Be careful talking about sleep around new parents.If you let slip you had 8 hours shut eye last night, expect a scowl in your direction, followed by the words…“People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one!” I’m sure many of you have heard this amusing quote before.Baby sleep is one of the biggest areas of concern for parents. Some are lucky and have babies who can sleep quite soundly through the night. While for others, it can be a real struggle.
This article contains some considerations on where your newborn should sleep and how you can choose the best option to suit your needs.
Many view co-sleeping as the natural option, helping to develop a strong bond between parent and baby. According to a study of 120 countries, 50 per cent of mums share a bed with their baby. However, it doesn’t seem to be as popular in the US, UK and other Western countries.One of the advantages of co-sleeping is that it’s generally less disruptive. Night feeds are much easier, especially if you are breast feeding. Your baby might also find it easier to return to sleep knowing you are next to her. There are also some studies that claim babies who share the same bed, sleep for longer periods at night and are more sociable during the day.
However, if a baby is premature or of low birth weight (less than 2.5 kg/5.5lb), then co-sleeping is not advisable. You should also avoid sharing a bed with your newborn if you or your partner smoke, have consumed any alcohol or taken any drugs. Some also believe that co-sleeping discourages independence, making it harder for your baby to settle once she sleeps on her own.You should also consider the loss of intimacy between you and your partner!
2) In a bedside crib
This is probably the most common option favoured by parents, especially for the first few months. You can place your baby in a bedside crib, which allows you easy access to her at night. But you should consider a divider, which minimizes the risk of your baby getting trapped in between.Alternatively, you could use a moses basket or carrycot for the first few weeks. You can do this before moving on to a full sized crib. This option is generally considered one of the best for reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). At night time, just place the basket or cot near your bed at a height that makes it easy for you to lift her in and out. A carrycot or basket also has the advantage of being portable, which means your baby can feel comfortable wherever she sleeps in your home.
3) In her own room
You and your partner may well have gone through the process of furnishing, measuring and painting over the past couple of months, in an attempt to transform your spare room into a nursery. Can your baby sleep there straightaway?
Some parents go for this option. If it seems the right choice for you, invest in a baby monitor if you can’t hear her cry from another room. And ensure you don’t always rush to her side every time you hear the slightest noise. This can encourage bad sleeping habits and you should understand babies will often make noises during sleep. If you plan on sleeping in your baby’s room, you may want to get a cot or an air mattress.
However, putting your baby in her own room straight away can be a mixed bag in terms of disruption for you and your partner, and for the safety of a newborn. On the plus side, you won’t need to tiptoe around your own room at night in fear of waking her. But get ready for nightly visits to her room for every feed and diaper change! Furthermore, many believe there is an increased risk of SIDS if a baby sleeps in her own room straight away.Ultimately it is up to you as a parent to decide on the best solution for your newborn because a lot might depend on the size and layout of your home. However, regardless of what option you choose, you need to ensure you understand the safety guidelines to minimize the risk of SIDS.