Co-sleeping: Yes or No?
Should you co-sleep with your little ones? Find out the advantages and disadvantages of co-sleeping, as well as safety precautions parents should take note of.
What is co-sleeping?
Whether it is called co-sleeping, sleep sharing, or the family bed, it is a sleep practice where parents sleep with their babies or kids either in the same bed or same room. Dr. William Sears, a well-known pediatrician and author of many parenting books, defines co-sleeping as sleeping within arm’s reach of the baby.
There is a difference in how well the practice of co-sleeping is accepted across cultures. Western culture largely has frowned on the arrangement, whereas co-sleeping seems to be the norm in other developing countries, be it due to space constraint or other causes.
For mums and dads who can’t decide if they should co-sleep with their little ones, here are a few pros and cons of co-sleeping.
Click on the next page to find out the pros and cons of co-sleeping.
Why co-sleeping can be beneficial for parents and their kids
• Parents who co-sleep report feeling better rested. There is no need for you to get up to calm down baby when she cries. No stumbling in the dark or tripping over objects in half sleepy mode. Plus, there are no arguments as to who should go to calm the baby.
• Infants who co-sleep go to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. You may actually prevent baby from crying profusely to wake you up, because you are very much in tune with your child next to you. You will be able to soothe or feed them before it gets to that stage.
• It promotes breastfeeding by making night feedings easier. Baby will just nuzzle in when it’s time to feed, making going back to sleep much easier.
• It is very helpful to build a bond between parents and kids.
• No extra bed to fix or sheets to clean as you share the same room, bed and comforter. It saves more time and also energy.
• Parents who co-sleep get more creative when it comes to being romantic with each other. So not being able to get intimate with your partner is not a problem at all.
Why co-sleeping may not be such a good idea for your family
• You may have to be extra careful not to suffocate your baby with the blanket. Safety is the main reason why kids may not be allowed to co-sleep.
• If you have sleep disorders like snoring, co-sleeping may not work for you.
• Co-sleeping, though not impossible, can be very difficult with more than 2 kids. If there is an infant and a toddler, you have to make sure they are separated in the bed.
• Some experts believe that by getting kids to co-sleep, you are making it more difficult for them to sleep alone.
• Co-sleeping in some cases could lead to separation anxiety or other fears of being lonely, making the child dependent.
Sleep safety precautions to abide:
Note that co-sleeping isn’t for every family, and it is imperative that parents follow several safety precautions. Parents who share a bed with their baby:
• Should not be under the influence of alcohol and drugs, including medications that affect their sleep.
• Should not co-sleep if they have sleep disorders.
• Should not co-sleep in a waterbed or with any soft bedding near the baby. It is best to use a queen or king sized mattress.
• Should not share a sleep space with their baby if they are extremely obese.