Parenting can be one of the hardest things in the world to do, especially if you’re still young and new to it. You’ll want to ensure that your child grows up well, and wish to provide the best form of care, guidance, and love towards them.
It will be a challenging journey, and you’ll wonder how your parents ever did it with you, but it will all be worth it in the end.
If you’re new to this whole parenting thing, there may be many questions that you have, or some that you probably haven’t even thought of asking, but fret not – we’re here for you.
Here’s some food for thought for all you parents out there – is it better if your baby sleeps in their own cot at night, or with you on your bed?
Yes Or No To Co-Sleeping?
Co-sleeping refers to the act of parents sleeping with their babies on the same bed.
There may be many reasons as to why parents decide to do this, such as one’s culture.
Studies have shown that in many cultures, parents sleep together with their young children in one bed.
They believe that it helps to foster emotional bonding through physical contact and that it is easier to check on your baby as well as breastfeed them at night.
They feel that their babies will feel safe and secure sleeping with them as well.
I mean, it’s definitely bound to create a bond between parents and babies if you sleep on the same bed as them, going by basic human psychological theory, but it actually may not be good in the long run.
Sleeping In A Cot Is Better
Experts suggest that it is better for babies to sleep in a cot in the same room as their parents instead of co-sleeping with them on the same bed.
For the first 6-12 months, it is best for babies to sleep in a cot next to their parents’ beds.
You can also opt to get a side-car crib, which attaches to the side of your bed yet is a separate surface for your baby to sleep on and is convenient for baby care through the night.
Why Not Co-Sleep?
Co-sleeping could actually lead to possibly fatal accidents in addition to sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and it has been found to have a correlation to an increased risk that these situations will happen.
For example, you could accidentally roll over in bed and squash your baby flat like a prata, or the heavy bed covers could suffocate them if they haven’t already fallen off the side of the bed.
There is also an increased risk of SUDI and SIDS if you or your partner smokes, takes drugs, alcohol, or sleep-inducing sedative medicine. If your baby is less than three months old or was premature or smaller than most after being born, it will be risky to co-sleep.
Sometimes, when babies wake up in the middle of the night or are unsettled, you may feel like bringing them into bed with you to calm them down.
It’s not a bad thing, and it could help, but your bed may not be baby-proof and it may lead to further problems with settling them in the long term.
Long-term attachment issues may also arise from co-sleeping.
When the baby gets older and you may not want them to sleep with you on the same bed any longer, it may be difficult to get them to sleep on their own bed as they may not be ready to leave the nest just yet.
It’s easier for them to start off sleeping alone to get used to it for their later stages of life.
Furthermore, in today’s society where parents remain busy with their jobs, the baby may be taken care of in a child care centre or by a friend or relative in the day, and it will be easier for them to get used to this arrangement of sleeping in another bed.
Of course, this personal choice is still yours to make ultimately depending on your family situation and needs, for every family is different.
If you still feel like co-sleeping is better and you don’t mind it, here are some safety precautions you can take:
- Let your baby sleep on their back, and never on their tummy or side.
- Don’t cover your baby’s head with anything while sleeping.
- Ensure that your bed is firm and that they are not sleeping on something soft like a water bed or a pillow.
- Don’t use heavy quilts, but use lightweight blankets instead, or even an infant sleeping bag.
- Don’t let your baby sleep in between both parents, but instead keep them beside one parent to reduce the risk of getting squashed.
- Your baby should sleep far from the edge where they cannot fall off the bed, but away from any walls or pillows as they could suffocate.
- Keep the sleep environment smoke-free.
It sounds like there are many things to consider, but I imagine it is only part and parcel of the journey of life. Happy parenting!
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