Since becoming a mom, sleep has never been far from my mind. I've always loved it, and yet I somehow gave birth to a baby who thinks of sleep as her enemy. It took her a year to start sleeping through the night, which means her dad and I survived some tough times. One thing that got us through it was bed sharing. If you're wondering if you can convince your significant other to try it, there are some everyday habits that will make your partner more comfortable when bed sharing.
There are risks to bed sharing that you and your partner should be understand before you agree to give it a try. The American Academy of Pediatrics noted that bed sharing is a big risk factor for baby sleep deaths, especially for infants under 4 months old. But there are so many things you can do to make it safer and mitigate those risks, including the items on this list. Bed sharing worked for my family because we followed every safety recommendation we could find. It also worked for us because I knew that getting even a few more minutes of sleep every night would make me a happier, healthier, and saner mom.
Here are seven habits that could make bed sharing the right fit for your family.
1. No Drugs, No Drinking Heavily, No Smoking
You can give your baby the safest sleep environment possible if both partners say no to drugs, smoking, and drinking heavily. According to Babble, these bad habits increase the risks of bed sharing. Doing drugs or drinking in particular could make you less responsive to your baby at night.
2. Always Put Baby To Sleep On Their Back
No matter where they're sleeping, your baby needs to be asleep on their back according to Kids Health. Knowing that your little one is in the safest sleep position possible should give your partner some peace of mind.
3. Don't Put Baby Between Both Partners
Babies who bed share should be placed between their mother and the wall (or a guard rail if your bed isn't against a wall) , according to Ask Dr. Sears. Your partner should worry less about accidentally hurting the baby if they're not right next to each other.
4. Don't Swaddle
Kelly Mom noted that if you bed share, your baby should not be swaddled because they could overheat. Your partner may also be more comfortable knowing that your baby has their arms and legs free to let out a punch or kick if they get too close.
5. Put Other Children Into Their Own Beds
Kelly Mom also noted that if your baby is less than 1 year old, you shouldn't have other siblings bed sharing with them. Little kids are notorious for their nighttime acrobatics, so moving them into their own sleep space means one less set of flailing limbs to worry about.
6. Don't Sneak Baby Into Bed
If you're going to bed share with your baby, both partners need to be on board and fully aware at all times. According to the University of Notre Dame, you should never put your baby into bed if your partner is asleep and doesn't realize your little one is there. In my personal experience, you go to sleep in a completely different mindset (and maybe even position) if you know that your baby is next to you. Taking that away from your partner could be dangerous.
7. Have Adult Time Outside Of Bed
One of the biggest hesitations your partner may have about bed sharing is that it cuts into your time alone together. Baby Center suggested making it a priority to connect outside the bedroom, whether it's for physical intimacy or just some good pillow talk.