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Co-sleeping with a baby - advantages and disadvantages of sleeping with a baby

Exhausted from constant lack of sleep and worries about her child, the mother takes the baby into her bed. This makes it much easier to feed him and watch him when he sleeps. But the thought that this could be dangerous for the little man does not leave her head. What if she crushes him with her body at night, or even worse - he suffocates in her arms? How real are such fears?

How to organize co-sleeping with a baby?

Supporters of co-sleeping with a newborn baby note its advantages, but do not forget about some of the disadvantages. Proper organization will help reduce them to a minimum. It is necessary to take into account the main nuances in order to create conditions for maximum safety.

  1. The baby must be absolutely healthy and full-term.
  2. The bedroom must have an appropriate microclimate. The recommended air temperature is not higher than 22 °C. For children over 6 months - up to 20 °C. Humidity - about 50%.
  3. The bedroom must be ventilated before going to bed.

Despite reviews about the benefits of sleeping together with a newborn, it should be remembered that it also has disadvantages. In addition, it will subsequently be difficult to train the child to sleep in his own crib.

Time for crib training

Most psychologists recommend weaning your baby off co-sleeping when he reaches 6 months. During this period, the child makes more active movements, he receives his first complementary foods, and the connection with his mother weakens a little.

In the first days, it will not be easy for parents: the baby will cry, wanting to return to his favorite place to sleep.

But you need to remain calm and confident, and not take the baby into your bedroom. In a couple of days the baby will get used to the new place. Sometimes the process drags on for months.

Other psychologists argue that the best time for accustoming to a separate crib is 2-3 years, when the child is already making conscious actions.

You can already explain to your child that he is old enough to have his own room. But not every parent will be able to sleep with a baby for 3 years.

Accustoming should be gradual; there is no need to suddenly change the atmosphere familiar to the baby.

There are a number of situations in which you should not separate a child from his mother:

  • teething;
  • development of the disease;
  • adaptation period in kindergarten;
  • moving to a new place of residence;
  • the birth of a brother or sister;
  • parents' divorce.

At such moments, you should pay more attention to the baby, as he will be capricious and whiny.

Safety regulations

When deciding to put your child to bed with his parents, you should remember the following safety measures:

  1. It is not recommended to swaddle your baby to avoid overheating. Optimal clothing is light pajamas.
  2. Parents who decide to sleep with their newborn child should not smoke, take alcohol or take psychotropic drugs.
  3. They should not have infectious or viral diseases.
  4. For additional safety of the baby, you can use cocoon cribs.
  5. Nightgowns and pajamas should be made from natural fabrics without long strings
  6. You will also have to give up jewelry.
  7. The child should not be placed on a pillow (harmful for the formation of the spine) and covered with an adult blanket (overheating of the body is possible).

Until what age can a child sleep with his parents?

The deadline until which a child can sleep with his parents is 2 years. It is up to this age that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that mothers breastfeed their children.

Many families where this practice is common leave children in the parents' bedroom until 10-12 months, when the bulk of the child's diet is already solid food and the importance of breastfeeding decreases.

Active supporters of co-sleeping point out that the optimal time for the baby to separate is the 3-year crisis. At this time, the baby awakens a craving for independence, and therefore moving to a separate room or bed to sleep will be perceived as least traumatic.

Domestic pediatricians express the opinion that joint rest should be limited to the first 2-3 months of a baby’s life, when he most needs parental attention, and then put the child in his own crib.

In exceptional cases, a child sleeps with his parents until he is 5-7 years old. But these situations are not the norm and require consultation with a psychologist.

Requirements for a parent's bed

In the absence of a cocoon crib, special requirements are imposed on the parent’s bed:

  • it should be wide enough to provide enough space for the baby;
  • have a high-hardness mattress;
  • the child should sleep between the mother and the wall (if the bed is not near the wall, a fence must be installed on the side where the child will sleep);
  • Change bedding frequently, which should be light, soft and breathable.

Interesting article about how to make a mattress firmer using a mattress pad

Compliance with the above conditions guarantees the child a calm, healthy sleep and the soothing closeness of his mother.

If it is impossible to complete any item, you can solve the problem in the following way. Place the baby crib close to the parents' bed, having first removed or lowered the side wall. In this position, the baby will be in his sleeping place, but next to his mother. The same method can be used to wean a child from his parents' bed.

You can only sleep with a baby on a bed. It is not recommended to place it on folding sofas. Their surface is not intended for newborns.

Which option to choose

If you can’t make a choice and understand how to improve your infant’s sleep, then do this:

  1. For up to 5 months, the baby can sleep in a separate add-on crib, the side panel of which can be removed. This way he is with his mother, but still sleeps in a separate place. You don't have to worry about its safety. And you don’t have to get up for night feedings.
  2. Up to a year, the child rests in a full-fledged separate bed, located in the parents’ bedroom. The baby gradually separates from his mother, but still feels her presence.
  3. After 12 months, it is necessary to move the child to the nursery. If you doubt that you will hear it, install a baby monitor indoors.

After the baby moves into his own room, he must master the method of falling asleep on his own: when his mother puts him in the crib and leaves.

You shouldn't take him to your bed. Your baby may realize how good he is sleeping with you, and he will no longer want to sleep alone. Your efforts will be in vain.

Positions for sleeping together with a baby

When sleeping together with an infant, the mother needs to take care of a comfortable sleeping position. It should be comfortable enough for her (so she can get a good night's sleep) and not dangerous for the baby.

It is better to avoid sleeping on your side. You can carelessly turn forward and crush the child. Sleeping on your stomach will also not be very comfortable. If the baby starts to wake up, you will have to turn around to calm him down. Such movements will disturb the child even more.

The optimal position for sleeping with a baby is on your back. In this position, you can breastfeed the baby without getting out of bed, just turning slightly on your side. Some mothers get used to sleeping in such a position so that feeding does not require unnecessary movements and disturbing the baby.

Bed for co-sleeping with a child

Sleeping together with a newborn will be comfortable on a bed that provides the necessary conditions for the baby and mother.

  • It must be double. Neither a one-and-a-half-bed, nor, especially, a single-bed are suitable for this. It must be taken into account that both mother and child need at least 70–80 cm of sleeping surface. And there may be a happy dad nearby.
  • The child should sleep on a hard surface, which means the parent’s bed mattress should be chosen with a high degree of hardness.

Manufacturers offer special beds for co-sleeping, which provide a special place for the child. It has a small recess to prevent the baby from rolling off, and a protective edge. The sleeping surfaces in such beds have varying degrees of hardness, comfortable for adults and newborns.

  • You can use special “nest” cribs or cocoon cribs for your child, which are installed in the parent’s bed.

Learn more about what a cocoon mattress for newborns is

Arguments for"

given below in defense of co-sleeping seem more than natural.

  1. The child feels protected with his parents. Sleep is the most vulnerable time for any living creature, let alone a tiny baby. After all, just recently he was in his mother’s womb, feeling her heartbeat...
  2. A child's light sleep becomes deeper if the mother is nearby. The baby falls asleep better, wakes up less, and feels alert in the morning—this is how his mental state stabilizes.
  3. Co-sleeping is especially convenient for mothers who practice night feeding with breast milk. There is no need to get up, go to the crib, take the baby in your arms - here he is, very close, getting his milk, and the mother can take a nap at this time. Properly organized night feeding promotes the production of prolactin, which is responsible for the quality and quantity of daily milk.
  4. When sleeping together, it is more convenient for parents to feed the baby from a bottle. Moreover, dad can do this too if mom is tired during the day and wants to get some sleep. It’s easier to control any baby’s needs by feeling him nearby.
  5. Experts believe that the information a child receives during the day is processed by his brain at night. Those. During the day, accumulation occurs, and at night, comprehension occurs, which directly affects the mental and physical development of the baby. A restful sleep nearby and additional time spent with mom and dad forms a positive emotional contact between the child and his parents.
  6. As already mentioned, co-sleeping can partially compensate for the lack of communication in the family. If mom has already returned to work or dad often goes on business trips, the baby’s tactile and emotional needs are satisfied by sleeping together.
  7. Numerous studies show that children who sleep with their parents (or only with their mother) are less susceptible to childhood nightmares and the formation of phobias, they feel more confident, independent, and do not feel a lack of attention from their parents.

Some pediatricians offer an intermediate option : not to separate the child completely, but to place his crib in the parent's bedroom close to the parents' bed or at some distance. Most modern models of cribs provide the ability to remove the front panel. By moving the crib to their bed, parents will feel their baby close, but at the same time he will be provided with his own sleeping place.

Thoughtful sleeping place for a child in a shared bed

How to get enough sleep with a baby

A young mother cannot count on proper sleep. A newborn needs attention even at night. The woman constantly wakes up, gets up, approaches the baby, feeds him, rocks him to sleep. After that he tries to fall asleep again. During the day, when the child is sleeping, it is necessary to do the current homework, and it is not possible to get enough sleep again.

Chronic lack of sleep causes depression, milk loss, appearance changes, and health worsens. There is an urgent need to find a way to get enough sleep at night.

Co-sleeping with a baby has become a good way to increase the duration and quality of a mother's rest. The baby is nearby. Any anxiety he has is immediately felt. A few soothing movements can quickly calm your baby. You can also feed him without getting out of bed. A young mother has more time to relax.

You recently became a mother and have already experienced all the delights of chronic lack of sleep - try co-sleeping with your baby. It will be useful for both the baby and you. A child who hears his mother’s breathing and her heartbeat sleeps much more peacefully and wakes up less often at night, which means you will also have the opportunity to get a good night’s sleep. The main thing is to take all safety measures and choose a suitable bed.

Ways to fall asleep without your parents

Methods of how to wean a child from sleeping with his mother differ depending on the age of the particular child.

But there are a few basic principles to keep in mind if you want to wean your child without harming him.

  • Give your child enough attention during the day;

The baby should have enough tactile and verbal contact when awake. Under no circumstances should you avoid emotional closeness and confidential communication with your child.

  • Be firm, consistent and firm in your decision to move your child to a separate sleeping area or to another room;

Do not under any circumstances interrupt the work you have started and do not give in to the baby’s persuasion (and sometimes hysterics) if they arise. Be persistent and confident that you are right, but be sure to be kind and gentle towards your little miracle.

  • Do not make fun of children's fears, try to understand the feelings of your son or daughter.

Together, find and eliminate the reason that causes negative emotions;

  • Maintain a constant schedule of activity and rest;

Go to bed at the same time, create your own unique bedtime ritual. The child must be sure that he is loved and safe.

Avoid active games, excess impressions and prolonged viewing of TV in the evening.

Before going to bed, give your baby a soothing bath with the addition of sea salt or herbal infusions (chamomile, string, mint, lemon balm, sage).

Using gentle stroking movements, massage the baby's entire body, starting with the legs and arms. Massage your fingers and toes first, then move on to the muscles of your arms and legs, and lastly stroke your back and tummy.

Sing lullabies to your child, read fairy tales or poems before bed.

Such daily procedures, like nothing else, help him become convinced of the inviolability and reliability of the world.

Mom and dad need to know that there is nothing terrible or reprehensible in the fact that their boy or girl will come to them for 1-2 hours in the morning to soak under a common blanket.

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