Every country has a different rule regarding raising kids. While some experts and parents believe in co-sleeping with their kids, others are scared that they might suffocate or crush their baby if they share the same sleeping space. Those who believe in the former think that family beds strengthen relationships, simplify nursing, and increase cuddle time. On the other hand, the skeptics regard co-sleeping as something that increases the child’s dependency and the incidence of sleep disturbances.
The Different Side To The Story
To begin with, most parents struggle training an infant to sleep at night. Apparently, babies cannot for they are wired that way. Read more. Most American parents put their babies to sleep in a different room or bed on the assumption that they might harm the baby. Moreover, according to the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies can sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months to a year, but not in the same bed. This comes from the fear that a parent can accidently trap or suffocate the baby in bed covers, or get the baby stuck in the space available between the bed and the wall. There are other studies that have shown that co-sleeping has actually increased the incidences of SIDS, especially when the parents drink too much. The other finding showed that the nighttime waking of the baby, who is sleeping in the same room, had a negative effect on their parent’s happiness.
Irrespective of the guidelines set by the AAP, in many countries the parent-baby co-sleeping is well established. Parents of countries in Asia, Nigeria, Kenya, and Zambia think it is cruel to let your newborn sleep alone. So, should your baby sleep with you or not?
More Food For Thought
While some undeveloped countries do have a high infant mortality rate, there is no reason to think that is because of co-sleeping. In Japan, most parents sleep with their kids, and their mortality rates are less than that of the US.
In fact, some believe that co-sleeping is beneficial. Healthcare providers have found evidence of physiological synchronization between mother and infant when they sleep together, and when the mother breastfeeds them lying down. Calling it an ideal environment, some even think that co-sleeping helps the baby fall asleep easily, eventually improving their sleep cycle. In addition to all of this, parents who do not get to spend time with their babies during the daytime can reconnect when they are sleeping with them in the same bed.
There is ample research done on this that shows the benefits of co-sleeping outweighs most of the largely imaginary risks. So, why are we complicating infant care by putting the child in another room, disrupting their sleep patterns, and eventually getting frustrated about it all?
Having said that, there are certain disadvantages of your baby sleeping in the same bed other than the possible risk of suffocation. Sometimes, the infant might toss and turn, burp or wake up too many times, disturbing your sleep. Also, if you are super-attentive towards your child, you might actually end up caring for them rather than getting some rest.
The Co-sleeping, Bed Sharing Family
Now that we have established the benefits, here are two things that you should remember:
- Never sleep with your baby on a soft surface: This means no recliners, or couches and definitely no waterbeds. Suffocation is a serious danger in such situations.
- When there is a baby, no smoking or drinking: It is important to be a responsible parent. So, no smoking or drinking, if you share your bed space with your baby.
All said and done, it is perhaps important to realize that the best way to raise a child is not necessarily difficult, so you can ease up a bit for you are doing a fine job.