Can I Sleep While Wearing My Baby? A Pediatrician Explains
The absolute worst part of the first few weeks of becoming a new mom was the sleep deprivation. I’ve never felt so horrible in my entire life, and I would get anxious and cry when it would start to get dark because I knew what was coming — my baby sleeping in 20-minute increments. Thankfully, my son now sleeps pretty well through the night (knock on wood), but I know some parents are still struggling and desperate to try anything that may help their kids sleep. When I was struggling, I wondered, can I sleep while wearing my baby? He seemed to only sleep if he was in his Moby wrap, the magical device that would put him out as soon as I put him in there. Plus, I kept falling asleep with him in my arms when I’d be nursing him or in his glider, so I figured maybe the carrier would keep him from sliding out of my arms.
Desperation and sleep deprivation will make you do some crazy things. But looking back, I’m glad I didn’t risk it. Even though I was hoping to sleep in the glider rocking him while he was in his wrap snoozing away, Dr. Gina Posner, a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, says that is definitely not safe at all. When I ask her if it was safe to wear your baby and sleep in a glider, while sitting up in bed, or sitting/laying on the couch, she simply tells Romper in an email interview, “No. The only safe sleep surface is on their back in a crib with a firm mattress and a fitted sheet. The problem with sleeping with your baby while wearing [them] is that their head can drop and constrict their breathing. They can also suffocate themselves in the carrier.”
What about the type of carrier? If you use a more structured one, would that help matters at all, or is it still a no-go? It is not safe either way. If you are awake, you can keep an eye on your child’s breathing, but if you sleep, you can’t watch to make sure that they don’t put their head in such a way as to cut off oxygen.
As far as safe ways to ensure your household starts getting some sleep if it seems like the only way baby will sleep is in your arms, Posner suggests the co-sleepers that attach to your bed. “That way they have their own space to sleep that is impossible for you to roll into, but you can be right next to them and even touching them while you fall asleep and they do.”
It took my son until he was almost 3 months old to sleep in his bassinet flat on his back, and he has acid reflux, so he spent all of his nights swinging peacefully and happily in his swing for the first couple of months of his life. I get it. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to keep your sanity and for the family to finally get some rest. Maybe wearing your baby to sleep isn’t such a good idea, however. Try the co-sleeping device that Posner recommended. They’ll still be close to you and feel your touch (which is what a lot of babies are craving to fall asleep), but are safe in the process. And be sure to reach out for help if you're too sleep deprived to go on.