Being a single mother is not easy. You might be overclouded with concerns and questions while parenting your child single-handedly. They are always worried about any changes they notice in their parenthood journey, and co-sleeping is one such concern that single mothers often face. Bed sharing and co-sleeping seem to be safe enough. However, many opinions say that there are risks associated with this practice. It can be challenging for single mothers to determine the best and healthiest choice for their families. The family bed might seem appealing to single parents for numerous reasons; however, it comes with certain risks, most notably SIDS or chances of causing Specific Infant Death Syndrome. However, by making your babies sleep in the same room in their cribs, you can protect them against SIDS. It will also make feeding and night waking easier to manage.
Is It Safe For Single Mothers To Co-Sleep With Their Newborn Child?
The practice of co-sleeping with newborns is considered to be a responsible behavior in some cultures while in others, it is strongly discouraged. Single moms facing trouble and looking for co-sleeping tips are in the right place. The practice of sharing bed with your little one is known as co-sleeping. Co-sleeping has many benefits, such as your child will feel safe, you will have an improved bond with your child, and you can also monitor your baby closely. However, few parents do not prefer this practice of co-sleeping since it results in risks like unhealthy dependency on parents and suffocating the child while sleeping. Single moms planning to co-sleep should follow a few tips to ensure their infant is safe and sound. Moreover, you also need to explore suitable products that can help you make the practice of co-sleeping safer and more comfortable.
As per research studies, nearly 74% of SIDS cases have occurred among infants and newborn babies because they are sleeping with their parents. This study did not consider other factors, such as drinking habits, drugs, and smoking in parents. The AAP, or American Academy of Pediatrics, strongly discourages single moms and other parents from sharing their beds with their newborns. If you prefer to sleep with your child, you must maintain all the co-sleeping safety guidelines to avoid fatalities.
What is Co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping, also known as sleep sharing, is a practice of sharing beds by parents with their children. In short, sleeping is having an infant or newborn sleep with their parents. Co-sleeping can be done in either of the following ways.
- When one or both parents share the same bed with their child
- When the baby sleeps in a bassinet or a crib in the same room but arms away from the reach of the parents.
Co-Sleeping Versus Bed Sharing
Bed-sharing and Co-sleeping are often used interchangeably; however, both are not the same, and there lies a vast difference between the two. At the same time, bed-sharing is the habit in the same bed as your child or sharing the same sleeping surface. Co-sleeping, on the other hand, means sleeping in proximity to your child, sometimes nearby in the same room while sometimes in the same bed. Bed-sharing is another form of sleeping; however, it is not a healthy practice, and the American Academy Of Pediatrics warns parents against bed-sharing to avoid the risk of SIDS.
Benefits Of Single Mom Co-Sleeping Newborn
Even though Co-sleeping is not suitable for every kind of family, there are a lot of benefits that single moms can have while following this practice.
- As per research, your baby or infant will be at lower risk of infant death syndrome or SIDS while they sleep in the same room as their parents.
- Co-sleeping helps in improving the child and maternal sleep quality as well as time. Single moms need not wake up in the middle of the night, get up from their bed, and go to the baby’s room to feed or comfort them
- This also results in fewer bedtime hassles
- Single mothers can breastfeed their babies easily during nighttime while co-sleeping
- Single mothers can make their baby or infant feel more secure and warm while staying beside them throughout the night
- Co-sleeping helps in decreasing the chances of nighttime separation anxiety and facilitates comfortable nursing
- There are fewer chances of the baby or newborn falling from the bed
- Co-sleeping sharing provides a safer sleep environment for kids and also helps them in boosting confidence
Risks Of Co-Sleeping
A lot of single parents do not prefer poor sleeping with their child because of the following potential risk
- High risk of infant mortality as your child gets appropriated or strangled due to lack of space, especially young babies who lack enough motor skills to push away or rollover
- Single mothers have to face sleep deprivation due to the sudden or constant movement of their children, and this disturbs their sleep patterns.
- Because sleeping promotes unhealthy dependence of children on parents
- If both the parents or either one of them has a habit of alcohol, drug, or smoking abuse, then co-sleeping can cause severe health hazards to the child
- Conditions like divorce, separation, or death of any parent can leave the child in an alarming situation
- Co-sleeping should be avoided if a parent is under heavy therapy or medication
- Once the baby gets used to sleeping with the parents, it becomes difficult for them to sleep independently later.
Single Parent’s Tips For Co-Sleeping With Their Baby
While sleeping with your baby, you must follow the following safety measures to keep your baby safe.
1. Make Your Child Sleep On Her Back
The risk of causing SIDS lowers when you make your baby sleep on her back. If single mothers have to nurse their children while lying in bed, you can try to get her on the back once she completes feeding. Making children sleep on their backs is one of the safest ways if you’re practicing co-sleeping.
2. Get An Ideal Sleep Surface
As a single mom, you must ensure that your mattresses are firm with tightly placed bed sheets. You can place a pillow and cotton blanket so that the mattresses do not fall over the face of the baby. Avoid using sheepskins or cushiony bed cover if you sleep poorly with your child on the same bed. Place your baby slightly higher on the bed while you sleep a bit lower. If you are co-sleeping with your infants, it is best recommended for single mothers to use fitted sheets and firm mattresses with no blankets, toys, or pillows. You need to make sure your child’s head and face are not covered while they are sleeping. Head covering, as per research, is one of the main risk factors which is related to SIDS.
3. Check All The Conditions Around You
There have been cases where infants have been squeezed between a wall of furniture and mattresses. You need to check the condition and place your bed away from walls, tables, and side furniture so there are no gaps. You can place your bed in the center of the room to avoid the risk of your child getting squeezed between the mattresses and the furniture or wall.
4. Do Not Indulge In Drinking And Smoking
Single moms co-sleeping with their children should not indulge in smoking and drinking as taking these harmful things will make them less cautious, and they cannot attend to their babies correctly.
5. Dress Your Child Properly
You need to dress your child in proper dress at night. During summers, light clothes will make your infant stay comfortable, while during winters, you can dress your child in layers. Using sleep sacks, footie pants, and long-sleeve dresses will help your child to have a comfortable sleep.
6. Never Sleep On A Sofa Or An Armchair
Single moms tend to sleep with their babies in dangerous places like a sofa or armchair. Your child can get squeezed between you and the sides or between the cushions. If going to sleep is your routine at your house, you can purchase a more giant bed as the more space in the bed, the better will be your and your child’s sleep.
Single moms who are worried about fostering a close relationship with their child at night or think that putting their child to sleep in a bassinet or crib is somewhat like abandoning them should not take stress as the location is not essential in nurturing a relationship. No matter whether you are sleeping with your child in the same bed or another room, you can build love and attachment anyway. You can create strong bonds and secure attachments with your child without sleep. Your child can benefit from bonding activities, skin-to-skin contact, and physical closeness without bed-sharing at night. Single moms share their beds because they feel it is easier to monitor their children and feed them. They may face difficulty breaking the habit and making their children fall asleep; therefore, they should practice the safe bed-sharing guidelines stated above.