Getting a newborn to sleep is likely one of the top topics new parents have concerns about. Sleepless nights and constant feedings can be exhausting, and in some instances, sleeplessness and frustration may lead to dangerous sleep situations for the baby such as falling asleep on the couch or in the same bed with a parent. While some of the decisions about setting up the nursery may be easy, like what color will you paint the room and the most convenient spot for a changing table, other decisions may be harder to make, like where is the right place to put the crib or bassinet?
Co-Sleeping vs. Bedsharing
The American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep guidelines recommend keeping a baby’s sleep area in the same room where you sleep for at least the first six months. Co-sleeping means that a baby shares a sleeping space, or room, with a parent while bed-sharing means that the parents and baby are sharing the same bed or even a couch, recliner, or waterbed. Bedsharing is a controversial topic and is considered dangerous by medical experts. If a bassinet is used in the parents’ room, there are specific weight limits and once a baby is able to sit up, they can no longer safely use the bassinet.
Bedsharing is Dangerous
Why should parents consider a bassinet over bed-sharing? The simple reason is that bedsharing is dangerous and can even be fatal. According to the CDC, in 2019, 28% of all sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) were caused by strangulation and suffocation in a bed. A newborn or infant who sleeps in an adult bed not designed for infant safety exposes the infant to risks for suffocation, asphyxia, entrapment, falls, and strangulation. There is the risk of an adult rolling over on the infant, and the type of linens used in an adult bed are considered suffocation risks to a small child.
The Right Bassinet Makes It Easier
According to pediatrician Dr. William Sears, “The wonderful thing about the juvenile world is that many companies have been able to meet the needs of new parents with products based on scientific learning. There are many companies in the infant sleep category with designs that promote safe sleep for babies. One such company which truly revolutionized infant sleep is Arm’s Reach which provided parents with an entirely new way to sleep near their baby.” The Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Bassinet, conceived by a new mom and dad, created a safe sleep space for a baby that is separate from the parent’s bed and within arm’s reach to increase bonding, to facilitate feeding, and to calm a fussy baby with a gentle touch all without having to get out of bed and go into another room. He continues, “Any baby product that can help reduce the stress that many new parents experience is a win-win for the entire family.”
Reduce SIDS by 50%
By the time a baby is born, most parents are aware of the importance of putting their newborn to sleep on their back to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It is the term developed to describe infants who mysteriously died while sleeping. But what they might not know is that the location of the crib or bassinet is also critical to a baby’s wellbeing. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping a newborn in your room up to a year. Studies show that when the baby stays in the parent’s room for at least six months, this has reduced the incidence of SIDS by 50%.
Nighttime Feedings are Easier
When a newborn is safely asleep next to their mother in a bassinet, there is no need to go to another room for nighttime feedings. This is particularly true with mothers who are breastfeeding. Aside from breastfeeding benefits, room sharing can also reduce the stress some parents feel because they are likely to get more sleep as a result of feeling more connected to their babies. Bassinets are most often placed next to the mother’s side of the bed to allow for easy access to the baby throughout the night. The other benefit is that co-sleeping, or room sharing, can give your baby the closeness they crave while sleeping safe and sound.