Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Making Bedsharing Safe

Do you like the idea of sharing a bed with your baby? Perhaps you have fallen asleep with them by mistake and didn't wake up for hours. Sharing a bed can be lovely, just follow these steps to make sure you do it safely.

You and your partner

Everyone in the bed needs to be:
  • a non-smoker
  • not under the influence of drink or drugs, including medications or pain killers that can make you sleep heavily.
  • not over tired (you must have had an absolute minimum of 4 hours sleep in the last 24 hours)
You should also be exclusively breastfeeding. A breastfeeding mum will automatically sleep in a position that creates a safe space for the baby, and will move very little. The baby will naturally stay near the breast and won't wriggle up into the pillows or down under the sheets. Unfortunately if you are not breastfeeding this subconscious positioning doesn't happen.

Your baby

Your baby needs to be:
  • Lightly dressed, no fleece sleep suits or swaddles
  • On his or her back
  • Full term
  • Generally healthy (a cold is fine!)

Your bed

Never sleep with a baby on a sofa or recliner, it is much safer to take them into bed. Even beds can have some risks though, so check for these.
  • Gaps around the mattress, especially ones where a baby could get trapped between the mattress and a headboard, side rail or wall. Move the bed away from a wall, take off the headboard or fill gaps with something firm like a tightly rolled beach towel.
  • Soft mattress that would allow a baby to roll into the dip caused by your body, or where your baby couldn't lift their head clear if they found themselves on their tummy.
  • Extra pillows, soft toys or thick duvets. Remove anything that isn't in use and replace duvets with one or two light blankets.
  • A drop onto a hard surface. Even if you sleep between your baby and the edge of the bed, you might want to lower the hight of your bed if possible, put the mattress on the floor or put something soft (but firm, like a folded blanket) on the floor to break a fall.
  • Choking or tangling hazards. Ties, ribbons, cables, cords and anything small enough to choke on.
  • Anything sharp, scratchy or otherwise harmful. Pretty obvious this one, but do fix any nails sticking out or broken bits of wood!