Co-sleeping, by definition, is the sharing of a sleep space with your baby. This could mean having a sidecar next to the bed, sharing your bed, or having a crib in the room where you are sleeping. In fact, statistics show that this is actually the cultural norm for over ninety percent of the population of the world.
There are a few instances where co-sleeping should not take place, as it would be unsafe. These situations include: waterbeds and couches. It should also be noted that co-sleeping should be done only with mum or dad. This is because the mother is biologically wired for sharing sleep with her infant. Below are some reasons why it is a good idea, and a healthy idea to co-sleep with your baby.
⦁ Your Baby’s Deep Physiological Connection to You
In recent studies it has been shown that when an infant sees his/her mother, the baby synchronises her heart rate to that of the father or mother when they approach. This did not happen when a stranger approached a baby. This suggests that infants are intertwined in a homeostatic relationship, with the infant getting in sync with the parents to achieve a balance of some sort.
This has a direct correlation to the idea of co-sleeping with your baby. Babies who sleep near or with their mother enjoy a firm and joyful sense of protection. For parents, this is a state of sleep called ‘protective arousal.’ This state of sleep allows them to be more easily awakened if there is breathing difficulties or a health crisis.
Infants who sleep with or near their parents also seem to have more stable temperatures, fewer long pauses in breathing, and regular heart rhythms, as opposed to babies who sleep alone. This simply means that babies that co-sleep tend to sleep physiologically safer.
⦁ The Parent Keeps the Baby Safe
Mothers become deeply attuned with their babies. This is often to the point where the sleep cycles of the mother and baby become synchronised so closely that both naturally transition to sleep within a few seconds of one another.
Studies have shown that babies and mothers who sleep close together often have similar protective patterns of sleep. Mothers have a heightened sense of awareness to the presence of the infant, which in turn protects the baby. A mother who co-sleeps is more mindful if her baby is in danger of some sort.
⦁ Mum Gets More Sleep
Researchers have discovered that co-sleeping babies and mothers sleep longer than those who do not. The trade-off here is that the sleep is lighter than if you were to sleep alone. This is also true for the baby, and there are good reasons for this.
The reasons are that most breastfed babies who sleep with their mum spend less time in deep sleep because it is safer and more physiologically appropriate. This is because it is easier to awaken and stop any apnoea that may be occurring. Apnea, which is periods when a baby stops breathing, usually occurs in a state of deep sleep.
⦁ Co-Sleeping makes Breastfeeding Easier
Babies who co-sleep with their mum oftentimes nurse twice as much as those who sleep by themselves. This is beneficial to mum in helping to maintain milk supply, in suppressing ovulations, and also to help the baby who might be small due to gaining less weight.
The biggest plus side to breastfeeding in bed is you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night several times to nurse. Getting up to breastfeed can be much more exhausting than co-sleeping in a lighter state.
⦁ A Lot of Mothers Enjoy the Connection
Many mothers love the deep emotional connection that is garnered through co-sleeping with their baby. The first memory of baby is looking in to their eyes every morning and snuggling in close. There is no better way to bond than to share proximity with your baby.
Finding the Right way to Co-Sleep
There are many options for co-sleeping safely. These options include: cots, cribs, and co-sleeping beds.
A cot or co-sleeping bed of some sort is a good solution that will enable the mum to keep her baby very close while not having them directly in the bed with her. These are just bassinettes or cribs that allow for the baby to sleep on its own while still being by the parent’s side. In this scenario the baby can still be within arm’s reach.
These cots are made specifically to fit right up against the bed and can have a side lowered to be right next to the bedside. Some of these cots can last from the new-born age to six months, usually until baby can sit up.
So, if you want to enjoy the benefits of co-sleeping without the potential risks of putting your infant in bed with you, one of these co-sleeper cots is an easy solution.
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