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Co sleeping is common in other countries around the world, but has not been advocated in the US until recently. Studies are revealing that co sleeping has many benefits for both the parents and the child.
Benefits of bed sharing with your child are:
- Your baby will sleep better. They go to sleep faster and sleep longer than babies who sleep in their own beds. Babies who rouse from sleep can check that they are safe and go back to sleep on their own.
- You will sleep better. There is no waking up in the night wondering if your baby is alright in her crib down the hall. You take a quick peek and back to sleep.
- Breastfeeding is easier. Night feedings can take place without mother or baby becoming fully awake.
- Bonding is attained faster and easier than when baby is in their own bed.
- It gives a sense of connection. Parents who are not with their children during the day are able to realize a sense of connection to make up for being gone all day.
- Your baby will benefit from the extra contact. The benefits are wide ranging, emotionally, physically and intellectually.
- Co sleeping can help reduce the risk of SIDS. Infants who sleep with their mother have better breathing patterns. It may be that the mothers breathing acts as a pacemaker for the child, or that her respiratory gases stimulate the baby to breathe. Research is ongoing.
There are hazards associated with the family bed, namely suffocation and strangulation. These are serious hazards and preparations and cautions must be followed before introducing your baby to the family bed.
- Make sure that the bed itself is safe; headboards and footboards should not have any cutouts that could trap your baby’s head. Check the bed frame to ensure that the mattress fits snugly. A child could become trapped between the bed frame and the mattress.
- Remove all plush bedding; use a minimum of pillows and lightweight blankets.
- Situate your bed away from any windows, draperies or blinds.
When you put your baby to sleep:
- Do not let him sleep in the family bed alone.
- Never let your child’s head become covered when he is sleeping.
 Who should not co sleep?
People who should not be in the family bed are:
- Other children. They are not able to be aware of the baby while they are sleeping and could smother the baby accidentally.
- Anyone under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
- Anyone that takes prescription drugs that would affect their ability to be aware of the baby while they sleep.