Benefits of Co Sleeping


Co-sleeping, or sharing sleep, isn’t a new concept – millions of families around the world share a bed. In many cases, this is because there isn’t a separate room in the house for baby to sleep in; however, there are many benefits to sharing a family bed.

Opponents of co-sleeping say it’s linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. Proponents argue that a parent has an instinctual awareness of where their child is in the bed, and won’t roll over on them and smother them. Attachment parenting expert and co-sleeping advocate Dr. William Sears points to research indicating that many SIDS cases are due to intoxicated parents rolling on children. He also believes that some of these cases could be unreported cases of a parent deliberately smothering a child – and if they’re unreported, they are never investigated and recorded as such. Cases such as these could skew statistics when it comes to co-sleeping’s link to SIDS. In China, where co-sleeping is very common, SIDS is rare.

Dr. Sears says that co-sleeping, far from being dangerous, actually helps raise healthy, independent and well-adjusted children. When a baby sleeps next to his mother or father, the pair sync their breathing. Since SIDS often occurs when babies “forget” to breathe during sleep, having mom or dad as a kind of metronome can be vital.

It’s also easier for mom (and/or dad) and baby to touch one another when they sleep next to each other. Attachment parenting advocates say this can aid in forming a trusting emotional bond between baby and parent. Later in life, this bond can serve as a jumping-off point for independence: because the child has a well-established base, he or she feels more confident about striking out on his or her own.

Feeding is a cinch when mother and baby co-sleep. In baby’s early months, he or she will be feeding on demand, and it’s much easier for baby to eat at night when mom is right there. The benefit extends to mom, too: she can easily drift off to sleep while baby nurses, rather than sitting in a chair awake waiting for baby to finish eating before she returns to sleep. Some call nursing while co-sleeping “dreamfeeding,” and it’s easy to see why: both mom and baby hardly need to rouse themselves from sleep while baby nurses in the family bed.


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