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The Facts about Co-Sleeping

After hearing horror stories of children being suffocated while co-­sleeping, many parents, concerned about the safety risks that bed­-sharing co-sleepingentails, wrongly believe that bed-­sharing is dangerous. Thankfully, the truth is that bed-­sharing can be just as safe - if not more safe - than putting baby in his or her own crib to sleep, provided that certain conditions are met.

The problem with many of the studies that have been done on bed­-sharing is that they didn't take all of the factors into account. There is a huge difference between a family who intentionally and attentively sleeps with baby in the bed out of concern for baby's well­-being or a desire to bond and a mother who accidentally falls asleep with baby on the couch or who brings baby into her own bed simply because she cannot afford to purchase a crib.

For parents who want to share a bed with their babies and who are aware of the guidelines and risks, co-­sleeping can be a safe choice. Here are a few of the guidelines that must be followed in order for co­-sleeping to be considered safe.

  • Both parents must be non-­smokers, light sleepers, of a healthy weight and not taking any medications, drugs or alcohol.
  • Baby should sleep in between the mother and a mesh guardrail only - not next to the father, other siblings or pets who don't have the same instincts mothers do.
  • The bed should not have any loose or thick blankets which could find themselves near baby's face.
  • There should be no cracks or crevices where baby could get stuck.
  • The mattress must be large, flat and smooth - no pillow­-top mattresses, waterbeds,couches or armchairs.
  • Avoid pajamas with strings or ribbons, which pose a suffocation risk. If the mother has long hair, she should tie it back with a hair tie.
  • It is recommended that the mother breastfeeds.
  • The baby should lie on his or her side or back - never on his or her stomach.

If you have your heart set on co-­sleeping and you are able and determined to follow all of the safety guidelines, rest assured that co-­sleeping can be a safe and wonderful choice for your family. Families all over the world bond in a family bed every night; yours can too!

Questions or Comments?

At Harvest Pediatrics, we encourage you to contact us whenever you have a concern or question related to your care.
You can reach us at:


Napa: (707) 252-1076
St. Helena: (707) 963-0171

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Napa Office

Monday:

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Tuesday:

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Wednesday:

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Thursday:

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St. Helena Office

Monday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed