CO-SLEEPING with your baby refers to sleeping in sensory proximity to your baby, may or may not be in the same bed. Having the baby crib in your room, or attaching the crib next to your crib is also considered co-sleeping.
Co-sleeping has been a controversial topic in Western cultures though its always been popular in India. As a mother of 2 children I highly recommend co-sleeping as it instills a sense of security and comfort in the baby. Moreover scientific studies have proven many of the benefits. Here are some of them :
- Easier Breastfeeding : co-sleeping makes regular nighttime feedings easier simply because moms don’t need to leave their beds. Getting up 5-6 times at night , getting out of bed, walking to the next room can be mentally and physically exhausting. Gradually the mother’s sleep cycle and that of the baby get in sync. So it promotes an easier and more regular breastfeeding relationship.
- More sleep for you and the baby: most babies need to be fed, soothed and changed at night. If baby is close by, the mother can do all these things while in bed while remaining in a restful state. The baby’s first cries and murmurs will wake you up before they descend into a full-blown cry,and you can handle the baby quickly and easily.
- Lower Risk of SIDS: the lowest SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome ) rates in the world coincide with high rates of co-sleeping. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room sharing, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months, stating that this decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
- Promotes bonding between mother & baby: co-sleeping babies are emotionally more connected with their parents. It gives the babies more of the parents’ time, touch and warmth and makes them feel more connected to each other. You understand each cry and cue given by the baby and baby responds well and develops close bonds with the mother or father.
- Promotes mental and physical well-being for the baby: research shows that the babies who co-sleep have more stable physiology. They have more stable temperatures, few long pauses in breathing and regular heart rhythms compared to the babies who sleep alone. Babies rarely startle when sleeping next to the mother and cry less during night. Long crying spells can lead to long term sleep anxiety as it releases adrenaline, increases blood pressure and heart rate and disturbs the restful sleep. Co-sleeping babies become independent sooner and have higher self-esteem.
And my favorite reason lots and lots of cuddles and kisses and waking upto that beautiful smile.