Here are some benefit to co-sleeping and tips on how to do it safely thanks to Dr Bill Sears http://www.askdrsears.com/
- Cultures who traditionally practice safe co-sleeping, such as Asians, enjoy the lowest incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Trusted research by Dr. James McKenna, Director of the Mother-Baby Sleep Laboratory of the University of Notre Dame, showed that mothers and babies who sleep close to each other enjoy similar protective sleep patterns. Mothers enjoy a heightened awareness of their baby’s presence, what I call a “nighttime sleep harmony,” that protects baby. The co-sleeping mother is more aware if her baby’s well-being is in danger.
- Babies who sleep close to their mothers enjoy “protective arousal,” a state of sleep that enables them to more easily awaken if their health is in danger, such as breathing difficulties.
- Co-sleeping makes breastfeeding easier, which provides many health benefits for mother and baby.
- More infant deaths occur in unsafe cribs than in parents’ bed.
- Co-sleeping tragedies that have occurred have nearly always been associated with dangerous practices, such as unsafe beds, or parents under the influence of substances that dampen their awareness of baby.
- Research shows that co-sleeping infants cry less during the night, compared to solo sleepers who startle repeatedly throughout the night and spend 4 times the number of minutes crying. Startling and crying releases adrenaline, which can interfere with restful sleep and leads to long term sleep anxiety.
- Infants who sleep near to parents have more stable temperatures, regular heart rhythms, and fewer long pauses in breathing compared to babies who sleep alone. This means baby sleeps physiologically safer.
- A recent large study concluded that bed sharing did NOT increase the risk of SIDS, unless the mom was a smoker or abused alcohol.
Tips for safe co-sleeping
- We recommend using a bassinet that attaches safely and securely to parents’ bed, which allows both mother and baby to have their own sleeping space, while baby still enjoys sleeping close to mommy for easier feeding and comforting.
- If bed-sharing, practice these safe precautions:
- Place babies to sleep on their backs.
- Be sure there are no crevices between the mattress and guardrail or headboard that allows baby’s head to sink into.
- Do not allow anyone but mother to sleep next to the baby, since only mothers have that protective awareness of baby. Place baby between mother and a guardrail, not between mother and father. Father should sleep on the other side of mother.
- Don’t fall asleep with baby on a cushy surface, such as a beanbag, couch, or wavy waterbed.
- Don’t bed-share if you smoke or are under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medications that affect your sleep.
Enjoy sharing sleep with your precious babies and children.