When it comes to parenting, everyone seems to have an opinion, and rightfully so, especially if you are yourself a parent. But what about controversial topics? Is there a right or wrong way to raise your children? Are there certain things that you should or should not be doing? Of course, some things are more important than others. But new advice given by a pediatrician suggests children should sleep in bed with their mothers until they reach the age of three.”
A recent article in Daily Mail, Dr. Nils Bergman, of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, starts that “Their hearts were also under more stress… Sleeping alone makes it harder for mother and child to bond – and damages the development of the brain, leading to bad behavior as the child grows up…”
Multiple studies claim that co-sleeping leads to more sudden infant deaths, but mounting evidence suggests that there are other critical factors in these deaths and that babies shouldn’t sleep alone.
As explained by Dr. James McKenna Ph.D. of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, and author of Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Cosleeping, countries with the highest numbers of moms sleeping with their babies is associated with the lowest infant mortality rates. And, it is critical to recognize these additional factors when issuing recommendations whether moms should co-sleep in the same bad with their baby, sleep with them in the same room but in separate beds, or have them sleep in a separate room.
In an article in The Independent, Dr. Berman details some of these other factors: “When babies are smothered and suffer cot deaths, it is not because their mother is present. It is because of other things: toxic fumes, cigarettes, alcohol, big pillows, and dangerous toys.”
“Animal studies have linked the combination of stress and lack of sleep to behavioral problems in teenage years… and changes to the brain brought on by stress hormones may make it more difficult to form relationships later on, leading to problems such as promiscuity,” he adds.
No matter what you decide regarding co-sleeping with your baby, it is recommended to read Dr. McKenna’s article referenced here, in the sources below, because it explains the controversy regarding co-sleeping and it can help you make the optimal decision depending on your lifestyle, financial situation, and housing.
If you have doubts in regards to co-sleeping and its safety, you can practice it by putting your baby to sleep in a separate bassinet next to your bed. “Putting the baby’s crib or bassinet in your room means your baby is right there with you—steps away,” says Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, a family practitioner in Kingsport, Tennessee, and co-author of The Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth. “But she’s in her crib, which is the safest place for a baby to sleep. Your baby’s crib should be her safe haven. This is what’s best—for her and for you—and what will help you both get the most sleep!”