Here at Bubnest HQ we are often asked by our beautiful customers about co-sleeping, bed sharing and ways to keep bubba safe whilst also keeping them close by. So we thought why not share with all our lovely followers the things we have learnt, and researched over the years, to hopefully help you decide what is best for your baby and family when it comes to sleep.
The place in which babies, children and parents sleep, and their night time routines, vary across cultures and countries. Co-sleeping and bed-sharing is an unquestioned practice for the majority of parents and babies across the globe. In much of southern Europe, Asia, Africa and Central and South America, Mothers and babies routinely bed share. It's pretty much the norm, and most little ones will continue to share the bed with their Mum, or both parents, for many years into their childhood.
In Asia it is common for the whole family to sleep on the floor, in the same room, on mats that are a temporary fixture to allow the sleeping area to double as a living room. In Japan doctors advise parents to sleep with their children until they reach school age in order to help them become more independent. Thus children learn they have a safe base and the desire for their own space is something that arises naturally when they feel ready.
In Westernised culture it is however more common for babies and children to have their own sleeping space for most of the time. An example of this is still having bub in the same room, where as another example is having baby in their own room in a cot. Parent's might choose to have their little one within arms reach, or perhaps use a monitor to watch, listen and make sure baby is safe. This doesn't mean though that co-sleeping is unheard of within westernised culture, just more so that it often isn't intentionally planned. Studies show that many parents actually find that by having baby in their bed helps with caring for bub during the night. When looking at Australia statistics one study showed that within baby's first six months of life, approximately 80% of parents spent some amount of time co-sleeping
So what is actually recommended in Australia when it comes to Safe Sleeping Guidelines? The Red Nose Foundation have a list of Six Safe Sleep Recommendations to keep your baby as safe as possible whilst they sleep, and to reduce the risk of sudden infant death or other sleep incidents. These recommendations are evidence based and have been curated after many years of research. The Six Safe Sleep Recommendations include the following - sleep baby on their back, keep head and face uncovered, keep baby smoke free before and after birth, safe sleeping environment day and night, sleep baby in parent's room in safe cot and breastfeed baby. The Red Nose Foundation does however also acknowledge that every family is unique, and every baby is unique - so you need to make the decision that is right for you and your family
So what is the recommendations around safe co-sleeping, or bed-sharing, in Australia? Well, as many professionals acknowledge that each baby and family are unique, the Red Nose Foundation have also put together a list of tips for safer co-sleeping. They are as follows:
- Place baby on their back to sleep – never on their tummy or side
- Make sure the mattress is clean and firm
- Keep pillows and adult bedding away from baby
- Make sure baby can’t fall off the bed– you can also put the adult mattress on the floor to help reduce the risk of baby being injured from falling off the bed.
- Make sure your bedding and sheets can’t cover baby’s face
- Place baby to the side of one parent – never in the middle of two adults, or next to other children or pets
- Move the bed away from the wall – so baby can’t get trapped between the bed and the wall
- Dress baby in a safe sleep bag with no hood but with a fitted neck and armholes – don’t wrap or swaddle baby
- Tie up long hair, remove all jewellery and remove teething necklaces – so they can’t strangle baby
- Red Nose Foundation, tips for safe co - sleeping
There are also some really important reasons for when co-sleeping is not advisable. These include if you or your partner have consumed substances that may make you more drowsy or less aware, if you are feeling incredibly over tired or are unwell, if either you or your partner smoke, if baby is unwell, was premature or is smaller for their gestational age.
All in all, as highlighted by the Red Nose Foundation, every baby and every family is unique. Research shows that co-sleeping has many benefits for the over all wellbeing for both baby and parents. So whether it is a cultural or personal preference, it's great to know there are ways you can keep your little one close by whilst also creating a safer sleeping space.
Sweet dreams everyone! Love Team Bubnest xx