Beginner’s Guide to Bed Sharing with Baby

guide to bed sharing with baby

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If you live in the western hemisphere it’s very likely that you’ve been told bed sharing with baby is always dangerous. I am here to tell you that, well, that is not true. You can bed share SAFELY with your baby. However, there are circumstances where bed sharing is less safe and its important to education yourself on what those are when bed sharing.

If you are like me, and struggling with leaving your baby on a separate sleep surface at night, you have come to the right place. This post will give you the run down of everything you need to know to successfully bed share with baby safely.

guide to bed sharing with baby

What Age is Bed Sharing Safe?

Bed sharing can be safe from the day you bring your baby home, as long as you know what you are doing. Slipping into your pre-baby bed nonchalantly with your newborn is a recipe for disaster, so make sure you continue reading to know exactly what changes need to be made before bringing your baby to bed at night.

As baby gets older, it gets easier to maintain safe sleeping arrangements because your soon to be toddler has more body control. For example at around 6 months most babies have good upper body control allowing them to readjust their position in bed if needed.

what age safe to bed share

Once your baby turns one their independence grows making it more likely for them to move around in bed. It is a common tip to proactively lower your beds to floor so the babies / toddlers don’t fall off the edge.

Instead of lowering our bed, we got this mesh bed rail from Amazon, and later I moved into our toddler’s room with him onto a floor bed there.

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Save this checklist to ensure you are following the Safe Sleep 7 in order to bed share SAFELY with baby.

How do I Make Bed Sharing Safe?

In order to make bed sharing safe, you need to understand what is not safe. Everyone talks about SIDS which stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Any deaths that are “unexplained” fall under this category. When referred to babies being suffocated due to unsafe sleeping arrangements, its good to know that there is a lot you have control over in making bed sharing safe for your baby.

Circustamstances where bed sharing with newborn is NOT SAFE:

  • You have a water mattress. These are notorious for being very malleable which could easily position baby in such a way to suffocate along its surface. Make sure your bed has a normal, firm mattress.
  • Too many pillows and blanket is up against babies face. The goals with setting your bed up for bed sharing with baby is that there are no other fabrics or objects that could come in contact with baby’s face besides your breasts. Keep pillows to a minimal and make sure blanket only goes to your waist if not lower.
  • Newborn is formula fed. Yes I know, this might seem like an anti-formula commentary but it really is not. The reality is that breastfeeding is a super important element to safely bed sharing. When a mother and breastfeeding baby bed share the mother’s breathing creates a bubble of carbon dioxide around the baby. This reminds them to breathe, decreasing their chance of SIDS. 
  • One or both parents sleeping in bed are intoxicated. This affects adult’s sleep. They are less likely to be aware of baby in bed with them and less likely to wake up if baby makes noises or needs them.
  • Bedsharing and Couch sleeping is not the same thing. Often SIDS report associated to bed sharing include cases where parents fell asleep holding babies on the couch or a recliner. These are not safe sleep surfaces.

==>5 Bed Sharing Products I Wish I Had From Day 1<==

What is the Safe Sleep 7?

To set yourself up for success, follow the below Safe Sleep 7 check list set forth by the Le Leche League International. The checklist came out of their book called “Sweet Sleep- Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family“. This book is your comprehensive guide to safe bed sharing. The best part, its backed up by the latest research in pediatric care.

For safe bed sharing make sure to follow the below checklist:

  1. A nonsmoker
  2. Everyone in bed is Sober and unimpaired
  3. You are a breastfeeding mother and your baby is:
  4. Healthy and full-term (preferred but not necessary- do more research if you have preterm baby that does not sleep).
  5. On his back
  6. Lightly dressed
  7. You both are on a safe surface

What is the Difference between Bed Sharing and Co-Sleeping?

Sometime the lines between bed sharing and co-sleeping gets blurred, in the sense that people referred to bed sharing as co-sleeping. This is not entirely incorrect, however if you want to get technical there is a difference.

Bed sharing is when you are sharing the same sleep surface as your baby and is what this post is referring to. This is the easiest way to sleep with your breastfed baby because often they will want to be latched on to your nipple most of the night and requires minimal work from you.

==> 7 Facts about Bed Sharing that proves it’s Safe<==

Co-sleeping is referred to when baby and mother sleep in proximity to each other but separate sleeping surfaces. This is different from room-sharing as it required bassinet or crib to sit up against the mothers bed.

Often moms will open one side of the bassinet and have the two mattresses align in height. This creates an “easy” transition from breastfeeding and then putting baby back on their own surface

Pro- Bed Sharing Information can decrease SIDS

I wish I had been better educated as a new mom as what safe bed bed sharing involves and that it is actually an option. Instead, I had to learn the hard way. I felt guilt, a sense of secrecy and went through a lot of trial and error before I found my groove.

If safe bed sharing gets accepted into our culture, more families would be educated in this regard and fewer instances of unsafe sleeping arrangements would happen.

Take for example the mother falling asleep in the recliner while breastfeeding because she is too scared to be in bed with her baby. While the intention is well meaning, she unknowingly sets her baby up for more danger in the process.

That is why every mother should have easily accessible the Safe Sleep 7, to remind themselves of what is required for safely bed sharing with baby. I’ve made it easily available in the below printable.

Grab your copy for FREE!!


Save this checklist to ensure you are following the Safe Sleep 7 in order to bed share SAFELY with baby.

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