Bed Sharing Safety Checklist + FREE Printable!

bed sharing safety checklist

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Bringing home a newborn for the first time is exciting yet overwhelming. There is just so much to think about and remember. If you are planning to bed share, I have a SUPER SIMPLE Bed sharing Safety Checklist for you to use as reference. If there is anything I’ve learned as a mom, is that asking for help makes all the difference. I am here to help you!

safe sleep 7 checklist

Ready To Bed Share Safely?

Use this Checklist to follow the Safe Sleep 7 Guidelines set forth by La Leche League International.

    When living in the United States, it is very possible that you’ve been instructed (as I was) to absolutely not bed share. I am here to tell you that what you’ve heard is a biased statement, and one that is primarily of American opinion. The statistics of SIDS are skewed to make families think that bed sharing is the problem. (more on that at another time.) Lets instead focus on the bed sharing safety checklist to follow for a good night sleep with your little one!

    #Bed Sharing Adults Should Be Drug And Alcohol Free

    It is super important that any adults in bed with baby, be it mother, father or other family member is not under the influence. This includes drinking alcohol, taking recreational drugs, adults who are smokers or take medication that makes you drowsy.

    When under the influence, our sleep patterns are not the same and often we fall into a deeper sleep. This means that you are less likely to be sensitive to the movements and sounds of the baby in bed, putting them at risk.

    #Mother Needs To Be Breastfeeding

    It is super important that a baby bed sharing is sleeping with their mother and that they breastfeed. Once they’re a toddler, this is no longer a requirement, but during those younger months it makes a difference.

    The act of breastfeeding throughout the night is actually linked to lower rates of SIDS. This is because the position of a breastfeeding mother with their baby creates safe space for baby to sleep. Mother’s breathing also creates a bubble of carbon dioxide that helps remind baby’s body to keep breathing.

    #Baby Is Full Term When Bed Sharing

    This rule needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Most pro-bed sharing articles will claim that baby needs to be full term in order for bed sharing to remain safe. I understand that a preterm baby is more vulnerable to encountering health problems but it fails to indicate what mother’s should do instead? because they need an alternative (and Evolutionary Parenting agrees).

    However, a preterm baby really benefits from skin to skin contact and breastfeed as much as possible is optimal for their health. The only way to really do so safely throughout the night is setting up a space in bed. Otherwise, as a mom, you might end up falling asleep on the couch or other places that could be more dangerous.

    It is preferred that when bed sharing your baby is already in optimal health (aka full term). Don’t limit yourself if this is not the case though. It is good to be aware though that bed sharing with a preterm baby carries some additional risk.

    #Bed Is Set Up For Safe Bed Sharing

    Here comes the most important part of your bed sharing safety checklist! Lets break down what your bed should look like when bed sharing with your baby.

    • Mattress should be firm. Don’t over think this. The important thing to know here is that water and air mattresses are super dangerous. As long as your mattress stays relatively in place when everyone is laying in bed you are good to go!
    • Blankets stay away from baby. Keep blankets below your waist or lower, babies should not have any blankets on them. It is a suffocation risk. Instead, dress your baby according to the room temperature so they can sleep soundly without a blanket.
    • Minimal Pillows. Your baby does not need a pillow to sleep. Their head on mattress is great. I had one pillow that stayed up by my head while our baby laid lower down by my armpit / chest area.
    • Floor bed preferred. The most common set up for bed sharing families is to have your mattress directly on the floor. That way there is no risk for your baby to roll off and hurt themselves. We did not do this, instead we used a mesh bed rail that was set up so that our baby could still breast against it.
    • Bed should NOT be against a wall. It is dangerous for your baby to sleep in a bed that is set up against the wall. They can roll over and get stuck in the crevice.

    ==>for a full list of bed sharing products go here<==

    #Baby Should Sleep On Their Back

    Many babies love sleeping on their bellies, but can be unsafe as a newborn that can’t properly move their head. The baby could suffocate if they end up with their face against the mattress and can’t move over. (Hence the 90s campaign Back to Sleep).

    Fortunately, if you are breastfeeding your baby, they will naturally be sleeping on their back or on their side facing you. Breastfed babies often sleep facing the breast!

    #Situations Where Bed Sharing Is Not Safe

    Lets highlight a few scenarios where bed sharing is not safe:

    • Adult in bed is inebriated or smokes.
    • Baby is not breastfed.
    • Baby is preterm (warrants extra research by parents before bed sharing).
    • Air or water mattress.
    • Pillows and blankets kept away from babies body.

    Get your Free Checklist Here!

    I know, I know, there is a lot of information here, and it can be difficult to remember it all! That is why I am sharing a super handy PDF checklist that you can easily save to your phone or print out for easy access!

    Being tiered as a parent is taken for granted, but the repercussions of that are not talked about enough. Parents can’t just “pull through”. They need tools and help to get set up at home with an infant. Having a bed sharing safety checklist can be super helpful, that is why I am sharing one here for you use immediately!

    safe sleep 7 checklist

    Ready To Bed Share Safely?

    Use this Checklist to follow the Safe Sleep 7 Guidelines set forth by La Leche League International.

      Share with a Friend!