For first time parents or veteran parents, co-sleeping is a novel idea, far from the western culture’s practice of sleep training, in which infants are taught to sleep in separate rooms from the parents from day one.
For those that do not know what co-sleeping is, co-sleeping is the practice of sleeping in the same room or nearby your infant at night. Co-sleeping isn’t as widely practiced in the UK or US as it is in many other parts of the world. Reasons for that are due to modern western safety warnings and cultural views.
But here are 6 facts about co-sleeping that you may not have known:
- Co-Sleeper cots are safe and beneficial
Co-sleeper cots are designed with three walls to ensure maximum comfort for your baby, while also making sure that they don’t roll out or get rolled on. Co-sleeper cots are beneficial to both the parents and the baby because it provides maximum proximity with the smallest risk of SIDS or accidental death. Anxiety in both the parent and infant is lowered and mothers can ensure that their child is breastfed at the most ideal moments throughout the night.
- There are numerous benefits to co-sleeping
Babies that are introduced to a co-sleeping environment are more likely to learn to sleep through the night faster than isolated babies. It also creates an environment that fosters healthy sleeping patterns.
- Sleep isolation isn’t the best option
Since the overhyped panic over SIDS being liked to bed-sharing in the early 2000s, many infant caregivers and parents have come to the conclusion that leaving their baby in isolation throughout the night is the most practical and safe option.
Yet, studies have shown that sleep isolation can impede development within infants and negatively impact bonding between the infant and its parents or caregiver. Other studies have also shown that babies who are isolated while sleeping are more likely to create emotional attachments to things like stuffed animals and toys. They use this to replace their parents, which is extremely unhealthy.
- Co-sleeping benefits new parents more
Having a baby is exhausting, especially if you are a new parent. When new parents choose to isolate their babies at night, they are prolonging their exhaustion.
Throughout the night, these parents have to continuously get up to feed and check on their baby. Even if their infant does not cry throughout the night, parents are still subconsciously aware and alert as they try to get some sleep while also listening to the baby monitor. When new parents practice co-sleeping, they and their baby get more rest and the parents are readily available to tend to their baby’s needs throughout the night.
- Co-sleeping has been around for a long, long time
Historical studies have shown that co-sleeping has been around for hundreds of years and has been practiced by nearly every culture in the world. Western cultures are one of the few that do not widely practice it today. Co-sleeping is completely natural and should be encouraged more, but due to the cultural views of the west, it is has fallen out of favour.
- Sleep training is not the ideal situation for your baby
Sleep training is when parents not only leave their baby in isolation, but when they neglect their baby’s cries. This idea of “crying it out” has been proven to be unhealthy for infants, particularly newborns to 6-8-month-olds. Instead of calming down and turning to self-comfort, infants begin to create an anxious cry. It is important to remember that babies cannot take care of themselves. When they cry, it means something is wrong. Ignoring them and letting them continue to cry creates more harm than good.
Ultimately, parents should choose what to do based on their family and their infant’s needs.