The image of a baby and parent dozing off together isn’t an uncommon one, but the practice of co sleeping, or sharing a bed with your infant, is controversial in the US. Supporters of co sleeping believe that a parent’s bed is just where an infant belongs; but is it safe?
Co sleeping is a widespread practice, it has its pros and cons. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says it is a huge risk to put an infant to sleep in an adult bed because a risk of suffocation and strangulation. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) agrees.
In many non- Western cultures, differences in mattresses, bedding, and other cultural practice may account for a lower risk in suffocation or strangulation compared with the U.S.
Co sleeping advocates say it isn't inherently dangerous and that the CPSC went too far in recommending that parents never sleep with children under 2 years of age. According to supporters of co sleeping, parents won't roll over onto a baby because they're conscious of the baby's presence — even during sleep.
In addition to the potential safety risks, sharing a bed with a baby can sometimes prevent parents from getting a good night's sleep. And infants who co sleep can learn to associate sleep with being close to a parent in the parent's bed, which may become a problem at naptime or when the infant needs to go to sleep before the parent is ready.
But can co sleeping cause SIDS? The connection between co sleeping and SIDS is unclear and research is ongoing. Some co sleeping researchers have suggested that it can reduce the risk of SIDS because co sleeping parents and babies tend to wake up more often throughout the night. However, the AAP reports that some studies suggest that, under certain conditions, co sleeping may increase the risk of SIDS, especially co sleeping environments involving mothers who smoke.
· 121 of the deaths of infants were attributed to a parent, caregiver, or sibling rolling on top of or against a baby while sleeping.
· More than 75% of the deaths involved infants were younger than 3 months old.
· suffocation when an infant gets trapped or wedged between a mattress and headboard, wall, or other object
· suffocation resulting from a baby being face-down on a waterbed, a regular mattress, or on soft bedding such as pillows, blankets, or quilts
· strangulation in a bed frame that allows part of an infant's body to pass through an area while trapping the baby's head
Why should you co sleep with your baby?
· It encourages breastfeeding by making night time breastfeeding more convenient.
· It helps parents whom are separated from their babies during the day to regain the closeness with their infant that they feel they missed.
· It helps babies fall asleep more easily, especially during their first few months ad when they wake up in the middle of the night.
· Makes it easier for a nursing mother to get her sleep cycle in sync with her baby’s.
· It helps babies get more night time sleep (because they awake more frequently with shorter durations of feeds, which can add up to a greater amount of sleep throughout the night).