Co-sleeping: truths and myths

Every new mother seeks the best advice to take care of the baby that is about to come into the world, since there are a number of aspects that must be clear at the time of the child’s birth. The basic tips such as: breastfeeding, giving good hygiene, dressing and finally co-sleeping is the topic that we will deal with today.

The word co-sleeping according to Wikipedia refers to the family bed, a practice in which babies or young children sleep with one or both parents, and can be carried out in the same bed, in adjoining beds or, the bed and crib together.

Co-sleeping, although it is still taboo for many, is a recommended option for parents because it offers a closeness with the child while they are in their sleeping hour to caress them, pamper them and achieve a more intimate-paternal contact.

Some specialists oppose this practice, however, it is currently spreading in many countries due to the benefits of co-sleeping children at home within the framework of respectful and attachment parenting.

During the first days of the baby, it is possible that at night he cries a lot when he is left alone in the crib or bassinet, the lack of sleep accumulates in the parents, also causing stress due to not being able to control the situation. The mother tired of breastfeeding and taking care of the little one ends up exhausted by the lack of rest.

It is in this type of situation that co-sleeping is shown as a great solution, it is simply a natural process, since not all children are the same, and it is the mothers who really choose to have it close or far. The idea is that everyone feels comfortable and can share a friendly and love-filled co-sleeping.

As we already mentioned, this practice also has its detractors, as there are those who consider that skin-to-skin contact is enough for babies during the day, and at night they should return to their crib or bassinet. However, a cot can be attached to the double bed at the same level without the need to separate, each person having a place in the room, staying close but not invading individual spaces.

Collect safely

One of the main arguments of the detractors is that practicing co-sleeping means a risk for the safety of the baby, since there is a latent possibility that parents accidentally suffocate the little one, imprisoning their body while they sleep. However, we know that the maternal instinct almost completely nullifies this possibility, since mothers in most cases change their sleep patterns in such a way that they remain in a permanent state of alert, even while they sleep.

But, if you want to increase security for the successful practice of co-sleeping, we recommend you follow the following measures:

  • If the baby is premature, a co- sleeping crib or bassinet should be used.
  • Water or feather mattresses should be avoided.
  • If the bed is attached to the wall, it is important not to leave spaces where the child can fall, thus avoiding a fatal accident.
  • The temperature of the room should be room type so that the contact with the baby is pleasant at the time of sleep.
  • Avoid the use of pillows, duvets or cushions in the baby’s area, therefore it is recommended that the baby sleep on top of the sheets only.
  • For no reason should you co-sleep with an obese, sleepwalking or epileptic person, the same applies in case one of the parents is drug dependent, alcoholic, abuses drugs, among others.

In short, whether or not to sleep with the baby is a decision of the parents that they can analyze with the help of a doctor specialized in the area of ​​pediatrics, with whom they can obtain recommendations and talk about the subject taking into account various points of view if the doubt persists.

On the other hand, it is also a good suggestion to go to motherhood books that deal with this topic from different perspectives. Most of them have personal experiences from other families, as well as studies by doctors.

Until what time the baby slept

Saying that co-sleeping lasts a certain time would be totally irresponsible on our part, since each situation is different and the routines of the families are what will determine the duration of this stage.

According to the experience of many mothers, this situation can happen spontaneously, apparently there are no rules or schedules, simply the child is the one who decides when he is ready to sleep alone.

In some families it occurs after the arrival of the second child, and the eldest child decides to get out of co-sleeping. Perhaps with the new baby, the older siblings feel bigger or just want more space for themselves.

In addition, many mothers confess that when the child becomes more independent, the one who suffers after all this maternal process is the mother with her attachments. But, the important thing is not to show it to the little one as something negative, because feelings of guilt can form in him. On the contrary, you have to congratulate him and motivate him for taking such an important step.

For this reason, it is considered that it is best to let the children decide, otherwise they would feel rejected. There is no doubt that with all this, more benefits can be obtained than is believed, since in some way the child is being self-sufficient, secure and willing to know that his time has passed and he must continue advancing.    

What you didn’t know about co-sleeping

When the mother is in contact with the baby and the baby is cold, the temperature of the breast increases by two degrees to warm the baby. Conversely, if the baby is warm, the temperature of the mother’s chest drops by one degree.

All this has a name, it is called thermal synchrony, a phenomenon that shows that babies must be close to the mother, in close contact and not crying so that their lungs expand, so that they become independent or do not get used to the arms, as was traditionally and erroneously believed.

For its part, the kangaroo method, curiously, is also beneficial for babies because they gain more weight, their heart rate remains stable, and they remain calm, as long as the mother-baby are together at the time of co-sleeping or outside of it.

In the same way, co-sleeping prevents the baby from crying a lot because he knows that the mother is close, who is the main protective figure to breastfeed, care, pamper and share a time of recreational activities.

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