Is it okay to cosleep with my baby?
There is so much mixed information out there on the benefits and risks of co-sleeping. It is very confusing for parents to sort through it all and figure out what to do. First of all, realize that there are different reasons that families share a bed with their child. Some parents bed-share as a family decision. It is important to them to have their baby close by. Other families bed-share to solve a problem – their child has sleep issues and it’s a way to help everyone get a good night’s sleep.
If cosleeping is important to you and your family, there are a few things to consider. First of all, be sure that your baby is safe. Research indicates that bed-sharing, especially if sleeping together on a couch or a recliner chair, in a bed with heavy bedding and pillows, or with a parent with a sleep issue, under the influence, or medicated can be risky, especially for infants. Be sure that your child has a safe sleeping space when with you. Second, make sure that everyone is getting enough sleep. Your child needs to go to bed early to get the sleep that she needs, so that may mean an early bedtime for you too. Third, make sure that it is a decision that is agreeable to everyone in the family.
If you are bedsharing to solve a problem, realize that there are other solutions. Studies show that behavioral interventions, such as sleep training, are highly effective. There is a great deal of information available on how to make changes that will lead to improved sleep for your child, including on this site.
Finally, know that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against surface- and bedsharing for the first year in their safe sleep guidelines.