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What's the deal with co-sleeping?

Sleep   |   Age: 4 weeks 4 days


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What's the deal with co-sleeping?

Co-sleeping is one of the many nighttime parenting techniques that you and your partner can choose from to help your baby develop healthy sleep patterns. When they co-sleep, a parent and child sleep within a sensory distance of each other, which means that they can touch, see, and smell each other. The two forms of co-sleeping are room-sharing and bed-sharing.

When room-sharing, parents keep a crib, bassinet, or other child's bed in their room, often near their bed. Room-sharing is fairly common, especially early on in a baby's life, when night-time feedings need to be frequent.

When bed-sharing, on the other hand, parents share their bed with their baby; however, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against bed sharing, since there are major concerns about accidental injury to the baby when parents are asleep, including suffocation and death. Bed-sharing is common in many non-Western cultures, where infant death rates, especially from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), are low. However, other cultural differences could have an impact on these results.

Co-sleeping is a topic with many points of view, and it has both benefits and drawbacks, but ultimately you and your family must decide what sleep style is best for you and your baby.

Pros:

  • Helps some babies sleep more easily
  • May strengthen the bond between parent and child
  • Makes nighttime breastfeeding easier
  • Lengthens babies’ nighttime sleep
  • Syncs mothers’ sleep cycles with their babies’ patterns

Cons:

  • For babies who bedshare, there's an increased risk of suffocation and SIDS
  • Decreased chances for intimacy with your partner
  • Possible attachment issues
  • Difficult transition to bed later in childhood

Again, a variety of U.S. medical groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, warn against placing infants in adult beds and bed-sharing. Doctors do, however, recommend room-sharing, however, as this reduces the risk of SIDS in infants, so long as they are safely in their own space.


Sources

  • “Bed-Sharing.” March of Dimes. March of Dimes, October 2016. Web.
  • “Bed Sharing Remains Greatest Risk Factor for Sleep-Related Infant Death.”  American Academy of Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics, July 14 2014. Web.
  • “Co-Sleeping: What’s best for you and your child?” Zero to Three. ZERO TO THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, February 29 2016. Web.
  • “Co-Sleeping: Yes, No, Sometimes?” AskDrSears. AskDrSears.com. Web.
  • “Safe Cosleeping Guidelines.” Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory, University of Notre Dame. University of Notre Dame. Web.
  • “SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment.” Pediatrics. 128(5). Web. November 2011.

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