Co-sleeping is one of the many debatable topics for new age parents. It refers to the practice of parents sleeping in close proximity to their children. This could be physical proximity as well as sensory proximity where either one can touch and feel, hear and see the other one. Co-sleeping with children can be achieved in a number of ways such as bed sharing, room sharing and kids sleeping on beds attached to parents’ bed.
The concept of co-sleeping with children is not a new one. It has been around for quite some time especially in Eastern culture. While in some cultures, the practice of co-sleeping is frowned upon and discouraged. Research has deduced some pros and cons for this practice.
• Good Sleeping Habits
Kids are full of energy and do not initially know how to unwind and prepare for bed. Co-sleeping ensures parents have the opportunity to help their kids get ready and fall asleep easily.
• Sleep for mothers
Research indicates co-sleeping instills security and sync breathing pattern for the mother and child. Moreover, it results in reducing stress related to kids. Mothers who co-sleep with children are better aware of their kid’s needs and attend to them beforehand.
• Family bonding
After a hectic day at work, families can emotionally connect in bed. It makes the parents bond with their children and reduces any communication gap. The children also feel reassured and it has a positive effect on their mental health. Co-sleeping raises children with high self-esteem and helps them become well-balanced individuals.
• Risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
One of the greatest risks associated with co-sleeping is that of SIDS. There are cases of babies dying from suffocation and the risk increases if parents are heavy sleepers or are intoxicated. Huge pillows and blankets may pose an additional threat to the safety of the child in bed.
• Increased dependence
Children who have co-slept are the ones who face difficulty in sleeping independently later on. They are dependent on their parents to help them sleep and this might result in irregular bedtimes for children.
• Increased risk of infection
When children sleep in close proximity to others, there is a high risk of children with weak immune system catching infections that may be contagious. This can get worse if the younger ones catch contagious bugs that kids bring from the school playground.