Co-sleeping is also known as bed-sharing or sleep-sharing and has become quite popular in the United States in the last decade. A national study found that about 13 percent of parents co-sleep with their infant – A number that has doubled in the past few years. Co-sleeping is a hot topic to debate and continues to be. Let’s delve into this a bit more.

Why Parents Who Co-Sleep Choose to Do So:

  • Makes it easier for the mother to breastfeed her child

  • Helps the baby fall asleep better and it provides a more sound sleep through the night

  • Helps the parents bond with their child during sleep, especially the parent who is gone during the work day

Though these reasons make sense to parents who co-sleep, Jolly Fun House Playschools does not recommend co-sleeping for a few reasons.

Safety Concerns

A study found that parents who co-sleep with their infant increase the baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) five times more than families who don’t practice co-sleeping. This number is astounding. The study also found that eighty-eight percent of the deaths that occurred while co-sleeping would not have happened if the babies had been placed in a cot or bassinet next to the parents’ beds.

Many who co-sleep think it is fine as long as neither parent has been drinking, has taken prescription or illegal drugs, or smokes, which is believed to increase the chance of SIDS even more.

British and American researchers alike believe that if parents didn’t co-sleep with their infant then the rate of SIDS would decrease dramatically. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) strongly recommends parents not have their babies sleep with them because practicing co-sleeping puts the babies at risk of accidental suffocation and strangulation. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also agrees that co-sleeping is unsafe but does suggest room-sharing. They even make bassinets or cribs that attach to the bed of parents so parents can be next to their baby while sleeping without the possibility of rolling over them or the baby being suffocated or strangled by blankets or from flipping over on his or her stomach.

Parent Privacy & Lack of Sleep

Co-sleeping can cause a rift in the intimacy of the parents. It can cause one spouse to become resentful if the other spouse chooses independently to enable co-sleeping. Remember that it’s important that you and your spouse share closeness and alone time which helps keep the flame alive in your relationship and/or marriage. If you’re a single parent, it’s important to find alone time for yourself while sleeping as well. It’s a time for you to restore yourself.

Parents can also suffer with not getting quality sleep at night if they co-sleep. One parent needs to stay somewhat awake to make sure him or herself or their spouse does not roll over the baby accidentally and to watch that the baby does not suffocate or become stuck in between the headboards or pillows. Even if both parents fall asleep soundly with their baby between them, the baby may wake them up throughout the night for breast milk feedings he or she wouldn’t need if weren’t laying right next to the mother. Babies tend to want more breast milk at night when they can smell it on their mothers, causing them to feed not out of hunger but simply because the scent is a trigger.  It’s important for the parents to get good quality sleep at night to be refreshed for the next day. Or at least somewhat quality sleep!

A Difficult Habit to Break

Co-sleeping can develop a difficult habit to break over time. If your child becomes acclimated with sleeping next to you or you and your spouse, it can become a hard task to transition your child to sleeping alone in his or her crib or bed.

Jolly Fun House Playschools Recommendation:

Of course, you and your family need to decide what is right for you.  Please keep in mind that Jolly Fun House Playschools strongly recommends to not even consider this method before the infant is at least three months of age and then only if the baby has been placed in a cot or bassinet next to the parents’ bed. SWEET DREAMS!