Conclusion What is Co-Sleeping? Co-sleeping is the practice of sleeping in close proximity to your baby, whether they are in your bed or their own cot. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence NICE released guidelines which state that although SIDS is rare, it is more likely to occur when the parent or carer sleeps with the baby — whether this be in bed, on a chair, lying down or sitting up. The official recommendation is that you should sleep in the same room as your infant, but never in the same bed.
Bed-sharing is a natural temptation for new parents, who want to easily breastfeed, with quick and easy reach for comforting an unsettled baby when you are exhausted in the middle of the night. It seems an attractive prospect to keep your baby so close all the time: We know that SIDS is a terrifying prospect among parents.
We understand why many put the avoidance of all risk above their natural instinct, which is to keep their baby close. We know parents are constantly reminded of the dangers of SIDS: But this is why we are passionate about parents knowing there is a middle ground! Both parent and baby get the best quality sleep knowing that the other is just centimetres away.
They enjoy a whole host of other psychological and physiological benefits. The main benefits here include: Bonding Improvement in quality and duration of sleep for both parties Reduced risk of SIDS compared to bed-sharing or baby sleeping in a separate room. For any parents wanting to co sleep, but are still unsure about safety, following these simple steps will ensure your baby is completely safe while they sleep close to you. Always use a cosleeper bed.
A Cot or Cot Bed? Floor beds coincidentally also address points 1 and 2 as well.
The golden rule to remember is that your baby should never sleep for prolonged periods on anything other than a baby-safe mattress. Therefore, if you wish to enjoy the plentiful benefits associated with co-sleeping, you should always use a co-sleeper bed. This way, you can sleep next to your baby in an environment that keeps them completely safe from harm. Do not bed share. Use the ABC method. With a co-sleeper cot, your baby sleeps in their own cot, only with you directly next to them in your own bed.
Young babies should always be put to sleep on their back. In cold months, swaddle your baby rather than using blankets. Swaddling eliminates blankets causing a suffocation risk in the night.
Do not co-sleep if you or your partner smokes. Research has shown that the link between co-sleeping even using a co-sleeper cot and SIDS is greater if a parent smokes. If either parent smokes, consider keeping your baby in a bedside bassinet in your room rather than a co-sleeper cot.
Never co-sleep if you have drunk alcohol. The same goes, of course, if you have taken drugs, too. Even two glasses of wine could leave you less alert if your baby is in distress. Also, you should consult with your doctor about any medications you may be taking that could impair your ability to be alert during the night, and may endanger your baby if taken while co-sleeping.
If done safely by following these rules, co sleeping is incredibly healthy for parents and children. Use a co sleeper cot! Why We Need Co-Sleeping While some terrible cases of SIDS have been attributed to bed-sharing — because the infant was overheated, suffocated, or rolled on — there are plenty of scientific studies that show how co-sleeping safely actually saves infant lives.
Here, we will list why co-sleeping is vital to healthy baby development. Davies in concluded that co-sleeping is vital for infants to form a secure attachment relationship with its parents, and skin-to-skin contact at night ensures emotional security for the baby. Sadly, it was also found that infants who slept in a different room were more likely to forge attachment relationships to objects in place of their parents.
Sarah LeVine, PhD, co-wrote a Los Angeles Times article that recommended co-sleeping, on the basis that it enabled exhausted new parents to get more sleep. She argued that placing your baby to sleep in a separate room means that parents are constantly having to get up to feed and tend to the baby; this is not the case when co-sleeping, so both parents and baby sleep much better.
She found that the rest of the world had been co-sleeping safely for hundreds of years, and that it was really only the Western world who tended not to practice it, in part due to constant modern safety warnings.
Far back in human history, leaving a baby unattended would mean that it would be killed by predators or die of cold. Breazeale in The Natural Childhood Project. Davies wrote that co-sleeping was the norm in all societies until the late s, and is still in most of the world today. These facts can arguably mean that infant solitary sleeping is unnatural.
So, why do some parents do this? It could be down to the media. The moral panic against co-sleeping began in the early s, when the media got hold of Consumer Product Safety Commission CPSC statistics , containing death reports of young children in the s and 90s. This caused a frenzy regarding the safety risks of co-sleeping — but the publications failed to disclose that the vast majority of deaths occurred when the infants were alone in cots.
When you take into consideration labelling of baby products many of which contain suffocation, choking, SIDS, and a list of other safety hazards , changing family roles and our constantly-evolving society, cosleeping has simply become outdated. In the UK, As it is advised that obese parents do not co-sleep, due to increased suffocation risks, that could mean a quarter of parents do not practice it.
Sure, smoking was a much bigger problem in the past, before improved public information about the health hazards of smoking.
But, now that we know that smoking is linked to SIDS, parents that smoke are warned against co sleeping with their infants. Therefore, parents addicted to nicotine face the task of quitting the habit before they can safely cosleep. For this reason, co-sleeping may not happen quite as much. The new stepmother might think it inappropriate to share a bed with a child that is not her own. Factors such as the above and others add up to a smaller incidence of co-sleeping than the rest of the world.
In Japan, it is common due to big families and small homes that the vast majority of families co-sleep, and around half of families bed-share with children until they are teenaged.
This concept seems very alien to Western families, especially bed-sharing with teenage children! This is a dangerous and untrue notion. Diana Divecha, PhD, wrote: This method therefore increases infant crying and failure to settle. Room-sharing is advised by experts on this basis.
Sleep training is shown to not work and to actually cause developmental issues in babies. Babies put to sleep in a separate room fall into deeper sleep, increasing the risk of apnoea pauses in breathing which can be deadly, and increases risk of SIDS. In cultures that practice co-sleeping as the norm, SIDS is unheard of, or rates are very low.
This risk is increased to 1 in when co-sleeping on a sofa; and the same for co-sleeping after consuming drugs or alcohol. Obviously, you should never lay your baby to sleep on a soft surface like a sofa, and never sleep on the same surface, especially when intoxicated. A shocking review published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioural Pediatrics stated that infants required to sleep in a separate room in their first few weeks of life had increased risk of SIDS — a conclusion shown by all scientific studies into the effects of isolated sleeping in babies.
So, what can parents do about this? The science shows that babies should sleep in the same room, but a on different surface from their parents. The only way to sensibly observe the risks of SIDS while reaping the benefits of co-sleeping is to use a co-sleeping cot. Sleeping close to babies is as natural as the Earth.
In the days of hunter-gatherer tribes, co-sleeping was necessary to protect infants against predators, and to stop their cries from attracting predators. A hungry infant could be immediately nursed when it cried out for food; preventing the attraction of predators, therefore protecting the entire tribe. From an emotional security perspective, we have seen how forming a close bond is linked with as much skin-to-skin contact as possible and instant consoling.
Safety Concerns and Dangers of Co-Sleeping Co-sleeping has become the subject of safety concerns over time due to modern sleeping habits. In the past, we did not sleep with soft mattresses, pillows piled high, thick duvets, and bedframes which could entrap small children.
It also removes risk of overlaying.
The NHS says the correct way to lay your baby while sleeping is on their back. Nothing else should be in the crib — no toys, blankets or crib bumpers, which all pose suffocation risks. The safest way to co-sleep is with a specialised co-sleeper cot, which has all the benefits of bed-sharing without any of the risks. However, there are instances in which you should NOT co-sleep, even with the aid of a co-sleeping cot.
If one or both parents is a smoker. If any alcohol or drugs are consumed. This can mean you are not alerted to crying and you risk overlaying. If you are extremely exhausted. If in doubt, always attach the fourth wall to your co-sleeper cot, and move it a safe distance away from your bed — but always keep it in your bedroom.
Co-sleeping arguments depend on what is meant by co-sleeping. As we now know, the correct definition of co-sleeping is sleeping with your baby in close proximity — this can be sharing a bed or just sharing a bedroom.
We have also heard the scientific evidence linking isolated crib-sleeping in a separate bedroom with SIDS and a host of other detrimental development issues in babies. Co-sleeper cots allow instant breastfeeding on separate surfaces. Truths and Myths About Co-Sleeping The biggest myth about co-sleeping is that it is always dangerous — this is the misconception that Dr McKenna highly refutes.
When people refer to co-sleeping being dangerous, they often mistakenly mean bed-sharing, which we know is not a good idea. The truth is that many, many parents practice co-sleeping.
Babies who sleep in close proximity to their mother or caregiver experience safer sleep and fulfilled needs. Co-sleeping in the form of bed-sharing is not advised due to links to rare SIDS cases and other sleep-related infant death risks. Parents and baby sleep better.
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