Birth Centered Around You

Whether you choose to bed-share with your new baby or use a crib, safe sleep practices are important to keep your baby happy and safe as well as to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It is important for anyone who will be caring for your baby to know about safe sleep.

Regardless of whether you choose to bed share or use a crib, you should do the following to decrease the risk of SIDS.

  • Breastfeeding is strongly associated with a decreased risk of SIDS.1
  • Placing your baby on their back to sleep is strongly associated with a decreased risk of SIDS and accidental suffocation.1
  • Do not smoke during your pregnancy or after the baby is born. Do not allow anyone to smoke around your baby. Babies exposed to cigarette smoke are at a higher risk of SIDS.1


If you choose to bed-share, these are a few safety guidelines to make your bed as safe as possible:

  • Never leave your baby alone on an adult bed.
  • Do not bed-share if your baby was premature.
  • Never sleep on a couch, recliner, or water bed with your baby.
  • Use a firm mattress for bed-sharing (no pillow-tops or memory foam). Make sure all bedding fits snuggly on your mattress.
  • Avoid using fluffy blankets (duvets) and multiple pillows on your bed while sleeping with your baby.
  • Abstain from drugs, alcohol and smoking while sharing a bed with your baby. If you are overly tired or taking medication that makes you drowsy, it is best not to sleep with your baby.3
  • Only let your baby sleep in the same bed as their mom or dad, not other caretakers, family members, or pets.

If you choose to use a crib, these are a few safety issues to be aware of when using a crib or bassinet:

  • Make sure to use a firm mattress in the crib. Babies should always sleep on a firm surface.
  • Place your baby’s crib or bassinet in your room for the first six months. This will help with nighttime feedings and is associated with a decrease in SIDS risk.1
  • Do not put objects in the crib. This includes pillows, stuffed animals, bumper pads, blankets and toys. These increase the risk of accidental suffocation.
  • Do not let your baby overheat. Keep the room where your baby sleeps a comfortable temperature. Consider using infant sleep clothing, such as sleep sacks, that are designed to never cover a baby’s head.


Bed-sharing in the absence of risk factors is not associated with a higher risk of SIDS.2

Remember to give your baby plenty of supervised tummy time during the day!

1.  American Academy of Pediatrics (2011). SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. Pediatrics.
2.  Blair et al. (2014). Bed-Sharing in the Absence of Hazardous Circumstances: Is There a Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome? An Analysis from Two Case-Control Studies Conducted in the UK. PLoS ONE.
3.  Blair et al. (1999) Babies sleeping with parents: case-control study of factors influencing the risk of the sudden infant death syndrome. BMJ.