Co-sleeping baby Benefits?

This is a much debated topic. There’s lots of health bodies and professionals who claim that co-sleeping is actually dangerous for babies as it supposedly increases SIDS (sudden infant deaths). Yet there’s more and more studies emerging that with proper advice and following safety and precautionary steps, it has no increase in SIDS but an increase of good factors like attachment and bonding.

Some mothers apparently have been told off by health visitors for wanting to co-sleep or co-sleeping already (I’ve been through that with one HV as she insisted so much, I was left upset once but I did what was best for me and baby and continued co-sleeping) and some did the wrong choice of going to the couch/sofa and fall asleep there. Don’t do it! That is even more dangerous than sleeping with your baby in the same bed!!

There’s been cases of death because of parents and carers falling asleep on the couch and the baby fell on the side, got trapped and suffocated. It’s really something horrible to happen so please, if you want to sleep so badly, place the baby safely in the cot, Moses basket or even in the pram, if you can call a close friend or relative to help you to look after baby while you rest.

Let me tell you the co-sleeping baby benefits found in new research, but first lets bring out some things to consider before you decide to co-sleep with your little one.

It’s not for everybody

Despite the many good things co-sleeping carries (provided is done within a safely manner) there’s a few exceptions which follows:

  • Premature babies (born before the 37 week mark)
  • Low birth weight (less than 2.5kg)
  • You and/or your partner smokes, drinks alcohol, and/or takes drugs (also including medicine with drowsy effects)
  • Baby has an illness that doesn’t allow co-sleeping
  • You and/or your partner are extremely exhausted (to the point that you don’t wake up easily if there’s a sudden loud noise or movement)
  • Do not let your other older children sleep in the same bed as your baby’s
  • Make sure nothing loose can get on baby’s face and suffocate him or strangle him (tie up your hair if it’s long, do not wear any jewelry at bed if possible (plain wedding ring should be fine) that might scratch your baby, do not let baby sleep with a bib on either.

Things to consider before

Although I mentioned in the section before about the exceptions, here’s a few things to consider when you want to co-sleep with your baby:

  • Make sure baby won’t fall out of bed or potentially can become trapped between the mattress or bed and the wall or any hard surface.
  • Don’t cover your baby with your duvet as they aren’t developed enough to regulate their own body temperature, instead put them in baby sleeping sack/bag, or sheets or blankets (covering her up to her chest and under arms)
  • Babies younger than a year old don’t need pillows so avoid pillows near them to avoid suffocation
  • It’s best to have a perfect room temperature of 18-20° rather than covering your baby with thick clothing (babies tend to cling very close to you so your own warmth is added, if you cover them with very thick clothing or blankets you risk overheating them)

The Cons

And now the Cons that might put you off but also some/all might not happen :

  • Baby loves it so much that the older he/she gets the harder to move him/her to sleep in own cot or bedroom
  • Baby movements during sleep might wake you or partner up, also viceversa
  • Because of worrying to squash baby you keep moving away from her and end up the one squashed against the wall or on the floor or against the adjacent furniture! (it happens to me all the time)
  • If the above happens, your back and hips and/or neck will suffer and you won’t sleep very well.
  • Long term bad posture or posture which you are not used to (as the one they recommend with co-sleeping) will lead to muscle pains, muscle tension and discomfort.
  • You and/or partner potentially will become irritated the day after if you don’t sleep well because of baby.
  • It puts off sex having your baby sleeping in the same bed
  • Partner might become/end up resentful as baby is getting all the cuddles and kisses and interfering with sex life
  • You might end up loving it too much and become dependent (yes it can happen, I know someone who has a child who slept up to his early teenager years in her bed and avoided sleepovers because both mother and child didn’t want to sleep away from each other!)

Positive studies about co-sleeping

Recent studies show that actually co-sleeping safely reduces SIDS (Sudden Infant Deaths) for up to a 50%, also it’s beneficial in terms of positive attachment and bonding.

Newborn babies rely on proximity with their carer (mostly with their mother) as they need reassurance since they don’t understand the world around them yet.

Mental Health Foundation claims “Healthy attachment significantly affects brain development, helping babies grow more neural pathways.”

While non co-sleeping babies also can develop healthy attachments, bed sharing provides a closeness not only when baby is awake but while sleeping, it’s instant reassurance as they can smell their mum, feel her warmth, hear her and also they can get breastfeed much quickly and without much interruption.

My experience

I hope I haven’t put you off so much that now you don’t even want to consider co-sleeping! It’s not that bad, it can be hard yes, but it benefited to me and baby (and sometimes hubby!) in the way it made us be closer, I’ve noticed Bee is becoming more cuddly and although he loves crawling around exploring and has an independent spirit, he looks for us making sure we are still there. We bonded so much and it assured me my little boy was breathing properly, safe and well beside me. I think I’ll have a hard time when the time comes that he has to sleep in his own bedroom (within this year as he’s one year now!) as I worry a bit too much sometimes. He’s very social and loves being with people, with mummy and daddy the most, so I’m sure he won’t like it much. We’ll have to do it slowly and reassuring him that we are there any time he needs us.

Conclusion

There’s no right or wrong as long as you choose safety first and what is the best for baby and for you. Talk to your partner first and see what is best for all and work around it. For me being close to baby and making sure he’s fine is the most important, even though I sacrificed quite much comfort and a proper good night’s rest but I’m fine with it and my Daddy seems to be (still) fine at the moment.

For more information you might be interested on UNICEF’s bed-sharing studies and Kellymom’s guide for co-sleeping

 

With light and joy,

 

 

 

 

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