Reviewed by Kathy Empen on July 14, 2012


Kimberly D. Manning, MD. Professor of Medicine and Program Director, Transitional Year. Willis Hurst Internal Medicine Residency Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, Georgia. Steven P. Shelov, MD, MS, FAAP, Editor and Chief, and Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, FAAP, Associate Medical Editor, The Complete and Authoritative Guide for Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Birth to Age 5

© 2010 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

WebMD Archive

Video Transcript

: Lullaby music

Narrator: One of the great debates among new parents and practitioners: Where should baby sleep? Solo in a bassinet or crib – or in the family bed? You certainly can make the case for either choice. We’ll explore both options step by step.

Mom: Let’s lay down now

Narrator: The predominant trend in the United States – historically and to this day – has been for infants to sleep separately from the very start. Many parents find this the more practical approach to getting sounder sleep and maintaining some sense of solitude and privacy as a couple. There is also the premise that babies are safer sleeping on their backs in a crib than in the family bed. There is the risk of suffocation in the event an adult accidentally rolls over a baby – or loose, soft bedding gets dangerously in the way. On the other hand there are some advantages to co-sleeping. It’s done in most other cultures around the world, and proponents believe it solidifies early bonding and attachment. As many nursing mothers will attest, co-sleeping provides more rest and convenience, particularly in the early weeks when babies feed frequently. If you’re on the fence or find yourself going from crib to bed and back to bed again – you’re not alone. One solution for parents who want something in-between: small, portable cribs designed to fit right next to your bed for easy access – and eventual transition. But, do your research. Co-sleepers, as they are called, are not yet covered by safety regulations. So it’s up to you to make sure baby stays safe. Whatever the choice, it’s best to talk through what’s practical for everyone involved. Also, best to set a reasonable time table: it can take weeks, months, sometimes years to transition your child to sleeping solo once they have gotten the taste of togetherness.

Mom: Yeah, sweet girl.

Narrator: For WebMD, I’m Dr. Kimberly Manning.

Subscribe to the Pregnancy & Child Development Newsletter.

Get essential updates about your growing baby and what to expect each week.

Sign Up