There is a lot of confusing information out there about the controversial topic of co sleeping. Passionate advocates will say it’s the best and most natural way to sleep with a baby. Passionate adversaries cite SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) statistics and say it’s not worth the risk. How and where your infant sleeps is a personal lifestyle decision, but we can offer you a few tips on how to co sleep as safely as possible.

According to The University of Notre Dame, a healthy, breastfeeding child is an ideal candidate for co sleeping. Parents should not be taking sedatives before bed, and it’s recommended that the infant sleep on the mother’s side, not between the adults. Clean sheets and minimal pillows are suggested and the baby should not use a pillow at all, nor should her head be covered. Large or abundant stuffed toys are also a no-no. The mattress should be supportive and not deeply pillow-topped, and light blankets rather than bulky duvets are encouraged. Parents are urged by the article to remember that adult bedding is not designed to be infant-friendly and take every consideration into account before co sleeping.

Other common-sense considerations are that the parents have a regular sleep schedule that accommodates the much-longer, yet more interrupted, sleep cycle of an infant, That light and sound be minimal (no late night TV), and that no one’s snoring too loudly. If breastfeeding, the mother will need to be okay with taking on all the middle-of-the-night feedings, but it is easier to do when no one has to get up and heat a bottle.

SIDS is still a little-understood phenomenon of infancy. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) say it is the third leading cause of infant mortality overall in the U.S. No one knows what causes it, and it does not seem to matter if the child was co sleeping or independently sleeping.