Co-sleeping with your children | The pros and cons

Co sleeping with your children and having a little cuddle with them in your bed can be amongst the sweetest moments you share with your children, but as innocent as it seems, the topic is surrounded by heated debates and divided opinions.

Whilst some claim that co sleeping is the best and easiest way to bring up your children, these claims are fought back at with talks about the risks associated with co-sleeping. The conflicting evidence can make coming to a decision rather difficult for parents but it’s worth knowing the risks and benefits associated with co sleeping so that you can come to the best-informed decision for you and your child to enjoy a healthy and beneficial family sleeping routine.

The difference between co sleeping and bed sharing:

Before moving forward, it’s crucial to understand the difference between bed-sharing and co sleeping. Although the terms are used interchangeably, the two are not exactly the same and have some key differences. 

Co-sleeping refers to sleeping in close proximity to your child whether that be in the same room or on the same bed. 

Bed sharing means sharing the same sleeping surface as your child. In basic terms, bed sharing is a type of co-sleeping but refers solely to sleeping in the same bed as your child whilst co sleeping encompasses many different types. 

Although there are safe ways of co-sleeping, whether that be in a crib, Moses basket or bassinet, bed sharing can unfortunately never be done safely. The reason for this is the increased risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). On the other hand, co-sleeping can be done safely and it is actually recommended until the baby reaches 6 months co-sleeping can only be done safely by room sharing with the baby sleeping in their own crib, bassinet or Moses basket. 

The benefits of co sleeping:

Co-sleeping is a great way for parents to start their parenting journey with their child and the benefits are plentiful. It not only helps to build a close and beautiful connection, it makes parents lives a lot easier. However, remember that the benefits of co-sleeping only apply to safe co sleeping and not to bed sharing. The benefits include:

  • Co sleeping can improve parents and babies sleep overall. It gives parents peace of mind that they can see and hear their children at all times and babies generally feel more comfortable and at ease surrounded by people.
  • It makes night-time feeds so quick and easy. There is no need to disrupt your night by getting out of bed and entering another room. It can all be done with ease from one room. Not only does that help parents get a better sleep, but it also improves overall mental health.
  • By far, the most important benefit is that co sleeping (room-sharing) can decrease the risk of SIDS by up to 50%. Having your baby close to means that they can easily be monitored, and you can easily be alerted if any issues arise. Safer sleeping for you and your baby!

The cons of co sleeping:

Bed sharing with you baby is one of the most tempting things for a parent. Their cute little cuddles and giggles are more than enough to tempt you to snuggle up under the covers with them. But it is very dangerous so the temptation must be avoided. The cons of bed sharing include:

  • The risk of SIDS increases when your baby sleeps on anything but a mattress with tight sheets and nothing else near them. Around 3500 babies die every year in the USA from sleep related causes. It is crucial that your baby does not sleep near any loose pillows, sheets, toys or anything that can be a potential hazard for suffocation.
  • If parents are extremely tired or in deep sleep, there is a chance that they could roll over onto the child without realising. Alcohol and drugs only increase this risk of SIDS.
  • Babies can also fall off the bed resulting in serious head or body injuries.

Ultimately, bed sharing is never a safe option and should never be done, however room sharing where the baby is sleeping in their own crib, Moses basket, bassinet or any other suitable sleeping item is a good safe option that comes with many benefits. Choosing a suitable and safe crib is also just as important. When considering a crib, think about durability, strength, storage and also the age range the crib is made for. The Lillian Cot Bed and Jo Cot Bed form Bed Arena are a great option. With durable and strong builds that have protecting teething rails and ample storage, they are worthwhile considering when making a decision regarding co sleeping. They can also be converted into a bed for toddlers making them a versatile and worthwhile option.

Although the topic of co sleeping is a controversial one, the key is to find a solution that is healthy and safe for your child to establish a good baby sleep routine. Don’t forget to check out our range of cot beds over at Bed Arena