Do you want to bed-share with your baby? This article will help you find the best mattresses for bed-sharing with a baby keeping their sleep safety in mind.
Whether you had planned to bed-share when you were pregnant or recently decided to co-sleep because your baby does not sleep in their bassinet or crib or want to make your breastfeeding at midnight life easy, there is nothing wrong in doing so.
I have co-slept or bed-share with both my babies in the safest possible way for the first few months of their life to make our breastfeeding life easy.
Yes, bed-sharing is a controversial topic among parents. Many parents wouldn’t do it because of the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) associated with bed-sharing. While those who have strong motivation to breastfeed frequently bed-share with their babies.
Even when they don’t say it out loud, sleep-deprived parents have fallen asleep on a sofa with a baby in their arms or in bed after breastfeeding out of sheer exhaustion.
Here is what Sarah Ockwell-Smith told Dailymail about a study she conducted of 600 parents and their sleeping habits with a newborn.
“46% parents hadn’t admitted to sharing a bed with their newborns to a GP, midwife or health visitor about co-sleeping for fear of being judged.”
So, co-sleeping or bed-sharing is what most parents have done intentionally or unintentionally during the first few months of their baby’s life.
Actually, co-sleeping or bed-sharing is safe if done right. And safe bed-sharing or co-sleeping starts with a good non-toxic, firm mattress.
This article is your one-stop guide on how to safely bed-share with your baby and the best mattresses for bed-sharing with a baby.
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Bed-Sharing with a Baby – Is it Safe?
For ages, babies and mothers have slept together by sharing a sleeping surface. However, sleep safety while sharing a bed depends on several factors.
First of all, western-style bed arrangements with pillows, blankets, loose beddings, the height of the bed, the gap between headboard and mattress, and the firmness of the mattress are not safe for bed-sharing with a baby.
On the other hand, people’s sleeping habits, for example, baby getting smothered by mom or dad accidentally rolling onto or partway onto their infants (1).
Most healthcare professionals and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend against bed-sharing with babies under 20 weeks old because of the increased risk of SIDS.
The AAP does not recommend bedsharing in the following circumstances:
- The baby is less than 4-month-old
- Premature baby
- You smoked during pregnancy
- You are a smoker
- Consumption of alcohol, drug or medication that make waking up difficult
- The mattress of the bed is not firm
- Loose bedding where baby sleeps
Dangerous sleeping surface for babies includes sofas, waterbeds, and chairs. The study published in 2005 analyzed the SIDS cases in Scotland and found that the risk of mortality increased by 60-fold by co-sleeping with babies on sofas (2). Compared to sofas, planned bed-sharing can be less hazardous.
So, is it safe to bed-share with a baby?
The answer depends on your bed-sharing arrangement. First, you can avoid the most known hazard associated with bed-sharing and make it a pleasant experience for both of you. Otherwise, many parents opt for beside bassinets that attach to the bed. The bedside bassinet will provide a separate space for your baby to sleep on while still being closer to you.
How to make Bed-Sharing Safe for Baby?
While most healthcare organizations advise against bed-sharing with a newborn, bed-sharing with a safe sleep surface, a healthy baby, and non-smoking parents pose less hazard.
I also have to find studies demonstrating that keeping a baby in a crib is less hazardous than bed-sharing in a possibly safe sleeping arrangement.
Let’s look at the tips on how to make bed-sharing safe for a baby.
- The mattress should be firm.
- A mattress should be free from toxic chemicals if you don’t want the baby to breathe in toxic chemicals off-gassing from a conventional mattress.
- There should be no gap between the mattress and headboard, footboard, or railing. Or no headboard, footboard, or railing attached to the bed at all.
- Nothing loose on a bed that could get the baby tangled.
- A baby should be placed on their back to sleep.
- No loose blanket, beddings, comforter, or pillow near the baby.
- Comfortable room temperature to prevent overheating.
- A baby should be dressed appropriately depending on the temperature of the room.
- You may think that it is safer for a baby to sleep in the middle of the bed so they don’t fall off the bed, but this sleeping situation increases the risk of being rolled on by a dad.
- The baby should be kept on one side of the bed, significantly away from the bed edge.
- Bed-sharing is much safer when the mom is only sharing a bed with a baby. That is what we did with both our babies. Dad was temporarily moved to the guest room.
- If mom has long hair, she should tie it back and not wear a nightdress with anything dangling to avoid the potential risk of choking.
- The mother should be a non-smoker and non-alcoholic or not under the influence of any drug.
So, eliminating the known hazards from the sleep environment will reduce the risk of SIDS in a baby.
How to Choose a Mattress for Bed-sharing with a Baby
Here are the points you need to consider when choosing a mattress for safe bed-sharing with a baby.
The sleep safety guideline of AAP suggests a firm sleep surface for babies to sleep on. So, the mattress should be firm and not indent when the baby is lying on it.
Soft and fluffy mattress surfaces could cause a potential suffocation hazard. You need a mattress that is firm enough to keep its shape. Organic cotton or wool mattresses are better than memory foam mattresses, which tend to sink and off-gas toxic chemicals in a sleeping environment.
Size of the mattress
There are several things to consider when picking out a mattress for bed-sharing. First, if you plan to bed-share with your baby, you need a larger mattress.
If only mom and baby are bed-sharing, the full-size mattress should work for you. Without the first baby, I shared (without dad) a queen-size mattress with my newborn to make sure that the baby had enough space in the bed. But you can make it work in a full-size mattress, too, if only two of you are bed-sharing.
But when mom and dad are bed-sharing with a baby, you might need a king-size mattress to ensure enough distance between the baby and the parents if your baby is sleeping in the middle or on one side of the bed.
Chemicals to avoid in a Mattress
Most conventional mattresses are loaded with toxic chemicals. Considering the time your baby will spend in your bed (10-18 hrs/day), you need to avoid mattresses made of polyurethane foam, vinyl/plastic, memory foam, or synthetic foam.
Mattresses made of polyurethane foam, memory foam, and soy foam off-gas toxic chemicals, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The heat generated while sleeping on a mattress and prolonged contact with the mattress surface leads to increased VOCs emission from the mattress.
And because babies inhale increased air volume compared to adults, they are more vulnerable to the toxic effect of VOCs.
To pass the US federal open fire flammability testing requirement, the manufacturer uses chemical flame retardants in a polyurethane foam mattress, which is highly flammable.
These flame retardant chemicals are highly toxic and have been linked to causing cancer, reproductive toxicity, thyroid disruption, lower IQ, advanced puberty, and reduced fertility.
PFSA is a synthetic chemical used in the making of mattresses for its water or grease-proof properties. PFSAs and other plastic are forever chemicals and highly persistent in the environment and your body. Once they are in your body, they stay there forever.
PFSA exposure has been linked to obesity, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, and cancer.
Vinyl/Plastic is used for its water-resistant properties. They are used for making mattresses waterproof. They also contain phthalate and heavy metals. They are also known to release harmful chemicals that are liked to causing birth defects, endocrine disruption, and cancer.
Certification to look for in a mattress
Greengurad Gold certified mattresses are tested for emission of harmful VOCs, other additives and ensures that mattresses emit a low level of VOCs. In addition, GOTS and GOLS certified mattresses ensure that textile and latex used during the manufacturing process are organic and not treated with harmful chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, and hormone disruption.
Also, be aware of greenwashing. For example, many manufacturers would claim that their product is GOTS or GOLS certified. Still, in reality, only part of the product is GOTS certified, and the rest of it is loaded with toxic material.
6 Best Non-Toxic Mattresses for Bed-Sharing with a Baby
When choosing a mattress for bed-sharing, you want to make sure that the mattress is firm and free from toxic chemicals. Here are the best non-toxic mattresses for bed-sharing with a baby.
1. Naturepedic Serenade adult mattress
Naturepedic mattresses are my first choice whether you are looking for a non-toxic crib mattress or adult mattress. These mattresses are Greenguard Gold, GOTS, and MADE SAFE certified and made in the USA.
Naturepedic Serenade adult mattress consists of GOTS certified organic cotton, organic wool batting, organic latex, food-grade PLA, and supportive encased coils.
The layer of organic latex contours your body while sleeping to provide much-needed comfort for a good night’s sleep. At the same time, the layer of encased coils provides strong support and firmness.
The Serenade is available in two firmness options: Firm and Cushion-firm. Both firmness options will not let you sink deeply into the mattress as the mattress is constructed from organic latex. Also, latex is quite breathable, so even when babies start sleeping on their stomachs (around 3-4 months), they will be able to breathe through the mattresses comfortably.
Naturepedic Serenade adult mattress is free from polyurethane foam, flame-retardants, latex, soy, vinyl/PVC, formaldehyde, phthalates, flame retardant, antibacterial treatment, glue, and GMOs.
When we opened our adult Naturepedic mattress, it had a mild mattress odor. We let the mattress sit in a garage for a week, and the smell was dissipated quickly. I highly recommend getting a mattress well before the baby’s arrival, so you have enough time to air out the mattress.
The mattress comes with a risk-free 90-day money-back guarantee and 20 years limited warranty if you purchase directly from Naturepedic.
For my readers, I have arranged a special 15% discount on any Naturepedic mattress using code empiricalmama15. So don’t forget to use code empiricalmama15 at checkout.
Plushbeds is another non-toxic brand to consider for an adult mattress for bed-sharing with a baby. Their mattresses are Greenguard Gold, GOTS, GOLS, OEKO-TEX certified and made in California.
From Plushbeds organic and natural mattress collection, the Botanical Bliss and the Natural Bliss are the best options to consider. The Botanical Bliss is handcrafted in the USA and made of GOLS certified organic late, GOTS certified organic cotton, and GOTS certified organic wool. The wool is naturally fire-resistant and mold/mildew resistant. It is also a thermoregulator, great for protecting your body from overheating.
The Natural Bliss mattress is handcrafted and made with 100% natural latex without added synthetics and chemicals. The latex is encased in a GOTS certified organic cotton cover. The Natural Bliss is an excellent option for those allergic to wool as it is hypoallergenic, vegan, wool-free, and animal-free. In addition, to meet the federal flammability requirement, they use patented natural plant fiber, which is ethically grown without pesticides or added chemicals.
Plushbeds come with a 100-night free trial, 25 years manufacturer warranty, and free shipping.
3. My Green Mattress
My Green Mattress is made in USA non-toxic option to consider for a firm mattress for co-sleeping. This manufacture’s adult and crib mattresses are Greenguard Gold, GOTS and GOLS certified, meets CPSC requirements, eco-friendly, sustainable, and California Prop 65 compliant.
Natural Escape adult mattress has handcrafted pocketed coil springs throughout the mattress, which is great for enhanced lumbar support and edge support. Firm edge support is particularly important when you are bed-sharing with a baby, as you will end up sleeping on the edge of the mattress most of the night.
The other material used in the making of mattress includes GOLS certified organic Dunlop latex (which provide firmness and density to the mattress), GOTS certified organic cotton and organic wool. In addition, all the layers of this mattress are button tufted together, eliminating toxic adhesive during the manufacturing process.
Although this mattress is medium-firm density, it is still firm enough for babies to sleep with proper lumbar support and comfort.
The mattress comes with a 120-night risk-free trial, 20-year limited warranty, and free shipping.
4. Green Cradle Organic Mattresses
If you are looking for a truly non-toxic mattress for bed-sharing with a baby, Green Cradle is hands down the best manufacturer out there. Green Cradle mattresses are Greengurad Gold, GOTS, GOLS certified, eco-friendly, and made in the USA.
Their mattresses are made with 3 simple organic ingredients. The outer mattress layer is quilted with two certified organic cotton layers, and the middle part is filled with GOTS certified organic wool (a natural fire retardant). The mattress support core is made of stainless steel spring or GOLS certified organic rubber latex.
The quality of their adult mattress, crib mattress, or solid wood furniture is top-notch, which explains the higher price tag of their products.
All of their adult mattresses are available in soft, medium, and firm densities. Unfortunately, the adult Green Cradle mattresses come with a limited 20 years warranty and do not have a free trial of their mattress, so you are stuck with it once you buy it.
5. Avocado Green Mattress
Avocado offers non-toxic adult mattresses that are great for co-sleeping. Avocado mattresses are handmade in California, USA. Avocado mattresses are Greenguard Gold certified, GOTS, GOLS, and Okeo-Tex certified.
The Avocado Green Mattress is made of 100% GOLS certified latex and GOTS certified cotton and wool and innerspring for firmness. The mattress is free from polyester, polyurethane foam, flame retardants, glue, or adhesive.
These eco-friendly mattresses are also MadeSafe certified and do not contain chemicals that harm humans, animals, and aquatic life.
Avocado mattress comes with a unique 1-year trial period and 25-year limit warranty.
In addition, Avocado gives a generous one-year trial period so you can be sure you love your mattress. Check price here.
6. Soaring Heart
Soaring Heart mattresses are GOTS, GOLS certified, and made in Washington, USA. Their mattresses are free from toxic chemicals and fire retardants.
Soaring Heart offers a variety of organic and natural mattresses at varying prices. The Zoned Organic Latex Mattress is uniquely designed to provide an individual sleeping experience. It is made of five firmness zones: soft, firm, extra firm, firm, and soft lengthwise to support your back in proper alignment and comfort the head and other parts of the body.
This mattress is great for bed-sharing with a baby, as the middle part of the bed is extra firm. The mattress provides the comfort you need while recovering postpartum and provides a firm surface for your baby to sleep on.
The GOLS-certified zoned latex is encased in a GOTS-certified organic cotton/wool blend.
Soaring Heart provides a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 20-year warranty on any mattress purchased.
Do I need a Waterproof Mattress Cover for Bed-Sharing?
Babies are known for their messy habits. So whether it is a spit-up or spill, or a diaper blowout in the middle of the night, you need a waterproof mattress cover or pad that can withstand wetness and protect your expensive mattress.
Most adult mattresses are not waterproof, so you need to add a mattress pad if you are planning to co-sleep. Finding a good mattress pad is also important because you don’t want it to be too soft and fluffy (a suffocation hazard) or made of material that off-gasses toxic chemicals (no memory foam mattress pad).
Naturepedic waterproof mattress protector or pad comprises two layers of organic cotton jersey on top and bottom and ultra-thin GOTS certified waterproof barrier in the center. The unique design prevents water from penetrating through the pad.
Naturepedic mattress pad is free from toxic waterproofing materials such as vinyl/PVC, phthalate, PFCs, and butane rubber. It is also machine washable. You might want to get two mattress pads to replace one when the other one is getting cleaned.
Best Non-toxic Mattresses for Bed-sharing with a Baby – Conclusion
Bed-sharing is a personal choice, and not everyone feels safe sharing a bed with their baby. However, if you are one of those strong breastfeeding intended moms, safe bed-sharing with a non-toxic and firm mattress is the way to go. I hope this article helped you find a safe mattress for bed-sharing with a baby.
If you have any questions about non-toxic mattresses for bed-sharing, let us know in a comment below.
Have a safe Bed-sharing!
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Ateah CA and Hamelin KJ. 2008. Maternal bedsharing practices, experiences, and awareness of risks. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 37(3):274-81.
Tappin D, Ecob R, and Brooke H. 2005. Bedsharing, roomsharing, and sudden infant death syndrome in Scotland: a case-control study. J Pediatr. 147(1):32-7.
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