When you're averaging a few hours a sleep a night due to a crying baby, you may be tempted to put him or her in bed next to you. Better sleep for you and the baby right? Seems like an easy decision to make. However, visions of rolling over your little one may make the choice a bit more complicated. In the difficult decision to either co-sleep (sleep with your baby) or put baby in his or her crib, what is the right thing to do? With parents on both sides of the crib of this heated debate, one thing is for sure-there are no easy answers. Parents should weigh in the pros and cons of sleeping with their baby and then decide what's right for them and their little one.
Let's start with the negatives. Here are a few cons for sleeping with your baby:
1. Short-term solution may create a long-term problem. The Mayo Clinic says that "bed sharing" makes it difficult for babies to get to sleep on their own. So while you may be temporarily relieved to get your baby asleep quickly, you may have problems down the road with getting them comfortable in their crib.
2. Increase potential risks. Although the risk for Sudden Infant Syndrome or SIDS is controversial, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents avoid sleeping with their babies. In fact, they advise against having babies sleep in adult beds at all.
3. Decreased intimacy with partner. You might feel closer to baby but less so with your partner since you literary may be putting the baby in between you.
If you decide not to sleep with your baby but are still having trouble getting
him or her to sleep, you can try other sleep strategies such as letting your
baby cry him or herself to sleep, create a bedtime ritual or try the Ferber
sleep method. This involves putting your baby to sleep while they are still
up but sleepy. You can also put the crib right next to you to minimize the hassle
of getting up and walking to the nursery.
Here are some of the positives for sharing your bed with baby:
1. Increased bonding time. Sleeping with your baby is a great way to spend time bonding with baby.
2. It's Convenient. It is convenient to have baby near you especially when you are breastfeeding.
3. It is comforting for baby. Babies who sleep next to mothers may sleep more
soundly and cry less.
If reading the pros of sleeping baby makes you want to try it, then remember to be as safe as you can by following these suggestions: make sure to baby on her or his back, do not drink alcohol or take medications that will make you drowsy, and put adequate barriers such as two adults and not pillows to prevent baby from falling off the bed.
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