Is it safe to co-sleeping with a baby, until what age?
As soon as you return from motherhood, the question of sleep arises: sleep with or separately from your baby? Although the baby’s room has been ready for more than 3 months and a nice bed is provided for this purpose, many parents are adept at co-sleeping, others less.
Sleeping with your baby snuggled up against you, smelling its soft skin, its characteristic, and intoxicating scent, this is the pleasure shared by many young parents. The co-sleeping allows you to experience these privileged moments. Even if this practice is not yet common, it is gaining ground in the USA.
Co-sleeping divides healthcare professionals. While some see advantages in it, others consider the practice risky and safe. The truth is surely in the nuance. Shared sleep has benefits for the child, but must be supervised.
What does the co-sleeping consist of?
Sleeping in the same room as a baby is not considered co-sleeping, on the other hand, sharing his bed with his baby, either directly in the bed or using a special bed fixed near the mother, here it is. What is co-sleeping? For some couples, the baby sleeps on one side of the bed (that of the mother), for others, he slips between the parents! Shared sleep is often recommended by early childhood professionals: they recommend co-sleeping until baby’s first 6 months. This period can obviously be shortened or lengthened according to the feelings and the needs of the parents and the baby.
What are the advantages of co-sleeping?
Many child psychiatrists and psychologists specializing in early childhood, argue in favor of co-sleeping. For them, this practice has many advantages.
1 Co-sleeping makes breastfeeding easier
Co-sleeping makes breastfeeding easier. Mom does not get up and wake up completely. It thus gains in quality of sleep. This is not negligible when we know that parents lose an average of 44 days of sleep in the first year (according to a British study).
2 Co-sleeping reassures parents
Let’s face it! Becoming a parent means accepting the stress that comes with it. Who hasn’t put their finger under baby’s nose at least once to check that they’re still breathing? Keeping baby by his side at night reassures some parents. Co-sleeping offers the possibility of monitoring it more easily.
3 Co-sleeping reassures baby
According to Patricia Chalon, a psychotherapist specializing in early childhood, president of Enfance Majuscule (child protection association), and author of “the fears of the child,” the phobia of the dark is shared by many babies. Sleeping with his parents secures the child and reduces his anxieties. Proximity strengthens the bond of parent-child attachment.
What are the disadvantages of co-sleeping?
Laying baby in the parental bed also carries risks, warn specialists:
1 Co-sleeping increases the risk of suffocation
If the child sleeps in the marital bed, there is a risk of suffocation. Pillows, blankets, duvets can potentially be the cause. Parents, immersed in a deep sleep, can forget the presence of their baby and turn on him.
2 Shared sleep slows down parental privacy
Co-sleeping harms the intimate relationship of couples. It is a real brake. Fatigue, an organization the arrival of a baby inevitably disrupts this intimacy. This practice can make these moments even rarer.
3 Co-sleeping increases the risk of sudden death
Babies who co-sleep are 5 times more likely to die from sudden death. This is what a British study reveals. 22% of sudden death cases occur when babies sleep with their parents. According to the same study, 88% of these deaths would not have occurred if the baby had slept in his bed, on his back and alone.
What are the safety rules for co-sleeping?
We don’t skimp on baby’s safety. Badly supervised, co-sleeping can present real risks. Here are some rules to put in place:
- Heat the chamber to the correct temperature. The ideal temperature for the room is between 65 and 68 °F.
- Avoid the presence of pets. Do not leave your cat or dog in the bedroom or on the bed.
- Don’t cover up baby too much. Watch out for hyperthermia. An infant has difficulty regulating its internal temperature and its low water reserves. Usually a bodysuit, pajamas and sleeping bag are sufficient.
- Do not place a pillow, soft toy, or blanket near baby. Do not place baby on a pillow and also avoid putting him under your duvet.
- Do not co-sleep if you are alcoholic, drugged, sick or tired. The consumption of certain products such as drugs, alcohol and certain medications alters the waking state of parents.
- Do not smoke in the room. Save baby the risk of secondhand smoke.
- Use a firm, flat mattress. Invest in a quality mattress. Do not co-sleep on an extra bed, BZ or air mattress.
- Opt for a co-sleeper bassinet. To limit the risks, install a co-sleeper bassinet, specially designed for this practice. The article of Best Co-Sleeper Bassinet is as this link.
- Keep baby from falling out of bed. If you do not have a co-sleeper bassinet, place baby in the middle of the parents or so that he cannot fall.
- Preferably lay baby on his back. This position reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Co-sleeping, until when?
Some couples find the perfect balance between co-sleeping and intimate life. In this case, this practice should not take too long either. According to specialists, the ideal duration of the co-sleeping would be three years until the child enters kindergarten. For this transition to take place under the best conditions, it is, therefore, better to go gradually. It is, first of all, advisable to familiarize the child with his room from an early age by making him sleep in his bed for a nap for example. It is necessary that his room inspires him pleasant moments so do not put it there at the time of punishment. You can also play in it with him for that, to cuddle him or to tell him great stories. It is possible to leave him some light to reassure him or to carry him to his bed to wake up in the morning. Little by little, the place will become more and more familiar to him, and he will have no trouble sleeping there at night.
The final word
As you will understand, the co-sleeping will allow you to breastfeed with confidence and to rest with your baby, share sweet moments, and cuddle him. The co-sleeping will be your ally to face difficult nights and will allow you to put your child to sleep more quickly. However, be vigilant and ensure the safety of your baby by applying the necessary safety measures by checking with health professionals.