Myths Of Co Sleeping:
1. Co Sleeping Increases The Risk of SIDS
There isn't a lot known about SIDS and what causes it. Research is constantly contradicting itself when talking about co sleeping and SIDS. Other cultures that co sleep actually have a lot lower incidence of SIDS than here in the US. According to The Other Baby Book, 515 bed sharing deaths occurred over an eight year span, out of a total 33,837 SIDS deaths during that same eight year span. So, 1.5% of those SIDS deaths were due to bed sharing, and it was most likely due to unsafe bed sharing, not bed sharing itself. Many scientist believe that sleeping next to their mother can actually help regulate their breathing and thus prevent SIDS from happening. Durham University, UK and the University of Notre Dame, Indiana did sleep studies that showed mothers instinctively sleeping in a position that best protects their baby. Mothers that co sleep tend to sleep with the infant curled up on their arm, with the mothers legs up. This prevents the other parent from encroaching on the infants sleeping space and this also prevents the infant from falling. (Oddly enough, I do sleep like this when co sleeping with my daughter.)
PinkyMcKay states that there are 7 different risk factors for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Suffocation. These 7 factors are:
2. Alcohol Consumption
4. Pre-existing health issues that prevent the baby from waking up during naps
5. Stomach Sleeping
6. Baby Overheating
7. Sleeping with Pillows Or On Water Beds
2. Co Sleeping Will Make Your Infant Dependent
First of all I would like to point out the fact that your infant is dependent. Your infant is unable to do anything by themself. At first they are going to be dependent. However, According to PinkyMcKay, "Research shows that when babies needs are met appropriately and consistently, they develop a sense of security that helps them feel confident to venture forth, explore and socialize." When your child's needs are consistently met they know that they can come to you whenever something is wrong. Knowing that you are there for them when they really need you gives them the confidence they need to become independent. When a child's needs are not met and they don't have that feeling of security with their parents they tend to be too scared to try anything. They also tend to develop anxiety because they are constantly not having their needs met. McKenna states,"Studies have revealed that co-sleeping babies often grow to be less fearful and more independent than their non-co-sleeping counterparts." Co sleeping reduces the amount of time the infant wakes up and cries thus reducing her stress and allowing her to sleep better. This helps develop that sense of security.
3. You Are The Only Family Co Sleeping
A lot of families co sleep, but keep quiet about it due to the negative comments from our western society. Breastfeeding mothers, myself included, find co sleeping to be the only way they get any sleep. A study shows that 80% of breastfeeding mothers co sleep with their child at least part of the time. In other cultures, such as Asian cultures, co sleeping is actually the norm.
4. Only Irresponsible Lazy Parents Co sleep
Some parents have tried other options and they have failed. Co sleeping doesn't mean you are a failure, irresponsible, or lazy. As I have mentioned previously, co sleeping is actually the norm in some cultures. Also, in those cultures where co sleeping is the norm, the deaths from SIDS is actually significantly lower than here in the US. As long as you are bed sharing in a safe environment it is not irresponsible. What works best for you and your family is what you should be doing. Being a parent is hard enough without having to deal with what society deems is the "correct" way to parent.
5. You Have To Go To Bed When Baby Goes To Bed
If you, like myself, can't go to sleep at 8 PM when your child does there are ways around it. I put my daughter in her pack-n-play in our room when she first falls asleep. When she wakes up I bring her into the bed with me and we sleep almost completely uninterrupted all night.
6. You Will Never Get The Baby Out Of The Bed
Just like with anything, you can break habits with patience and love. It's going to be a struggle to break the routine at first, but that's the same with any routine. All it takes is a little patience and when you and your child are ready you can make that transition at your own pace.
7. Co Sleeping Babies Are Spoiled
Is it actually natural for babies to sleep with their mother. It doesn't spoil them it actually helps their development. It has been proven that touch helps children develop. Preemies that receive massage and touch from their parents leave the hospital a lot sooner than those who do not. They also revisit the hospital a lot less. The same concept goes for co sleeping. Co sleeping allows the baby to achieve extra touch which in turn helps their brain develop more. It's biology for babies to sleep next to their mother. Your baby was inside you; listening to your breathing and heartbeat is soothing to her and will help her sleep better.
8. Co Sleeping Will Ruin Your Relationship
Co sleeping will not ruin your relationship if you have a healthy relationship. Having a baby in general will challenge your relationship in healthy ways. You will learn more about each other and will have to become more creative with your intimacy. Where your child sleeps has nothing to do with your relationship with your partner. If you don't go to sleep at the same time as your child you can put your baby down in their room and when they wake up for feeding time they can lay down with you. Thus solving the intimacy issue. ;)