You are in your last trimester, it is time to set up your nursery and like every well-meaning parent you decide to turn to expert advice on how all this should be done: Google. Ever reliable Google then decides to churn out a zillion forums, parenting websites, blogs (including mine) at you. After ploughing through numerous articles, those of us who have decided not to kill ourselves yet, then proceed to ponder at 4am about where our newborn should sleep. I mean, it is a tiny human weighing about 3 kg and measuring about 50cm. The baby could sleep anywhere! Aha! That’s where you newbies stumble. Fret not, you are about to receive life changing newborn sleeping arrangement advice from an experienced mother – me.
Option 1: Baby sleeps in an out-of-a-magazine looking nursery with a 3000 dollar cot with a baby monitor.
You have meticulously planned every detail of this pregnancy. You are financially well-settled, you have decided to spend every ounce of energy and every dollar on your precious little baby. Great. So you head out there and get the latest ergonomically structured, anti-dust mite, anti-spider, anti-cockroach, memory foam, light rocking motion inducing, white noise spouting and with whatever other function baby cot out there. Given that you are also an extremely cautious parent you buy a motion sensing, oxygen-level calibrating, diaper weight weighing baby monitor to go with it. There could be nothing safer than this arrangement, could there? Wait. What if that 500 dollar Scandinavian cot mobile drops on your baby’s head? What if your baby is traumatised by the particular white noise that your cot is playing now while you are sound asleep? Will that make him throw tantrums at 5? or murder people at 15? What if your baby monitor fails? Remember that family you read about in the papers? Thermostat was faulty and the baby got fried because they forgot to charge the batteries for the baby monitor. Now, that fancy cot in the nursery does not seem like a fantastic idea does it?
Not to worry, there is always option 2
Option 2: Co-sleeping with the baby on the bed right next to you and your partner
Now picture that perfect image of a gorgeous baby sleeping in between the both of you. Both of your masterpiece-perfection. Awww. Perhaps she will hold your finger as she sleeps peacefully. Your hair will cascade onto the bamboo cotton pillow. What? did you say pillow? What if you kick that pillow onto your newborn’s face in the middle of the night? SIDS! What if your partner rolls over your baby? SIDS! What if a gust of wind blows the duvet on to your infant’s face? SIDS! Do not worry, there are wonderful products in the market that slightly elevate the infant, so that she can sleep safely and yet be close to you. Except, that elevated structure might collapse or topple, trapping her in between. SIDS! Assuming you survive this minefield of co-sleeping on the same bed, there is always a possibility that she will not go to college or move out despite being 35 because of unnatural parental attachment.
Don’t lose hope, let’s move on to option 3
Option 3: Co-sleeping in the same room with baby in a separate cot
Life is all about finding that perfect balance. You can’t have the baby in another room neither can you have them right beside you, so why not have them in the same room sleeping in a cot or crib right next to you? No temperature and baby monitor issues. No chances of you rolling and squashing your child. They will be independent, yet you are within arm’s reach to provide comfort. This is all true, provided that the mattress fits exactly such that your baby’s head does not get stuck between the cot and mattress. Also, did you check whether the cot slats are less than 6cm apart? You did not?! What do you mean? Do you want your baby to slip through in the middle of the night? While you are checking the slat gaps, did you also check whether the removable side of the cot is well-secured? Who cares if you just bought it, bring out the screwdriver and secure it. Did you swaddle your baby so that he is comfortable? No way! His comfort is not the priority here. He will kick off the blanket and it is going to land on his face.
Take a deep breath now, there is an option 4
Option 4: Watch your baby sleep
Having a baby is a life-changing, character building, relationship strengthening process. As a part of this nurturing process, you can choose to put your baby on the floor with no loose cloth or fittings within a radius of 100m and then watch her as she sleeps. Of course take turns with your partner. It is part of the relationship strengthening process. While you watch her, please make sure not to put your face too close because you might doze off and kill her with your head. It would also be irresponsible of you to take a quick nap on the couch nearby because if the fire alarm goes off at that precise moment, you might be disoriented and end up trampling on your sleeping baby. Of course, do not forget the risk of collapsing ceilings.
Don’t cry, there is an option 5
Option 5: Safest and recommended by every paediatric association
DO NOT HAVE A BABY.
On a side note, my mother still has no clue what SIDS is. I am 30, my sister is 23 and both of us are very much alive.