Whether you're a new parent or a season vet, caring for a newborn pretty much levels the playing field of parenthood. Friends who have multiple children have told me that they felt like they were starting from the beginning each time they welcomed a new child to the family. Basically, it's completely normal to have a million questions about your baby's health and well-being. Since bed-sharing and co-sleeping have become more mainstream, you might wonder, "is it safe for my newborn to sleep beside me?" After all, every parent has been so deliriously exhausted that nearly any surface looks like an inviting place to sleep. But, of course, you have to consider the potential risks involved with your choice.
One of the top concerns virtually all parents have is how to avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. According to the most recent guidelines released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), "bed-sharing places the infant at particularly high risk of SIDS." The statement further explained that, "devices promoted to make bed-sharing 'safe' (in bed co-sleepers) are not recommended." Of course every parent is free to come to their own conclusion after fully researching a topic, but it's very clear that the AAP does not support bed-sharing, especially not with a newborn.
However, there is a safe alternative that keeps your baby within arm's reach. Different than bed-sharing, there's something called room-sharing. Basically, in room-sharing, parent and infant sleep in close proximity in the same room but in different beds. As pediatrics researcher Dr. Fern Hauck told the official website for NBC News, room-sharing is much safer and is actually a recommended sleep practice for the baby's first year. This way, as The Baby Sleep Site noted, room-sharing gives you the same benefits — they're close for feeding, soothing, and giving you peace of mind — without the dangers of bed-sharing — suffocation, injury, and SIDS. Though each parent will find what works well for their unique family needs, you can have peace of mind knowing you and your newborn are practicing a safe, nurturing sleep dynamic by room-sharing.