Since civilization began, mothers have taken advantage of the convenience of sleeping with their babies. It has only been in the past two centuries among industrialized and Western nations that sleeping separately from your baby has become appropriate. Research shows that infants who share a bed with their mothers cry less often and nurse for longer periods of time. Co-sleeping will provide extra nourishment at night and added protection for your baby. Sleeping with the mother gives the baby a steady supply of feelings and sensations that could possibly compensate for the neurological immaturity an infant has at birth.
Co-sleeping may provide some protections from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Infants who sleep with their mothers sleep less soundly and have an increased awareness of the maternal presence. Some SIDS death have been associated with arousal deficiencies in the part of the infant. The increased arousal of the infant by the presence of the mother could make a difference in the number of SIDS deaths experienced in this country each year, although this has yet to be proven scientifically.
The habits of the parents must be considered in determining if co-sleeping is right for a particular baby. Smoking, drugs, or alcohol are the predominant factors in cases where the baby is accidentally smothered. Co-sleeping has been practiced for thousands of years until relatively recently. The benefits of co-sleeping are numerous while the disadvantages are few. Use your own judgment and take into consideration your lifestyle when deciding if co-sleeping is right for you and your baby. The changing views of the past several decades have made the practice of co-sleeping undesirable in some cultures. Our ancestors routinely slept with their babies as a means of protection and convenience. Only you can decide if co-sleeping is appropriate for your family.
Jennifer Houck is a proud attachment mom to two beautiful girls. Be sure to visit her at http://www.attachmentmoms.com and http://www.ilovebeingamom.com