Worshiped by some and criticized by others, co-sleeping is surrounded by numerous myths. But what is co-sleeping after all? Find it out below; then, if you believe sharing the bed is for you, check out the top twenty myths and truths about co-sleeping.
What Is Co-Sleeping?
Also called bed-sharing, co-sleeping is just what it seems it is – sleeping in the same bed with your baby. You won’t be able to share the crib, obviously, so this practice refers to babies sleeping in the parents’ bed.
Some parents prefer to sleep with their child from birth. Others start co-sleeping when the baby is already a toddler. While a host of other parents claim that co-sleeping is dangerous and inappropriate. So, what’s the truth?
While co-sleeping can indeed be dangerous, there are ways to make it safe. If you want to find out more, check out these myths and truths you should know before you get started.
Myth #1: It Is Always Dangerous
Co-sleeping can be dangerous, but not always. Studies have shown that co-sleeping is above all dangerous if the parents are smokers or if they have been consuming alcohol or drugs before going to sleep. Overheating is another cause of sudden infant death syndrome and it can be solved with a special co-sleeper bassinet.
The market is full of solutions that can make co-sleeping a safe reality. Just make sure you never place a newborn or infant between you and your partner.
Myth #2: It Kills The Romance
Many criticizers of co-sleeping claim it kills the romance. But sleeping with your baby doesn’t mean intimacy is over. Be creative and find ways to enjoy romantic moments with your partner even if you’re sharing the bed with your bundle of joy.
By doing this, co-sleeping can actually spice things up in your relationship.
Myth #3: It Is Okay Only For Light Sleepers
Co-sleeping is okay for all parents who feel like sharing their sleeping space with the new member of the family. And is equally dangerous for all types of sleepers. Just because you’re a light sleeper it doesn’t mean you can’t roll over the newborn, or that you’ll feel when loose bed sheets suffocate your bundle of joy.
Regardless of the type of sleep you experience, you should always place the newborn in a co-sleeping bassinet and follow all rules to prevent accidents.
Myth #4: A Tragedy Can’t Happen To You
Yes, it can. Just read Myth #3 again and remember that tragedies can happen to anyone. Yet, tragedies can happen even if the baby sleeps in his own room, so there are no guarantees whatsoever.
Myth #5: It Kills Baby’s Independence
Some parents claim that co-sleeping makes the baby dependent on the parents. However, studies have shown that this isn’t true. Babies who sleep in the same bed with their parents develop an independence similar to babies who sleep alone in their room.
On the contrary, co-sleeping may come with benefits for your little one.
Myth #6: It Prevents Kids From Sleeping Alone
Another concern is that co-sleeping may prevent kids from sleeping alone, hardening the transition from the parents’ bedroom to their own bedroom. But this isn’t true.
According to research, at some point kids just have the initiative to transition to their own bed. This usually happens at about three or four years of age and marks the development of a sense of independence in the child. Sure, not all kids transition to their room at this age and some may even transition from their room to the parents’ bedroom even if they have slept alone until now.
Myth #7: It Can Spoil The Baby
There are many things that can spoil a baby, but co-sleeping isn’t one of them. It’s more of an excuse for parents who just don’t want to share their bed with the child.
Myth #8: You’ll Have To Sleep When Baby Is Sleeping
Another myth is that you’ll have to sleep when the baby is sleeping, but that’s not true either. Certainly, having an infant sleep alone in an adult bed is unsafe. But again, a bassinet solves the issue. Or you can place the baby to sleep in the crib and take him in your bed during the night breastfeeding.
Myth #9: It Can Awake The Sleeping Baby
If you’re concerned that your movements may awake your sleeping baby, you may be wrong. By co-sleeping, babies become immune to surrounding sounds and movements and learn how to sleep even when the environment is not perfectly quiet.
In the long run, this can turn into a real benefit.
Myth #10: It Has No Benefits
Many parents and even practitioners claim that co-sleeping doesn’t have any benefits whatsoever. This isn’t true. To find out which they are, check the section below to find out the top truths about co-sleeping.
Truth #1: It Encourages Breastfeeding
The first months with a newborn are exhausting for everyone, but take their toll especially on the breastfeeding mom. After many sleep-deprived nights, you’ll lose all motivation to get up and breastfeed your baby. And this can mark the beginning of formula feeding for most families.
But co-sleeping solves this issue. You won’t have to get out of the bed to feed your child. Just raise your shirt and allow the baby to latch when it’s feeding time. Then, you can both fall asleep when the baby is full.
Truth #2: Is More Frequent Than You Thought
Truth: there are many parents who practice co-sleeping, it’s just that some of them don’t admit it. This happens because they are afraid of being judged. But the truth is you shouldn’t be ashamed of anything that has to do with your family.
If you feel co-sleeping can work for you, practice it. If you’d rather teach the baby to sleep alone, that’s fine too. As long as everything you do is for the good of the baby, nobody should have the courage to judge your actions.
Truth #3: It Can Be Safe
As mentioned above, co-sleeping is dangerous. But you can make it safe. Place the crib near the bed to create a safe environment for the child. Or use a co-sleeping bassinet. Bed bumpers placed between you and the baby is a good solution for co-sleeping with a toddler.
When in doubt, just ask for professional advice.
Truth #4: It Improves The Quality Of Sleep
Co-sleeping is good for everyone, as long as you respect all safety measures. Just imagine not having to get out of the bed if the baby starts crying or if she’s hungry. By feeling you close, the baby’s quality of sleep will also improve. And the dad will also be able to rest better.
Truth #5: It Can Boost Baby’s Confidence
According to scientists, babies who sleep with their parents develop a greater confidence and become more independent than babies who sleep alone. Some parents may believe the contrary is true, but the needs of co-sleeping babies are addressed quickly and with no fuss.
On the contrary, babies who sleep alone develop uncertainties and insecurities that can lead to a lower confidence with consequences on the future development.
Truth #6: It Soothes The Baby
Co-sleeping not only helps the baby sleep better by soothing him, but it actually helps the baby learn how to self-soothe. In fact, the movements of the parents and their sounds may easily wake up a newborn after the four months sleep regression. But at the same time, your child will learn how to fall asleep on his own.
By feeling your presence, the baby won’t start crying and will just self-soothe back to sleep.
Truth #7: It Syncs Your Sleeping Cycles
Another great advantage of co-sleeping is that it synchronizes your sleeping cycle with that of the baby. This means less fatigue and a greater will to engage in activities during the day-
Truth #8: It Encourages Intimacy
Co-sleeping creates a unique bond between parents and child. You’ll have the chance to practice skin-on-skin sleeping and breastfeeding and the relationship with your baby will just get deeper.
At the same time, co-sleeping will also encourage intimacy between baby and dad, a figure who is less present in the baby’s life when the little one sleeps in his own bed.
Truth #9: It Can Boost Baby’s Development
Thanks to all advantages mentioned above, co-sleeping has a positive impact on the baby’s development and health. In fact, sleeping with the parents can improve a baby’s heartbeat and breathing, they sleep more soundly and sleeping in the same bed can even reduce the risk of SIDS in some circumstances.
However, the American Association of Pediatrics recommends for the baby to sleep in the same room with the parents but not in the same bed.
Truth #10: Co-Sleeping Really Works
As odd as it may seem, co-sleeping really works. You’ll just have to find a way that works for you but more often than not, you’ll develop a more positive relationship with both your baby and your partner.
Certainly, some parents may still prefer sleeping in separate rooms. If you’re one of them, know that there is nothing wrong with your choice. After all, each family adopts the solution that best works in their case.