Co Sleeping: Can You Sleep With Your Baby In The Same Bed?
Sleeping in the same bed with your baby is a type of sleeping that is popularly known as co-sleeping. Many experts, and also parents, have completely divided thoughts on the matter. Some think is dangerous, others think that it can actually help in preventing danger. If you are a young parent, or you are about to become one, you probably want more clarification on the subject.
The biggest danger of co-sleeping is the SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). This is one of the main reasons why some parents strictly avoid co-sleeping. However, some parents believe that being close to your baby can actually lower the risk of SIDS. Both points of view are valid in some way. That’s why maybe the ideal method of co-sleeping is simply putting your baby’s crib right next to your bed.
Co-sleeping doesn’t have to mean sharing the bed with your baby, it can also mean sharing the room. This is a much safer option. Also, there is another form of co-sleeping. That’s when you share the bed with your baby only until she falls asleep, and then put them into a crib. This is also very safe, and yet still emotionally fulfilling way of co-sleeping.
Before we get into more detailed talk about co-sleeping we shall list scenarios in which co-sleeping is absolutely not allowed and represents a serious danger for your child.
Situations in which you should avoid co sleeping
- If you are taking any kind of medication that induces drowsiness, fatigue or influences your motor skills, don’t co-sleep with your child.
- Never co-sleep with your baby if you took any amount of alcohol during the day.
- Avoid co-sleeping if you are a smoker.
- If you have other children don’t let them co-sleep with an infant.
- If you have pets that like to sleep with you, never let them do that while you’re co-sleeping with your child.
Now, let’s move on to more detailed discussion about sharing the bed, or the bedroom, with your baby.
The biggest concern of all when it comes to co-sleeping is, of course, the baby’s safety. The danger of SIDS is what arises arguments and different points of view on this subject. First of all, co-sleeping shouldn’t start before the fifth month of baby’s life. After that period, co-sleeping can be a nice practice for you and your baby, if you strictly follow some simple safety guidelines.
Safe environment for co sleeping
We already mentioned in which cases co-sleeping is pretty much forbidden. Now we’re going to talk about things you should pay attention to when organizing the safe sleeping environment for your baby. Firstly, the best way to co-sleep with your baby is when her crib is next to your bed. The two of you are not actually sharing the same sleeping surface. This is maybe the safest option of all. That way you don’t have to worry about the movements that you make during the sleep, while remaining close enough to your baby. You can react and help her during a potential danger. If you can’t stand to sleep away from your baby, this may be the best solution.
Some mothers take a special importance in putting their babies to sleep by lying with them in the same bed. This does help in creating a special bond. But, while it’s emotionally positive experience for the baby, it might not be perfectly safe.
If you can’t find another way but this one to successfully put your baby to sleep, be sure to choose a right kind of mattress and bedding for your bed. Avoid mattresses that are too soft and stick to minimalistic bedding. Any decorative pillows or other similar items can represent a potential danger for the baby. If you feel strongly about this kind of co-sleeping, you should mention it to your baby’s pediatrician and get more advice on the subject.
Emotional and psychological aspect
When it comes to an emotional impact on the infant, there is a possibility that separate sleeping can play a negative role. Experts usually agree that co-sleeping helps baby’s healthy emotional and intellectual development. Even some studies have confirmed this idea. In the first year of life babies rely on sounds, smells, touches and feeling of parents’ presence when it comes to bonding and establishing relationship with them. Developing a close emotional bond with parents helps a baby in her understanding and discovering of the world.
Closeness to the parents, especially the mother, is vital for infants early mental development. By co-sleeping with the mother, baby feels safer and can have much more pleasant sleeping experience. Every single aspect in the baby’s early life can play a significant role in her later emotional and mental development. Experts always stress out the importance of the relationship that baby develops with her parents in the earliest stage of life. So, you definitely shouldn’t deprive neither you or your baby of warm and tender relationship. Just be careful and responsible when arranging your baby’s sleeping conditions.
During the breast-feeding period co-sleeping can be a great solution for two reasons. The first reason is simple:
- Breastfeeding gets a lot easier both for the mother and the baby if the crib is near parents’ bed.
Women tend to be chronically tired and sleep deprived during the first year of baby’s life. This is why is much easier for a woman to breast-feed an infant if they are both sleeping in the same room. It’s also a less stressful for the baby if she can be fed immediately after she gets woken up by hunger. Apart from efficiency, during the breast-feeding period babies are extremely emotionally demanding, and co-sleeping helps their emotional needs.
- Breast-feeding is an important part of bonding between a mother and her child.
So, in combination with co-sleeping – it can become even more beneficiary for the baby’s emotional development. Of course, breastfeeding should stop after one year approximately.
Effects on the intimacy in the marriage
This aspect of co-sleeping is not to be taken lightly. Even though it doesn’t concern the most important aspects of co-sleeping, it still is an important one. Parents who get used to co-sleeping with their child can make a long-term significant change to their relationship. A change doesn’t have to mean a negative thing, but it still needs some attention. Having a baby alone can change a couple’s relationship a lot. Many therapists notice that some couples get emotionally alienated from one another after becoming parents.
For some women an early motherhood can mean a loss of desire for intimacy. This is why for some couples a habit of co-sleeping with their child can leave even bigger impact on the romance. Of course, co-sleeping doesn’t have to mean a bad thing for the marriage. Couples with healthy relationship don’t have to be affected by it at all. For some, this can even mean a positive thing for their romantic life. If a nighttime is reserved for co-sleeping with a child, then a couple will need to find other interesting and exotic ways of spending some alone time. Young parents can exchange nighttime romance for daily dates and even spice up their marriage by escaping the routine.