Co-sleeping or the practice of sharing a bed with your baby is certainly not a new concept. Plenty of parents are choosing this type of sleeping arrangement, especially because new moms are often reminded that “mom sleeps when the baby is sleeping”.
There are numerous benefits to co-sleeping, for both babies and parents alike. But some experts actually suggest against it, as it does bring some serious risk factors to the table.
Here, we’ll be exploring different benefits of co-sleeping, as well as ways you can ensure that both you and your baby are entirely safe and sound during your naps.
As mentioned earlier, while there are strong benefits that work in favor of co-sleeping, there are also possible risks parents should consider before giving it a try. For instance, co-sleeping can be associated with an elevated risk of SUDI and SIDS.
Aside from these, there have been numerous reports of fatal sleeping accidents that could have been easily avoided with some proper preparations and education.
While all of this can definitely be enough to deter any parent from ever giving co-sleeping a try, it can actually be done safely with some basic preparations.
Co-sleeping and safety
In order to ensure that both you and your baby stay safe during sleep and minimize the risks of any potential accidents, you need to learn the proper ways to set everything up.
For starters, you can check out a useful guide on safe co-sleeping tips and try to retain as many pieces of information as you can. Important safety guidelines to note are:
- Make sure you always put your baby on their back when sleeping
- Make sure that you use lightweight covers and that they don’t get close to your baby’s head or face. If you fear that your baby might get cold, it’s always a better idea to amp up the heating than to use heavy covers.
- Babies should sleep next to one parent, not between both of them, to reduce the chances of any accidents.
- Make sure that your baby can’t easily roll off of the bed as it could also have devastating consequences. This could mean placing them in the center instead of close to the edge.
There are numerous benefits to co-sleeping for many parents. You may choose to co-sleep for a few weeks, months, or years. The benefits of co-sleeping may be just what some parents need to feel safe and comforted with their baby. Here are a few of these benefits:
One of the most prominent reasons parents, and especially breastfeeding mothers, choose to practice co-sleeping is the convenience. Not only is it significantly easier to breastfeed when your baby is right next to you, but it’s also easier to establish a breastfeeding routine.
Additionally, many parents believe that sleeping next to their babies actually keeps their baby safer than if they were in another room or bed. Simply put, when your baby is sleeping next to you, you can easily check to see if everything’s okay. Also, in case something does happen to go wrong, you will be in close proximity to act fast.
3. Psychological Benefits for Mom
Both parents and babies react positively to close body contact. Every mom in the world sleeps more peacefully when her baby is close by. Not only because she can ensure that her baby is safe and sound at any given moment, but because moms share a special bond with their little ones.
4. Psychological Benefits for Baby
The fact is that babies continue to form even when they’re already born. So, having their parents close by can work as a sort of an outside regulator during this time. For instance, when babies and their parents share a bed, some of their body functions, such as heart rate, berthing, brain waves and sleep states become mutually influenced.
Since during the first months of the baby’s life their own psychology is undeveloped, their parents work as a guiding light. Furthermore, according to a study conducted between 25 babies that were between four and ten months old, the cortisol levels of infants that weren’t sharing a bed with a parent were significantly high.
However, it’s also important to note that babies and parents who do practice co-sleeping sleep significantly lighter and rouse much easier. But this is actually a good thing, as lighter sleep – or REM for short – actually improves the baby’s synaptogenesis, making their connection between neurons grow more rapidly.
So, as long as you ensure that you follow some basic safety guidelines, both you and your baby should be absolutely fine. Remember that co-sleeping really does bring numerous benefits to both you and your baby.
By taking the necessary steps to ensure that both of you stay safe during your sleep, there’s nothing but good things you can expect to come your way.
Author: Nemanja Marinkoff is the editor-in-chief of BornCute.com. You can find him on Twitter.