What is co-sleeping? When parents share their bed with their infant. It is pretty controversial in the United States. Is it loving your child or is it not safe?
I know plenty of parents who do it because it is so hard to get their kids to go to sleep…but honestly, the parents I do know that don’t do it have a better quality of life and their children seem to be more independent.
Why do some people choose to co-sleep?
- Encourages breastfeeding by making nighttime breastfeeding more convenient
- Makes it easier for a nursing mother to get her sleep cycle in sync with her baby’s
- Helps babies fall asleep more easily, especially during their first few months and when they wake up in the middle of the night
- Helps babies get more nighttime sleep (because they awaken more frequently with shorter duration of feeds, which can add up to a greater amount of sleep throughout the night)
- Helps parents who are separated from their babies during the day regain the closeness with their infant that they feel they missed
Safety Hazard to Co-sleep?
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns parents not to place their infants to sleep in adult beds, stating that the practice puts babies at risk of suffocation and strangulation. And the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) agrees.
Other Risks of Co-Sleeping?
- Other children — particularly toddlers — because they might not be aware of the baby’s presence
- Parents who are under the influence of alcohol or any drug because that could diminish their awareness of the baby
- Parents who smoke because the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is greater
Tips to helping your child sleep alone:
- Eliminate distractions: remove TVs, computers, and other electronic devices from your kiddo’s room to create an environment meant for sleep.
- Routine, Routine, Routine: establish a bedtime routine where your child takes a warm bath, puts on their PJs, brushes their teeth and then read a few nice bedtime stories together. In this way your child feels more secure about going to bed and helps them out psychologically by reducing nighttime anxiety.
- Leave the room: leave the room before your child falls asleep so that he or she is not depending on you being in the room to actually fall asleep.
- No Monsters: add security by giving your child stuffed animals, fav blankies to reassure your children of “happy” things in their room and not scary monsters under the bed.
- Be consistent: if your child crawls into bed with you in the middle of night, take your wandering kiddo back to his or her room and assure them they must stay in their room and then go back to your bed. Don’t try to explain too much or you will be giving into what they want, for you to stay with them in their room at their bed.
- Reward: once your child starts to try and sleep alone – reward your kiddos with a favorite breakfast, extra bedtime book, anything to make them realize that if they stay in bed, they can be rewarded (just don’t go overboard!)