The family bed

  •  Use a large bed -- preferably a king-sized -- so there is plenty of room for everyone
  • Place a guard rail on the bed, or place the mattress on the floor instead of the bed frame
  • If the bed is against the wall, make sure there is not a crack between the wall and the mattress that the baby could get trapped in
  • Do not over wrap or bundle the baby
  • Put the baby between mother and the wall or guard rail, not between mother and father -- fathers are not usually as "in tune" with the baby as breast feeding mothers
  • Do not sleep with the baby on a couch, and be careful not to fall asleep if you are breast feeding the baby on a couch
  • Do not allow a young baby to sleep next to older siblings
  • Don't share your bed with a baby if:
    • You have been drinking or using recreational drugs
    • You have taken any medication that affects your arousability from sleep
    • You are extremely obese
    • The bed is a water bed
    • The bed is too small for the number of people in it
    • You are afraid that you might not be aware of the baby when you are asleep

In cases where having the baby in bed would be unwise, the answer might be a sidecar arrangement (a crib with one side removed pushed against the bed, with the mattresses at the same level and a blanket covering the crack). Or, the baby could sleep in a bassinet beside the bed, or in a crib in the parents' room. This allows for many of the advantages of the family bed, without taking unnecessary risks.

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