You may have heard about co-sleeping. Even though many doctors caution new parents against it, there are still many parents who are willing to give co-sleeping a try. There are both myths and truths on this issue, but the best thing, as always, is to be informed and make educated decisions about what works in your situation.
There are good reasons to consider co-sleeping, a sleeping arrangement where the whole family sleeps together in the same bedroom. Some parents bring the baby to sleep between them, others bring the baby to a separate space but in the same room. Having a family bedroom has been fairly common in many countries around the world for various reasons, such as cultural beliefs, small space availability, or closeness. Now, however, in western countries it is more common than people think, and it is becoming more widely practiced.
Human beings are not adapted to sleeping in isolation. The same can be said of any animal. The young feel safe when their pack is near, and humans are not so different. www.co-sleeping.org says that it’s one of the healthiest ways to give children a good start in life. It is much safer than leaving the baby alone and expecting them to adapt to an empty room. As well, it promotes bonding, and breastfeeding, they say. It is safer than leaving the baby alone, but only when practiced correctly.
When advising against it, most doctors will warn that it can be dangerous to have the baby in bed with you. Significant harm might inadvertently come to the baby while sleeping in between its parents. The baby might be smothered if the blankets and pillows are too fluffy, or a sleeping person could roll over onto the baby, or knock the baby off the bed. The tragedy of this is hard to imagine, but there are preventive measures to take and the most obvious one is to keep the baby in the same room, but not in the same bed.
Bring a bassinet, or a separate crib into the bedroom and put it close to your bed. That gives the best of both situations. The baby will feel safe in the crib, and the crib should always be a safe place for the baby, and a parent will be close to the baby if something should go wrong.
There are statistics that say that most SIDS deaths in North America in recent years have happened while the baby was sleeping in between his/her parents and suffocated. There are as many statistics that state that Asian countries with the highest rate of co-sleeping also has the lowest rate of SIDS. Remember that there are many causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Parents of babies under a year old may believe that they are light sleepers and they will wake up if something goes wrong, but even though they are on the alert, they are also exhausted and not waking up is a possibility. So, if you want to co-sleep, keep baby with you, but in his or her own bed. Always talk to your doctor about what will work the best in your situation.