Co-sleeping, or sharing a bed with your baby or child, can have both pros and cons. The decision to co-sleep or not depends on personal preferences and circumstances, but here are some potential pros and cons to consider:
- Bonding: Co-sleeping can promote bonding and closeness between parent and child.
- Convenience: Co-sleeping can be more convenient for breastfeeding and calming a child in the middle of the night.
- Emotional comfort: Co-sleeping can provide emotional comfort and security for a child, especially during times of stress or anxiety.
- Cultural and historical precedent: Co-sleeping is a common practice in many cultures, and has been practiced throughout history.
- Safety: Co-sleeping can increase the risk of suffocation, entrapment, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), especially if parents are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if the child is under 4 months old.
- Sleep disturbances: Co-sleeping can lead to sleep disturbances for both parent and child, especially if one partner moves around or snores.
- Sleep dependence: Co-sleeping can create a dependence on the parent for sleep, making it difficult for the child to transition to independent sleep or settling at nursery.
What is the Best Age to Stop Co-Sleeping?
The best age to stop co-sleeping is a personal decision that depends on the child’s and family’s needs and preferences. However, most experts recommend that parents stop co-sleeping by the time the child is 6 months to a year old, as this is when the risk of SIDS decreases and the child is better able to sleep independently. It’s important to note that the transition to independent sleep may take time and patience, and parents should consider the child’s emotional needs and attachment to the parent during this process.
Tips to Settle Your Child at Nursery
- Please establish a routine so that your child can self-settle during the day, as it is difficult to settle a child at nursery whose sleep cues are parental co-sleeping.
- If you would like any more hints or tips on this please let us know when you have your first meetings with us.
Further Sources of Information
- The Lullaby Trust: This UK charity provides advice on safe sleeping for babies and supports research into SIDS. They recommend that the safest place for a baby to sleep for the first six months is in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as the parent or caregiver. They advise against co-sleeping with a baby if either parent smokes, has consumed alcohol or drugs, is excessively tired, or if the baby was premature or of low birth weight. Here’s a link to their website: https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/co-sleeping/
- The NHS: The NHS provides information on safe sleeping for babies, including advice on co-sleeping. They recommend that parents should never co-sleep with their baby if they or their partner smoke, have consumed alcohol or drugs, or are excessively tired. They also advise that the safest place for a baby to sleep for the first six months is in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as the parent or caregiver.