Solo Sleep is Safe Sleep 

by | Oct 11, 2022 | Blog, News

Why it’s best to keep baby out of your bed – and safer ways to stay nearby at night

Anyone who has had a baby or watched loved ones greet a tiny new family member knows that new parents have a lot on their plates. There is so much to do—entertaining family, tending to baby, and managing the same responsibilities that existed before the new baby arrived. New parents are rightfully tired and sleeping babies look like angels, so it can be tempting for parents to let baby sleep with them in the adult bed while they catch a few winks. There are other reasons why parents bed-share: Sometimes the baby won’t fall asleep without being held. Some parents feel more bonded with their baby when they bed-share. For parents who live in neighborhoods with high rates of violent crime, they may feel that they can protect baby if they share a bed. But no matter the reason, bed-sharing with an infant is not the safest possible sleep strategy. The safest place for baby is in their own crib, bassinet, or Pack ‘n Play.

The most recent recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) “strongly discourage” bed-sharing, noting the increased risk of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) for babies under one year old who share a bed with adults.1 Adult beds are too soft and plush for babies, who might have trouble rolling over if they get caught between pillows or under a heavy blanket, which can increase the risk of suffocation.2 If one or both parents smoke cigarettes regularly, or drink or use drugs before bedtime, the risk increases even further.3 Consumption of alcohol or drugs reduces a parent’s ability to recognize and respond to an infant who is in respiratory distress, and exposure to third-hand smoke on a parent’s body or clothes stresses the baby’s respiratory reflexes which increases the risk of SUID as a result.1

Though bed-sharing is discouraged, advocates and researchers recognize that it is hardwired into our DNA to want to be close to our babies.3 One strategy the AAP recommends is room-sharing, defined as having a crib, bassinet, or playard (such as a Pack ‘n Play) for baby located inside the parental bedroom. Room-sharing without bed-sharing significantly decreases the risk of SUID.1 It is safe to put a bassinet right by the parental bed, but the AAP does not recommend three-sided co-sleeping attachments.4 Research found that babies sleeping near the parental bed spent most of the night looking right at their parents—so your baby knows you’re nearby, even if you aren’t physically touching.3

If you bed-share, consider talking to your pediatrician, doula, or midwife about ways to reduce the risk for baby. They can also provide resources to help if things like crying or breastfeeding are making safe sleep difficult. May you have many safe, restful nights ahead.

To learn more about the Safe Sleep First initiative or receive a free Pack ‘n Play crib for your little one, contact

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement, 2022: Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2022 Recommendations for Reducing Infant Deaths in the Sleep Environment 
  2. Lisa Rapaport, Reuters, 2019: Soft bedding top cause of suffocation death for sleeping babies in U.S. 
  3. Michaeleen Doucleff, NPR, 2018: Is Sleeping With Your Baby As Dangerous As Doctors Say? 
  4. American Academy of Pediatrics, 2022: Make Baby’s Room Safe: Parent Checklist 


Recent Posts

Contact Info

5501 Delmar Blvd, #B240
St. Louis, MO 63112

Our Upcoming Events

Sign Up for Our Newsletter