Many new parents take extra steps to ensure that what they are doing for their baby is safe or smart. One of the most common concerns among parents is whether or not co-sleeping is a good idea.
There are many mixed opinions on this subject all over the internet, leaving parents unsure of what to believe. Co-sleeping has become a popular parenting practice in order to increase the bond between the baby and the parents. However, many pediatricians report that you should not co-sleep due to increased risks of SIDS. However, many of the concerns also depend on how a parent co-sleeps with their child.
Ultimately, you’re the parent, and you get to decide what you think is best for your baby. We have provided the truths and the myths of co-sleeping, so you can get a full perspective on this matter:
What Is Co-Sleeping?
There are actually a few different ways to define co-sleeping. Many assume that co-sleeping means bed sharing, or more specifically sharing your bed with your baby. However, while that is one form of co-sleeping, it can also mean simply putting your baby to sleep in the same room as you but in their own bed.
All the scary statistics about SIDS and co-sleeping are only true regarding the first type of co-sleeping: where the parent or guardian places the baby directly into their own bed with them.
Myth: Co-sleeping Is Always Dangerous
Some might say that a baby sharing the bed with their parents is completely dangerous and should never happen. Most doctors even say don’t do it because it can cause SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
What some people don’t fully understand is that you can still co-sleep and get all the benefits, but with a separate bed. In this case, it does not have to be dangerous at all. Think of this as your happy medium – co-sleeping doesn’t always have to be seen as a negative thing. In fact, co-sleeping with a separate bed has been encouraged by the most current AAP recommendations. They are encouraging new parents to share a room with their baby for about 6 months to a year. Having your baby nearby during sleep actually decreases the risk of SIDS by 50 percent.
Myth: Light-Sleepers Are the Only Ones Who Can Bed Share
You might try and convince yourself that you’re a light sleeper, so it’s okay to share a bed with your baby. Not true!
There are always going to be days where you are far more exhausted than usual, and you fall into a deep sleep. On a side note being a mom is exhausting as it is, and you risk being constantly deprived of the sleep you need by worrying about harming your baby while sleeping if you place her in your bed.
Do your baby and yourself a favor by placing her in a crib nearby, so you both can have rest. You can still place her crib next to your bed, so you can easily check on and soothe her in the night. There are even co-sleeping cots that allow one side of the crib to lower and attach to your bed so that your baby has her own sleeping space while still being within arms reach for easy soothing and even nursing.
Myth: Nothing Bad Will Happen If You Try Bed Sharing Just Once
This is the biggest lie when it comes to co-sleeping. You often think “nothing will happen if I just do it one time,” but you couldn’t be more wrong. All it takes is one time of rolling on your baby, or her getting caught in your blankets, or rolling off the side. It is not worth the risk.
To help put this into perspective for you, a recent study of infant deaths revealed that 69 percent of babies who died were sharing a bed at the time of their death.
Fact: Co-Sleeping Boosts a Baby’s Development
Sharing your room with your baby is proven to help develop their senses. Babies need help learning how to respond to things like smells, sounds and movements. They also can hear and sense their parents breathing and movement, which has a calming effect and actually helps their own breathing and hear beat regulate – something that is very important for newborns up to 6 months of age, as these are the babies most at risk for SIDS.
Closing your baby alone in a room doesn’t help develop the important sensory distinctions and is actually more likely to result in SIDS.
Fact: Co-sleeping Won’t Affect Bedroom Romance
Sleeping with the baby in your bedroom is actually said to help improve the baby’s sleeping patterns. Good sleep for the baby means good sleep for the parents. When you’re not sleep deprived, then there will be no damper on the romance of your relationship with your partner. Having enough rest always provides more energy for other things.
For more information on co-sleeping, read about the 5 Ways Co-Sleeping Improves Your Child’s Health