Several studies have shown that very young babies should not sleep alone. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because co-sleeping often feels like the natural thing to do for most women, especially when it is associated with nighttime breastfeeding. When done right, it is a great way to improve both your quality of sleep and your little one’s health and well-being.
Here are several other reasons why we are for co-sleeping.
Benefits of co-sleeping
Are there any benefits of co-sleeping? Absolutely. Here are some of them:
- Co-sleeping leads to more peaceful sleep for everyone involved. Babies who co-sleep with their parents, cry less often at night and rarely experience nightmares. The parents also sleep better because they have to wake up less often, this also applies to the resto of the family, so they will also get quality sleep at night if not not woken up every few hours by the baby’s cries.
When you co-sleep, it significantly eases the process of breastfeeding. You won’t have to go to another room to do it, also you won't have to break your back by leaning down to the baby's cot few times per night.
In this way, co-sleeping helps you get as much rest as you need every night. Consider investing in a feeding pillow to make things even easier for yourself.
- Co-sleeping also reduces the risk of SIDS. It does this by improving the chances of you intervening when your child is in crisis because it makes it easier to hear them and respond. Anecdotal evidence also suggest that proximity of the mother is also a risk redusing factor.
Is co-sleeping that bad?
In the first place it is important to say that co-sleeping is a broad definition and it is not limited only to bedsharing. If you share your room with a baby you are co-sleeping too. To be fair, it owes its bad name due to some bad practices that are associated with it. So let's have a look at the risks then.
The one thing that is often listed as a cause for concern when it comes to co-sleeping is the risk of accidental suffocation for the baby. The good news, though, is that when done right, co-sleeping will actually help to prevent suffocation and other risk factors!
If you are afraid of accidentally squashing your little one while sleeping together, we highly recommend investing in a co-sleeper as an essential item. Similarly, if you want to prevent suffocation when your baby rolls over or turns from their back to their belly as they sleep, getting a baby nest will help reduce this risk.
In this way, investing in the right co-sleeping essentials will not only make it safer for your little one but it will also help put your mind at ease as your sleep at night.
Let us also remember that according to HSE recommendations, there should not be any toys in a cot during the night.
At what age is co-sleeping safe?
This question must be answered from two different perspectives .
On the one hand, properly done co-sleeping reduces the risk of SIDS, which is the greatest risk from birth to the age of 6 months.
That being said, from the bed- sharing perspective the older a child is, the safer it is to co-sleep with them. Once they can roll over and free themselves from potential restraints, it becomes quite safe to share a bed with them. That said, with the proper safety measures in place, you can start co-sleeping with your baby right from birth.
To what age is co-sleeping good? Experts recommend that parents and babies share the same room for at least 6 months and up to the first year. That said, plenty of toddlers and preschoolers co-sleep with their parents at least some of the time. If you co-sleep with your baby, consider starting them on the transition to their room between the age of one and two. Making this transition at this early age will lead to fewer sleep problems later on.
You can start them off on this transition by getting them an appropriately-sized bed and investing in the right bedding set. You can also get them accompanying developmental toys for their room and soother toys that will comfort them to sleep.
How do you co-sleep with a newborn?
When co-sleeping with a newborn, the first thing you need to be sure of is that the sleeping surface is firm and not soft or squishy. This means things like sofas or pillows are completely out of the question.
Next, make sure that your baby sleeps on his or her back and never on the tummy or the side. Finally, get them the right baby bedding and keep adult bedding like sheets, pillows, and blankets away from them and everyone will have a wonderful night’s sleep!
So why do babies sleep better on mom? Several studies have shown that sleeping next to your baby yields several health benefits for them, including helping them sleep more deeply, improving their heart rate and heart rhythm, and improving their blood pressure.
Plus, it fosters a deeper bond between mother and child because your little one will be receiving constant reassurance, comfort, and support throughout the night. They won’t have to deal with negative emotions like anxiety, fear, and abandonment. In the end, you get a child who is well-equipped to cope with the pressures of life because they know they are loved by their parents.
If you have been considering co-sleeping with your little one, The benefits that’ll come from doing so will be absolutely worth it.
Please note that all the information in this article is not a sufficient form of professional advice, so if you're in doubt, it's always a good idea to consult your GP or Midwife.