharing specifically.
The new Lullaby Trust guidance…
“Babies should be slept in a clear sleep space, which is easy to create in a cot or Moses basket. We know however that families also bed share, and so recommend making your bed a safer place for baby whether you doze off accidentally, or choose to bed share. Our advice on co-sleeping with your baby will tell you how.”
For safer co-sleeping:
- Keep pillows, sheets, blankets away from your baby or any other items that could obstruct your baby’s breathing or cause them to overheat. A high proportion of infants who die as a result of SIDS are found with their head covered by loose bedding.
- Follow all of our other safer sleep advice to reduce the risk of SIDS such as sleeping baby on their back and breastfeeding if you are able to
- Avoid letting pets or other children in the bed
- Make sure baby won’t fall out of bed or get trapped between the mattress and the wall
When not to co-sleep
The Lullaby Trust goes on to note when it is NOT safe to share a bed with your baby…
- Either you or your partner smokes (even if you do not smoke in the bedroom)
- Either you or your partner has drunk alcohol or taken drugs (including medications that may make you drowsy)
- You are extremely tired
- Your baby was born premature (37 weeks or less)
- Your baby was born at a low weight (2.5kg or 5½ lbs or less)
- Never sleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby, this can increase the risk of SIDS by 50 times
You should never sleep together with your baby if any of the above points apply to you or your partner.
This video summarises the new guidance perfectly.
Love from Katie & Team BBY. Xx
(Image credit: The Lullaby Trust)