Some mothers prefer to hold their babies in their arms or in close proximity whilst they sleep. It could also be due to a fussy baby that will refuse to settle down outside the arms of his mother. This is known as Co-Sleeping and is much easier to manage. However, there are also babies that prefer the distance and will find co-sleeping extremely uncomfortable, especially if the mother is a fan. If you go the family-bed route, you also need to realize that babies who sleep with their parents are at a higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If not done properly, Co-sleeping can be extremely hazardous and even fatal to the life of your child. In fact, nearly 50 percent of babies who die of SIDS are in a bed-sharing situation, according to the AAP. One in about two thousand babies dies of SIDS each year, leaving devastated parents in their wake.
The AAP stated that it is exponentially safer to put the baby to sleep in a cradle or a separate bed, but if the parents are insistent on co-sleeping, then they are to follow these guidelines:
- Keep your baby safer by putting him down on his back.
- Keep him away from any blankets or pillows.
- Don’t sleep with your baby on a water bed, on a sofa, or in an armchair. These are even more dangerous than a traditional adult bed.
- Maintain a smoke-free environment.
- Never use alcohol, drugs, or any medication that might make you unaware of your baby’s presence.
- Ensure that the baby’s bedtime is earlier than that of yours.
4. Patience is a virtue.
You can attempt to gradually wean your child off an extended bedtime routine with what experts refer to as deconditioning or modified sleep training. By doing so, you and the baby can get a full night’s rest without much fuss. It works best on babies with a fairly easygoing disposition; babies who are clingy and sensitive or high-energy and intense may put up more resistance. Your nights will become less cumbersome, but to get to that point, you will require lots and lots of patience.
Start off by adopting a very consistent bedtime wind-down routine; then tuck your baby into the crib while she’s still awake, only instead of getting out of there as quickly as you can, pull up a chair next to her crib and hang around for a while, addressing whatever needs she may require. Try not to pick her up — but you can do so briefly if she’s really bawling. Stay as long as it takes for her to fall asleep, then leave the room; repeat the method if she wakes during the night. Perform this routine consistently for the next three days at nap- and bedtime. On day four, start distancing yourself slowly from the crib, verbally soothing her along the way. As the days go by, keep distancing yourself from the crib little by little, till you reach a stage where the baby can fall asleep without you even having to be in the room.