The right and wrong of bed-sharing with baby is a topic of hot debate in the parenting circles today. There are both positive and negative ideas about co-sleeping and bed-sharing with your baby. Bed sharing is exactly what the name suggests, sharing your bed or sleeping space with your baby. Co-sleeping could imply sleeping in the same bed, but it also stands for the baby in a crib or a bassinet near enough to be heard and monitored.
Negatives of bed sharing with kids
The biggest concern with bed sharing is that it has shown a correlation with the risks of sleep related deaths in infants. This is also valid in SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome. The soft and thick mattresses and memory foam creating suffocation, entrapment between the headboard and the mattress and even strangulation from the tassels and other embellishments on the headboard make the child susceptible to both injury and death. This is more prevalent in western cultures than in India. This is because of the difference in bedding preferences and culture.
Infants who sleep with their parents can get used to the presence of the parent while sleeping. You might need to be in proximity with the child during nap and sleep time, which can be frustrating, as it is often the only time that you can finish your other jobs in peace.
Positive aspects of co-sleeping with your baby
The trend of co-sleeping with your baby has started permeating all cultures and socio-economic levels today. The positives far outweigh the negatives.
- The proximity of the parents helps the infant sleep faster and for longer intervals. It is also helpful that you are close when they wake up in the middle of the night. Babies can hear sounds in the womb, and the voices of the parents seem familiar to them after birth too.
- Proximity encourages breast feeding. The convenience helps the mother get more sleep and rest. It becomes easier for a breast feeding mother to sync her sleep cycle with the child’s.
- The parent also finds closeness with their baby, especially when they are working. The emotional bonding is huge. This also helps the baby acclimatize with the rapid changes that happen in the first year of life. The sense of security grows along with the unique bond that babies and their parents have.
Small things to keep in mind to co-sleep safely
You can ensure that your little one is safe in your bed.
- The cardinal rule is not to have a super soft mattress.
- The bed should have no dangling tassels and such that can entrap the baby.
- The headboard should not have gaps that can allow the head to be caught in between the openings.
- It is not a good idea to place the baby against the headboard or the wall.
- Do not ever cover the head of the baby while sleeping. This might lead to suffocation.
- Too many pillows, blankets and soft toys and such can smother a baby. Keep them away from the infant’s sleeping place.
- Always create a space for the baby and put her to sleep in the designated space. It is not a good idea to sleep with your baby on your chest. You might roll over during sleep and crush her.
It might be the best idea to co-sleep at least for the first year. Do extend till about three years especially if you have a single child. Sleeping in the same room will add joy and bonding in your home. It will also spare you the anxiety of leaving your new born alone. Ease them into sleeping alone. A lenient approach may be the best way to make your child feel loved and secure.