A lot of professionals will tell you not to co-sleep with your baby for fear of smothering them while sleeping. However, a lot of mothers and fathers are choosing to co-sleep with their little ones. There have been studies done that show that co-sleeping might actually provide benefits to both the parents and the baby when sharing this slumber time with one another. Though popular media demands that parents should never sleep with their baby, however research shows that co-sleeping is actually safer for your baby than having them sleep alone in a crib in another room.
Both mom and baby are able to sleep more peacefully when next to one another at night. These babies rarely cry throughout the night and if they do, spend less time doing so. Those babies that have to wake themselves fully up to cry in the night while away from the parents are more likely to have a long term sleep disruption or anxiety about sleeping alone at night.
Physiology is More Stable
Babies that sleep next to their parents show more stable body temperatures, regular heart beats and have fewer long pauses in their breathing than those that sleep alone. This makes the baby much safer than if they were not next to their parents during the night.
Decreases the Risks of SIDS
With research showing that SIDS rates are the lowest in countries where co-sleeping is normal among babies and parents, this leads us to believe that co-sleeping does, in fact reduce the chances of the baby dying from SIDS. Babies that sleep next to or in the bed with their parents have a fourfold decrease in the chance of dying from SIDS. This is due to the fact that the parent is right there to notice something wrong, babies spend more time on their sides or back while in bed with parents and the carbon dioxide inhaled by the sleeping infant from the parent actually works to help stimulate breathing in the baby.
Better Long Term Emotional Health
Babies that co-sleep grow up to have higher self esteem and self worth, less anxiety, more independence, better behaved and more comfortable with giving and receiving affection. They also have less psychiatric problems than those that are in cribs away from parents throughout the night. These infants also have a secure sense of being loved and less emotional problems due to not being cared for in a timely manner.
Beds Might Be Safe Than Cribs
The Consumer Product Safety Commission put on data that showed all of the infant fatalities that happen in adult beds. This data however, also showed that more than 3 times as many crib deaths also occurred. Another study that has recently been done showed that bed sharing did not actually increase the risks of SIDS happening unless the mother was an alcohol or drug abuser, or a regular smoker.
While co-sleeping might not be for everyone, it might be a great way to increase your awareness if you choose to co-sleep. Co-sleeping has many benefits that comes with it and can provide the child with a long lasting sense of love and security. Infants that sleep next to mom cry for less time, have a bond that is strong and gives the mom more rest during night time feedings than those that have to get up and go to the baby’s room to care for them then get back in bed. Co-sleeping can be a great way to get the bonding (and snuggles) that both mom and baby enjoy!
Ivy Norton is a mother of 3 and founder of mommasbaby.com. She’s a passionate mommy blogger and focuses on providing parenting news, tips and advice.