Sleeping in the same bed with parents or bed-sharing is just one of the co-sleeping methods practiced by certain families, being more often found in nursing mothers. Basically, it means that the parent or parents sleep in the same bed with the child. The main problem raised by the sharing of the conjugal bed with the baby is related to its safety. While some specialists oppose this practice, others argue that some precautionary measures can be taken to help breastfeeding or still recovering mothers after birth, to keep their baby as close to them as possible, so that they and feed it as easily as possible.
Correct information, the key to all problems
According to studies, most breastfeeding mothers do not plan to sleep with their children. Many even fully declare against this practice. In reality, after birth, due to the exhaustion caused by that go between their bed and the baby, up to three quarters of the new mothers end up moving their baby to the conjugal bed, even for a short period of time. In these conditions, it is necessary to inform the parents regarding the risks and benefits of sharing the same sleeping space.
The advantages of bed-sharing
All specialists agree that bed-sharing is a natural, natural and welcome choice when breastfeeding. Moreover, there are numerous studies that certify this practice as safe when the baby is breast-fed.
1. Facilitates and supports breastfeeding
When the baby sleeps next to his mother, there are more breastfeeding sessions at night, which helps to maintain milk production and stimulate lactation. The more the baby sucks, the more breasts the milk produces. In addition, breast milk rich in antibodies and nutrients helps the baby grow healthy and strong.
2. The child is more protected
The risk of accidental suffocation of the baby sleeping with his mother is very small, because he instinctively adopts the curly cuddle position. It practically hugs the baby, while breastfeeding it in a horizontal position, creating a protective "barrier" with the hand and knees. The specialists say that this posture is instinctual, being extremely common in the animal world.
3. Mum and baby sleep better and longer
When the child sleeps separately, his mother, although she wakes up less rarely, is more alert during the waking moments, by implication feeling a bigger obsession. It has been scientifically proven that mothers who sleep separately from their babies have higher levels of stress hormones (cortisol) in the blood. On the contrary, bed-sharing decreases the level of stress and exhaustion felt by the breastfeeding mother, helping her to relax and to send the baby a positive state.
4. The mother-child bond is stronger
Bed-sharing has great benefits on strengthening the emotional and emotional bond between mother and child. Sleeping on the mother's chest, the baby feels protected, cared for, loved and safe, which has a positive impact on his development from a psychological point of view.
Safety in bed-sharing: risk factors
Controversies on this topic have led researchers to investigate bed-sharing cases with tragic end. Most of the deaths in babies who shared the bed with their parents had one of the following causes:
- the adult who slept next to the baby had consumed alcohol, drugs or drugs in quantities greater than the prescribed dose, or in combination with other substances, which led to a deep sleep;
- the adult accidentally fell asleep on the couch, with the baby beside him, and the little boy slipped, staying trapped between the parent and the back of the couch.
Dr. James J. McKenna, a world-renowned specialist in sleep safety, believes that the overwhelming majority of these deaths were caused by at least one independent risk factor associated with sudden infant death syndrome.
The factors incriminated by the expert include:
- the child was placed on the belly, in the parents' bed, without supervision, or with other children in the bed;
- the baby was laid on a pillow;
- the baby slept in the same bed with the smoking mother, which compromised the baby's ability to wake up, when he did not have enough oxygen to breathe;
-The parent with whom he shared the bed had consumed drugs or alcohol.
Sleeping on the tummy seems to be a risk factor for SMSS (sudden infant death syndrome). According to the studies, one of the possible causes of the syndrome of sudden death in infants would be the defect or the weak development of certain areas of the baby's brain, which are responsible for the awakening and for the reaction of the child to some dangerous situations. Thus, if a baby with such a defect is put to sleep on the belly or on a soft pillow, or is covered with a blanket too thick, he will not be able to wake up if he gets to bury his face in the pillow or if the bladder gets to him. on face.
General safety rules for bed-sharing
If you breastfeed your baby and want to sleep in the same bed with you, consider the following recommendations:
- If your baby is premature or has a low birth weight, it is good to sleep in the same room as you, but in his crib.
- Do not sleep near the baby if you are smoking or smoking during pregnancy. Statistics indicate that babies who sleep with smoking parents have a much higher risk of sudden death during sleep.
- Do not fall asleep in the same bed with the baby if you have consumed alcohol, sedatives, drugs or any other substance that causes drowsiness or makes you less lucid.
- Do not allow your baby under 1 year to sleep in the same bed with relatives or other children, for reasons related to immunity.
- If you breastfeed, the baby will be safely sleeping next to you.
- Do not shake the baby when you sleep with you in bed, because the baby may overheat. As you probably know, young children are not able to control their body temperature well. Therefore, the child dressed thickly or covered with a warm blanket may become warm, which can lead to stopping breathing and sudden death. Even wrapping it is not good, because the child will not be able to move. If a baby girl accidentally hits her face, the little one may even suffocate. It is enough to dress the baby in a pajamas or a thin body, to prevent excessive sweating.
- If you have long hair, take it in a braided tail, so that there is no risk of getting the baby on his face or sticking it around his neck.
- If you have a deep sleep or are overweight, it is best to lay your baby on a separate sleeping surface, such as his own crib. The sleeping surface must be secure, with the mattress firm and well fixed between the edges of the crib. Also, the sheet should also be well stretched and fastened under the mattress.
In general, sharing the room with the child is considered much safer than sharing the bed. When the baby sleeps in his own bed, located near the parents' bed, he is always under the supervision of the mother and father. In addition, all risks associated with sharing the same bed are eliminated.
Most pediatricians recommend sleeping in the same room with the baby but not sharing the same bed. A child who sleeps in his crib has a twice the risk of SMSS.
How to reduce the risk of sudden death
Although specialists have not been able to fully elucidate the exact causes of SMSS, there are several studies that have identified several factors that increase the risk of sudden death. Therefore, when you sleep with your baby in bed, keep these rules in mind:
1. Always lay the baby on his back. Before you can put him to sleep, hold him upright for 10-15 minutes. This eliminates the risk of regurgitation during sleep and of craving food.
2. Put him on his tummy only if he cannot sleep otherwise and if someone can supervise him permanently.
3. Make sure the sleeping surface is hard and flat.
4. Do not leave soft toys, beds, pillows, strings or ribbons near the baby.
5. Wear it lightly and wrap it with a light blanket, which the baby can easily put aside, if it covers the face.
6. Do not allow anyone to smoke in the room where the child is.
Do you share your bed with your baby? What other tips can you give to moms who practice bed-sharing?
Tags Baby sleep Bed-sharing Sleeping with baby in bed