Co-sleeping has become a hot topic in the world of parenting these days. Since there are so many differing opinions on either side, it can be hard to figure out the healthiest and safest choice for your family. If your infant is not easily soothed, having your little one snuggled in close to you at night may seem like the most natural choice for everyone to get the most sleep. However, sharing a bed with a newborn comes with its own sets of risks. It will be up to you to decide what is best for you and your baby.
The Differences between Co-sleeping and Bed-sharing?
Co-sleeping and bed-sharing are essentially the same thing. Often, we reference bed-sharing when parents bring their children into their bed to sleep with them. This is often referred to as the “family bed”. Co-sleeping, while often used interchangeably with bed-sharing, can also refer to a situation where a parent uses a secondary sleep system attached to their bed for their infant. These co-sleeping arrangements use a bassinet which can be raised to align with the parent’s bed, or a bed-within-a-bed, such as Dock-a-Tot.
Room-sharing is when the baby is brought into the parent’s room to sleep but the infant has his or her own space to sleep, such as a crib, basket, or bassinet.
Benefits of Co-sleeping with Your Infant
The practical benefits of bed-sharing with your baby are pretty obvious. Aside from the extra, irresistible cuddles, sleeping nearby allows you to respond to the baby quickly throughout the night. There’s something to be said for the ease of breastfeeding when a baby is in bed with mom, and the closeness helps to build that parental bond.
Other benefits of co-sleeping include:
- Less disruption during and after nighttime feedings
- The comfort of breastfeeding in bed often makes the process better for both mom and baby
- Bed-sharing babies often feed more often than babies who sleep alone
- Shorter and less often awake times for both baby and mom
Co-sleeping can be problematic for some families and even dangerous in certain situations. Aside from another person in bed who will ultimately be impacting everyone’s sleep schedule, studies have shown that sleeping with your infant can increase the risk of sleep-related death in children.
- Bed-sharing can increase the risk of SIDS in children under 6 months of age
- Adult beds offer a risk of falls
- Pillows, blankets, loose bedding, soft mattresses all pose a suffocation risk
- Injuries can occur when a parent rolls over onto a sleeping infant
- The transition from co-sleeping to solo-sleeping can be anxiety-inducing for both children and parents
Contact Bard & Didriksen Pediatrics
Remember there’s no right answer when it comes to sleeping arrangements for you and your baby. You are in charge of maintaining a safe and nurturing environment for your family.
If you have questions regarding co-sleeping arrangements, or the safest practices to follow, contact the experienced staff at Bard & Didriksen Pediatrics to provide you with helpful recommendations today.