Mandy - posted on 10/18/2009 ( 3 moms have responded )
i just found this on the net and thought it was interesting. i thought i would look it up after a COM mum was so adiment that co-sleeping is the worst and most dangerous thing since guns were put on the street (maybe i exagerate a little)
There is a huge array of benefits of co-sleeping, which include:
- Night feeding and nurturing,
- Greater bonding with both parents,
- Positive emotional and physiological responses from the infant,
- Less sleep disruption,
- Shorter night waking periods,
- Less nighttime crying,
- Enhanced breastfeeding,
- Ease of response to baby distress,
- Emotional security for the child,
- Reduction of night terrors
- Greater likelihood of natural child spacing.
Studies in New Zealand and the USA have reported that while infant death does occur in some co-sleeping situations, most of these involve an unsafe sleeping situation (such as a smoking mother or nearby pillows). A 1999 study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (USA) found that while 515 infants died whilst in their parents' bed, on a couch or a beanbag, there were 2,700 babies who died whilst in their cots. Of the 515 infant deaths, at least 394 of these were in situations where parents were not following the stringent safety guidelines for co-sleeping. Does this not suggest that co-sleeping, whether adhering to the strict safety requirements or not, is actually safer for baby than cot sleeping? It could be argued that the cot sleep and co-sleep ratio is uneven, however your own article states that "....in Queensland, 45% of the state's parents at some stage share beds with their babies."
In a laboratory study headed by Dr James McKenna on co-sleeping arrangements, it found that the mother is highly responsive to the infants' movements and spends less time in deep sleep. The infant arouses into light sleep more frequently."The inability for an infant to arouse frequently into light sleep is thought to be one of the underlying causes of SIDS, as arousal deficiencies are suspected in some SIDS deaths" (McKenna 1997). It is interesting to note that he defines co-sleeping as 'sleeping in close proximity to one's infant', where breastfeeding and/or attentiveness can easily be given. This could include arrangements such as a cot used as a 'sidecar' to the parents' bed, or an infant mattress or futon placed next to the parents' bed.
There is nowhere you can put your baby to sleep that is completely risk free, and of course we need to follow the safety guidelines for whichever situation your baby sleeps in, so that our childrens'Ã‚Â¢ safety is maximised. However I believe that co-sleeping ensures that we are there for our son and can better respond to his needs should he require assistance during the night.
"In those infants at risk for SIDS, natural mothering (unrestricted breastfeeding and sharing sleep with baby) will lower the risk of SIDS." (Dr Sears, 1999)