Even if you have a well-designed nursery and a beautiful crib, it can be tough to decide where your baby will sleep. Should you put her in her crib right away or use a bassinet or side sleeper to keep her close? Or do you plan on letting your baby sleep with you in your bed? Although you will have to decide what is best for your baby, you should avoid letting your baby get used to sleeping in a bouncy chair, moving swing, or car seat. Although all of these can be acceptable options, especially if it is hard to get your baby to sleep any other way, your baby may become dependent on them, and have a hard time moving to a crib later on.
Bassinet or Crib?
Your baby can start off in a crib, or you can first use a bassinet and then have her graduate to a crib once she outgrows her bassinet or is sleeping for longer stretches at a time. In the first few weeks and months it can be easiest to keep your baby nearby in a bassinet, because she frequently wakes up to eat. That way, you can wake up, get her fed, and then put her right back to sleep. Even if your baby wakes up frequently, this can help everyone quickly get back to sleep and still get some rest through the night.
In addition to figuring whether to use a crib or bassinet, parents of multiples also must decide if they want to let their babies sleep separately or together. Many opt to let their multiples sleep together in a bassinet or crib for at least their first few months and then separate them later on.
The main downside to having your baby nearby is that it may cause you to wake up every time that she stirs or wakes up briefly, even if it isn't a full awakening that requires your attention. That closeness does offer some reassurance, though, for many parents who worry about their younger baby through the night.
A bassinet is also a lot cozier than a crib will be for your newborn baby. On the other hand, starting her off in a crib does save you the expense of buying a bassinet, and if swaddled, she will likely feel just as cozy and comfortable in a crib.
The Family Bed
Having your baby sleep in bed with you is a controversial way to put your baby to sleep. Although advocates praise the benefits of a family bed, other people question how safe it is and say that it may increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are against co-sleeping, there are many other experts who highly recommend the practice. Most notable of these experts is the respected pediatrician and author Dr. William Sears.
If you do choose to share your bed with your baby, be sure to keep the bed safe, so that your baby can't roll off or get smothered by pillows and soft bedding and can't get trapped between the bed and a wall or headboard. Safer co-sleeping means using bedding that fits tightly on the mattress, avoiding pillows and soft blankets, and making sure that there is no room between the bed and the wall. A bedside sleeper or co-sleeper right next to your bed can be a safe way to get all of the benefits of having your baby sleep very close to you.