We find that the benefits of co-sleeping or bed sharing compared to babies who sleep alone include:
· More stable temperatures (Richard, et al., 1996)
There are even long term benefits of bed sharing vs. sleeping alone, including:
Personally, I find that co-sleeping provides a better sleeping experience for all of us without the anxiety of sleeping alone. I don’t have to wonder if my daughter’s warm, crying, hungry, or breathing. In fact, she will give feeding cues while she’s still sleeping instead of waking up and screaming. It makes for a much more peaceful night to say the least! I save a lot of time and energy by co-sleeping as well, since I don’t have to get out of bed to feed my daughter. I just pull her over to me, feed her, and I either pull her back up to my head when she’s done or we fall asleep just like we are (with no blankets above her armpits, of course)! The only downside I’ve found is that she still wakes up every three hours to eat at the ripe old age of six months. I’ve read that it’s very common for co-sleeping babies to wake up more often during the night and eat more often during the night. This may be attributed to the fact that when sleeping together, people tend to adapt the same sleep cycle habits. On the one hand, the waking up is annoying, but on the other hand, I don’t mind because we still get a better night’s sleep overall and if she’s waking up, I know for sure that she’s still breathing.
A lot of information? Yes. Worth the knowing, though? Without question! Now…what are your thoughts on the matter?
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Heron, P. (1994). Non-Reactive Cosleeping and Child Behavior: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep All Night, Every Night. (Master’s thesis, Department of Psychology, University of Bristol).
McKenna, J., et al (1994). Experimental studies of infant-parent co-sleeping: Mutual physiological and behavioral influences and their relevance to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Early Human Development, 38, 187-201.
Nelson, E., et al. (2001) International Child Care Practice Study: Infant Sleeping Environment. Early Human Development, 62, 43-55.
Richard, C., et al. (1996). Sleeping Position, Orientation, and Proximity in Bedsharing Infants and Mothers. Sleep, 19, 667-684.
Crawford, M. (1994). Parenting Practices in the Basque Country: Implications of Infant and Childhood Sleeping Location for Personality Development. Ethos, 22(1), 42-82.
Forbes, J., et al. (1992). The Cosleeping Habits of Military Children. Military Medicine, 157, 196-200.