Most parents are very aware of the AAP guidelines for safe sleep for babies, which includes having babies sleep in the same room as their parents for the first 6-12 months. Did you know having baby sleep in the same room as you also applies to naps during the day? Research shows babies who sleep in a separate room from their parents are at a greater risk of SIDS for both daytime and night sleeps. While 83% of SIDS deaths occur at night, the risk during the day is still there. The safest option is to keep your baby near you while they sleep for the first few months of life.
Here’s three ways to have baby sleep close to you:
👼🏼 Baby Wear: This ancient practice has baby riding on your body like a baby monkey. They may be worn on your chest facing you, on your chest facing out, on your hip or back. Ring slings, soft wraps, structured carriers or baby back packs all work. The movement of your body helps baby be swayed to sleep and the rhythm of your heart and body heat help them stay comfortable and calm. You can still move around and get chores like vacuuming and washing dishes done
🛌 Co-nap: Every new parent I know is sleep deprived to some extent. As they say: eat when baby eats, sleep when baby sleeps, and vacuum when baby vacuums (which means it’s ok to stall a bit on those chores to enjoy those baby snuggles). If you are breastfeeding and bed-sharing, learning side lying breastfeeding can be a game changer. Never co-sleep with baby on a couch or chair. If you plan to sleep at the same time as baby, or fear you might accidentally fall asleep, always lay down on a firm, flat mattress and make sure there are no blankets or pillows around that could cover baby. Those who are not breastfeeding, smokers and others who fall outside the guidelines for safe bed-sharing can put baby to sleep in a bassinet or crib, then lay down in their own bed in the same room.
😴Contact Nap: It’s a term coined by Sarah Ockwell-Smith, author of The Gentle Sleep Book. It means having all or part of one body in contact with another body while one or both sleeps. Skin to skin contact releases oxytocin, the cuddle hormone, to help you bond. And when you’re breastfeeding, this contact also helps naturally boost your milk supply. Its OK to contact nap as long as you mutually want and it WON’T create a dependency to sleep on you in the future.
This stage in parenting is short and babies will eventually stop napping. Make the most of it by keeping it safe (and snuggly).