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Safer Co-Sleeping for Babies

Safer co-sleeping with your baby.

How many times have you felt guilty or been made to feel guilty for co-sleeping with your baby? For me I have to say about a million times!

When my daughter was born in 2020 I ended up co-sleeping for my own sanity. The lovely next-to-me cot I bought became my breakfast bed. Maddy hated it, and as soon as I put her in the cot she would wake up crying. As a result, I was up every 30 minutes during the night because she was only content when she was co-sleeping. The last straw came when I fell asleep whilst breastfeeding, I woke up startled and thankfully nothing happened to my baby. I was no longer holding her properly because of course my arms were no longer holding her up, and that’s the moment I decided something needed to change.

My exhaustion was creating an unsafe sleeping environment for her, so I started to google what my options were and came across co-sleeping. After thoroughly researching everything I could find on co-sleeping, I spoke to my midwife about it and I was given further useful information on how to do this safely. All information on co-sleeping safety written in this blog is given by the Lullaby trust. You can find all the information at www.lullabytrust.org.uk or speak to your midwife about any concerns you have.

Co-sleeping with your baby more safely can reduce the risks of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)?

Ideal Room temperature for Babies

The risk of SIDS increases if your baby gets too hot. The ideal temperature in the room should be between 16 and 20 C. There are many affordable room thermometers you can buy online to keep in the room where your little one is sleeping. A simple way to monitor your baby’s temperature is to check their chest or their neck. Feet and hands are not a good way to check a baby’s temperature.

If you are co-sleeping keep blankets or duvets completely away from the baby. If you are worried about your baby getting cold, swaddle blankets or sleeping bags are a good option, but always check that they comply with safety regulations and always check you are using the right TOG.

What is the safest sleeping position for babies?

The safest position for your baby to sleep in is on their back. You should avoid putting babies on their side or their front (unless advised so by a medical professional), as the latest research has shown that placing babies on their front increases the risk of SIDS. Never use blankets or any type of equipment to keep your baby in one position unless otherwise advised to by a doctor.

Many mothers panic when their baby starts to roll! Don’t worry, once your baby can roll back to front and front to back, they can safely sleep on their front. 

A clear cot is a safe cot 

Research suggests that pillows, duvets, cot bumpers, soft toys, and loose bedding in your baby’s cot increases the risk of SIDS. Based on this research it is recommended that you keep the cot completely empty, instead of using blankets you can opt for a sleeping bag.

Using dummies at bedtime

Research suggests that using a dummy while sleeping could reduce the risk of Sudden infant death. The current advice is to first establish breastfeeding (if you choose to do so) and then start using a dummy.

Here at Mamiina, we have a huge range of unique dummies from Elodie Details. They have orthodontic silicone teats as recommended by the Lullaby Trust and follow all Safety standards EN 1400:2013=A1:2014. They are available in 2 sizes, newborn and 3+ months, and they are not only safe, but completely unique.  Find the whole Elodie dummy collection here.

One very important thing to remember if you decide to use a dummy is that you should NEVER let your baby use a dummy clip while sleeping.

Why can’t I use dummy clips whilst sleeping? Dummy clips can be a strangulation hazard, and unfortunately, there are many unsafe dummy clips on the market nowadays. Too many companies or hobbyists sell them without understanding that they must follow strict safety standards and be independently safety tested in safety houses.

Things to look out for when purchasing a dummy clip:

  • Holes in the clip to facilitate breathing in the case of accidental swallowing
  • The overall length of the dummy clip should never be longer than 22cm (starting from bottom of the clip)
  • All materials used on the dummy clip MUST comply to all chemical safety requirements
  • All dummy clips must comply to safety standard BS EN 12586 

At Mamiina all our dummy clips have been safety tested according to these standards and all of our brands have also been tested, but even though they are completely safe, babies cannot use them while sleeping. Find all our dummy clips here.

Breastfeeding & co-sleeping

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS, and breastfeeding for at least 2 months halves the risk of SIDS. The Department of Health recommends breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months.

Co-sleeping with your baby

The best thing for your baby is to sleep in a clear space such as a Moses basket, next-to-me cots, or a crib. However, as I mentioned earlier there are reasons why this can become really difficult and parents decide to co-sleep. Here is some advice on co-sleeping safely (check the lullaby trust organisation for more information).

  • Keep pillows and blankets away, or any type of object that can obstruct your baby’s breathing or cause them to overheat.
  • No pets in the bed 
  • Sleep your baby on their back 
  • Do not use nests or pods, even if they follow safe regulations 
  • Avoid co-sleeping at the same time with more than one child
  • Make sure your mattress is firm, flat, and waterproof (this applies also to mattresses in cots and Moses baskets)
  • Sleep in the C position, this stops mummy from rolling over. See picture below ( picture from lullaby trust organisation )   
Co-sleeping with baby.
Sleeping in the C position. Picture credit; Lullaby Trust Organisation

When you should not co-sleep.

  • You or your partner smoke (even if you don’t smoke in the room)
  • If you or your partner have used drugs or drunk alcohol. This includes medication that can make you drowsy 
  • Your baby was premature (Before 37 weeks)
  • Your baby was low weight (2.5 kg or less)
  • Never sleep on a sofa or armchairs 

This information applies to mummy and daddy 

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