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Sleep and a New Baby
When you bring home a new baby, figuring out the sleeping arrangement is one of the first things you’ll do. After all, newborns sleep about eight hours a day and another eight hours at night—though not all at once (much to many tired parents dismay). As you explore sleeping options, it’s a good idea to learn why some parents choose to co-sleep and why others don’t. And why some doctors are split on the topic too.
But before we get too far, let’s level set: What’s right for your family, may not be right for another. No matter how you decide to put your baby to bed, we recommend consulting your child’s pediatrician for professional advice. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get right to it.
What is Co-Sleeping?
Co-sleeping, or bed sharing, is when a parent and child sleep in close social or physical contact—usually in the same bed. Co-sleeping is a not a new practice. It was the norm for centuries and in many societies and cultures is still widely practiced (though it may look a little different from country to country).
What Are the Benefits?
Join any co-sleeping forum or group and you’ll find first-hand accounts of how crucial co-sleeping is in building a strong bond. And research has also shown it can positively influence breathing patterns, heart rates, and brain waves.
Here are a few reasons why a parent may choose to co-sleep:
Increased physical and emotional connection
Convenience due to multiple nightly wakeups
Reducing stress and anxiety around sleeping
Limited space for a separate room or crib
Why is Co-Sleeping Controversial?
There is conflicting evidence around the safety of co-sleeping as well as the benefits. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAC) recommends sleeping in the same room—but not the same bed—until your baby is at least six months old.
According to the AAC, doing so may even decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent. It's obvious staying close to your baby is important. So, why won’t the AAC recommend co-sleeping? Unfortunately, it comes down to keeping your child as safe as possible.
How Do You Co-Sleep Safely?
If you’re interested in co-sleeping, here are a few general guidelines around how to make it safer. They include:
Removing soft objects and loose bedding like pillows and blankets.
Always placing your baby on their back to sleep and never placing them alone in an adult bed.
Never co-sleeping after consuming drugs, alcohol, or medications that make you drowsy.
Making sure your mattress fits your bed frame and checking for gaps and spaces your child could accidentally fall into.
Consider alternatives like a sidecar crib or portable bassinet to get some of the benefits of co-sleeping without the safety concerns.
Find the Best Sleep for Your Family
As a parent, you decide what’s best for your family, often in consultation with a pediatrician. No matter what you decide, Lucid is here to help you and your family sleep well—however you decide to do it.