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If You Decide to Bed Share - Unicef

If You Decide to Bed Share - Unicef

The following information is from the excellent resource, 'Caring for your Baby at Night' - UNICEF UK | BABY FRIENDLY INITIATIVE

If you decide to Bed Share

  • 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 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.

Some parents choose to sleep with their baby in bed and some fall asleep with their baby during the night while feeding and comforting whether they intend to or not. Therefore it is very important to consider the following points.

If you do decide to share a bed with your baby - BEWARE

  • It is not safe to bed-share in the early months if your baby was born very small or pre-term.

  • Do not sleep with your baby when you have been drinking any alcohol or taking drugs that may cause drowsiness (legal or illegal).

  • Do not sleep with your baby if you or anyone else is a smoker.

  • Do not put yourself in a position where you could doze off with your baby on a sofa or armchair.

What is happening tonight?

Having an alcoholic drink?

Don’t have your baby in your bed tonight as you will be less responsive than normal. It’s best to have another adult on hand to help with your baby if you have drunk alcohol or taken drugs that make you less aware than normal.  

Going on holiday or staying with family or friends?

Make sure your baby’s sleeping position is safe even when they are not at home: bed positions, mattresses and duvets may not be the same as at home.

Letting your partner sleep?

If you feed your baby in another room be aware that falling asleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair increases their risk of injury and sudden infant death.

Baby unwell?

It’s natural and important to keep your baby close to you if they are not well. Be careful not to overdress them or use too many covers, especially if they are running a temperature.


breastfeeding protects your baby against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and the more you breastfeed the greater the protection. Babies need to feed during the night so talk to your midwife or health visitor about feeding positions which help you rest and minimise risk to your baby.