Caring for your baby at night

The safest place for your baby to sleep at night is in a cot or crib beside your bed for the first six months. Your baby needs you to care for them at night. It is normal and beneficial for young babies to wake for feeding and attention during the night. Night time breastfeeds are especially important for your milk supply. You can make night time feeds easier by:

  • sleeping your baby in the same room as you for at least the first six months
  • learning to breastfeed lying down

Reduce the risk of cot death

Place your baby on their back to sleep, in a cot in a room with you

  • Do not smoke in pregnancy or let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby
  • Do not share a bed with your baby if you have been drinking alcohol, if you take drugs or if you are a smoker
  • Never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair
  • Do not let your baby get too hot
  • Keep your baby’s head uncovered
  • Place your baby in the “feet to foot” position

Sharing a bed with your baby

Bringing your baby into your bed means that you can breastfeed in comfort. However, it is easy to fall asleep while breastfeeding, so there are important points to consider before taking your baby into bed with you.

Bed sharing is not appropriate if you or your partner:

  • are smokers (no matter where or when you smoke and even if you never smoke in bed)
  • have recently drunk alcohol
  • have taken medication or drugs that make you sleep more heavily
  • feel very tired
  • are over weight
  • formula feed your baby
  • share the bed with older children or pets

NEVER sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair.

If you decide to share a bed with your baby:

  • The mattress on which you sleep should be reasonably firm
  • Keep your baby away from the pillows
  • Make sure your baby cannot fall out of bed or become trapped between the mattress and wall
  • Make sure your baby cannot get tangled in blind cords, dressing gown belt etc
  • Make sure the bedclothes cannot cover your baby’s face or head
  • Don’t leave your baby alone in the bed, as even very young babies can wriggle into a dangerous position
  • It is not safe to bed share in the early months if your baby was born very small or pre-term

A great resource is Caring for your baby at night. A guide for parents

A great website for further information is ISIS (Infant Sleep Information Source)

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