If you are a breastfeeding mum, you may wish to bedshare with your child. This allows you to easily feed in the night with minimal fuss, and also provides comfort to your child as they are close to mum. To do this safely, you should follow La Leche League International’s “Safe Sleep Seven” rules for bedsharing/ co-sleeping families; according to La Leche, following these 7 simple rules ensures the baby’s risk of SIDS is no greater than in a crib.
Disclaimer: each mother must evaluate the risks and make an informed decision for their family. The Lullaby Trust's advice remains to put baby on their own in a cot with a firm flat mattress, in a space that is clear from pillows, duvets, cot bumpers etc.. If you formula feed, check out this link.
La Leche League International’s “Safe Sleep Seven” rules for bedsharing co-sleeping families:
If a mother is:
1. A non-smoker
And her baby is:
5. On his back
6. Lightly dressed and unswaddled
7. Share a safe surface
Then the baby’s risk of SIDS is no greater than in a crib, and any breathing hazards have been hugely reduced.
The Safe Surface Checklist
Avoid these possible smothering risks:
Sofas and recliners
Softness or sagging that rolls your baby against you or keeps him from lifting his head free
Spaces between mattress and headboard, side rails, or wall where a baby could get stuck
Pets that could interfere
Clear your bed of:
Heavy covers and comforters
Anything nearby that dangles or tangles (such as cords, strings, scarves, ribbons, elastics)
Check your bed for possible hazards:
Distance to floor
Sharp, poking, or pinching places
For more information, check out La Leche League International’s new book, Sweet Sleep.
Sweet Sleep explains how and why many breastfeeding mothers can bedshare and co-sleep responsibly. The heart of the book is the “Safe Sleep Seven” – seven criteria that create that level of safety. These clear criteria will offer reassurance to many mothers and give all mothers a way to evaluate the risk in their own situation.
How to breastfeed on your side
Side-lying breastfeeding allows easy night-time feeds when bedsharing.