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As first-time moms, we tend to get anxious about every aspect of caring for our baby. And one of those aspects is the sleep arrangement.
There are important co-sleeping benefits to be aware of along with risks and differentiating between closely-related terms to co-sleeping like bed sharing and room sharing.
You might’ve heard co-sleeping and bed sharing used interchangeably. But it’s important to note that they are NOT the same thing.
Co-sleeping is a more general term for a parent sleeping by or around their baby. And bed sharing is one example of co-sleeping.
Unlike the general term, bed sharing is a specific term describing when a parent sleeps on the same bed as their baby. And room sharing is a specific term describing when a parent is sleeping in the same room but on a separate surface.
There are a lot of opinions out there about co-sleeping and bed sharing. But I’m providing factual information provided by accredited sites.
Read more about my personal experience with bed sharing.
What does the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend?
According to American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), room sharing without bed sharing is included on the list of AAP safe sleep environment recommendations.
It’s recommended that infants sleep in the parents’ room on a separate surface like a crib, portable crib, or bassinet for at least 6 months, preferably a year.
What are the benefits of co-sleeping?
One of the most important benefits of co-sleeping (room sharing) is the reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Another benefit is that moms tend to breastfeed for longer when co-sleeping. And a longer breastfeeding journey is beneficial because breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.
The reason being is because breastmilk is digested quicker than formula. Therefore, breastfed babies tend to eat more frequently than formula-fed babies.
As a result of this- it makes it much easier when breastfeeding moms are an arm’s length away from their baby to easily breastfeed and be able to hear their baby quicker than if they were in a different room.
And as Leslie Solomonian, B.S., a doctor of naturopathic medicine stated in NY Metro Parents, room sharing helps parents connect with their babies more and promotes healthy neurotransmitters and hormones in the body.
Overall, there are emotional and social benefits to co-sleeping.
What are the risks of co-sleeping?
The biggest risk of co-sleeping is the temptation of bringing your baby back in bed, also known as bed-sharing. Bed-sharing has been associated with a high risk of SIDS.
American Academy of Pediatrics advises against bed-sharing. But understands there are times where parents will fall asleep with their baby while feeding.
And AAP mentioned there is evidence that suggests it’s less hazardous to fall asleep with the baby on an adult bed versus a sofa.
A drawback of co-sleeping could also be the lack of privacy for you and your partner.
When should I start sleep training my baby?
It’s recommended to co-sleep until your baby is at least 6 months.
And parents can begin sleep training their baby after 6 to 12 months.
However, if your sleep routine is going well and everyone is happy then you don’t necessarily have to sleep train your baby.
Overview Of Co-Sleeping
Co-sleeping and bed-sharing are not exactly the same. You can think of co-sleeping as the main tree and branching off this tree are bed sharing and room sharing.
Ultimately, whether you choose to co-sleep (room share or bed share) is up to your family dynamic and personal preference. I hope these co-sleeping benefits help in your decision-making!