Once you enter parenthood, one of the biggest questions that you would face is, ‘Where should the baby sleep?’ “How to make the baby sleep through the night?” “When will I get good sleep like before?”. All these questions point towards one direction – the benefits of co-sleeping.
Babies have almost similar needs during the day as they do in the night. Their night time needs can range from hunger, distress, and isolation to feeling too cold or too hot. At such a sensitive age, infants crave the comfort of a loving caregiver to constantly feel safe during the night. Babies are hyper-aware of the presence of a loving parent as it puts them to ease and reassures them. They have a need to constantly feel their parent’s touch. If you want to learn more about the benefits of co-sleeping, continue reading.
Crying in babies is NOT the problem that needs to be addressed. Crying is just an indication that your baby is feeling some problem. So if your baby cries, he must either be hungry, sleepy, anxious or distressed. If you leave your baby to cry it out at night, then they may stop crying and indicating their physical needs altogether.
Babies who are comforted after they cry begin to understand that someone loves them. Babies understand that when they cry, someone is there to look after them, feed them and change their diapers. They comprehend that the world as a positive place. On the other side, if babies are ignored while crying, they develop adjustment problems later in life.
In today’s world, many parents stress on making their children independent and self-reliant and so they opt for sleep training. However, forcing infants to look after themselves may not be the way to make them independent. Isn’t it expecting too much from a baby? Independence is something that arises out of a secure attachment style with the parents and babies need this security even during their sleep. So, a co-sleeping arrangement provides babies with enough security to help them develop into independent adults.
Post birth when children stay within the sensory range of their parents, they have reduced chances of SIDS, blood pressure, diabetes and other complications. They also breathe more regularly, develop faster and maintain a stable body temperature.
The loving gestures such as a touch, peck or a hug from a co-sleeping parent provide emotional support to the infant and increase the oxygen levels. This, in turn, leads to better immunity and brain development. Studies have shown that in cultures where co-sleeping is a general habit, people haven’t even heard of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
One of the benefits of co-sleeping is that your baby gets extra care and attention throughout the night. Children have unique sleeping patterns and not all children sleep throughout the night at first. Thus, co-sleeping helps the parent realize the unique needs of a child and adapt to them.
Modern day parents with a busy lifestyle do not have the time or patience to sleep with a crying baby and skip their adequate 7 to 8 hours of rest. Thus, some get attracted to opt for sleep-training techniques that suggest allowing the baby to cry so as to teach him how to self-soothe. This Cry It Out Method is slowly gaining popularity in the western countries.
However, as alluring as the idea of sleep training and letting baby “cry it out” might seem, it is actually not healthy for an infant.
Not only is sleeping alone harmful for the baby’s brain development, it also affects his attachment style and adaptation to the society as an adult. Many studies have shown that babies who are left alone to cry in a crib turn out to be less healthy, less intelligent, unfriendly and anxious later in life. Hence, one must make use of the benefits of co-sleeping.
Also Read: 10 Best Bedtime Story Books for Babies
While there are many benefits of co-sleeping with your baby, not all co-sleeping arrangements are apt for a baby. Parents co-sleeping with their baby should completely avoid the intake of alcohol, drugs or cigarettes as it could be really detrimental to the health of a developing infant. The presence of gaps in the bed can also be risky.
In order to ensure that the co-sleeping is safe for your child, parents should do a complete check of all the potential harmful things around the bed and childproof them.
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