There’s a battle in the bedroom. And no, it’s not over who gets to sleep on the left side of the bed. It’s over co-sleeping – sleeping close to your kids. This could mean sharing your bed, using a side-sleeping cot next to your bed, having a cot in the corner of your bedroom away from your bed, or allowing your kids – who have their own room – to sleep in your bed.
Sharing your bed is the most polarising option and is what we’re focusing on. Some say little ones sleeping in the same bed as their parents is a positive experience. Others proclaim it a dangerous, controversial practice. Who is correct?
Co-sleeping has existed for centuries and is still common in numerous cultures today. But in some Western countries, the debate over whether it’s safe rumbles on, among health professionals, the media and parents alike.
The Department for Health in the UK says babies should sleep in a cot in the same room as their parents in the first six months. But there will be times when you may want your baby in bed with you. And as your kids get older, they might want to jump in for some comfort through the night. However, some people say that will lead to them being clingy and not wanting to sleep in their own beds.
It’s a bit of a minefield, so we’ve put together the pros and cons of co-sleeping – read on to see if it’s something for your family.
Why you shouldn’t share your bed
If your child sleeps in the same bed as you, there’s an increased chance of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). It says this can occur if you or your partner smokes, even if you don’t do it in the bedroom. There’s also a risk if you’ve drunk alcohol or have taken medication that will make you sleep heavily.
Having a child in your bed means you or your partner could accidentally suffocate them if you’re too tired to notice. They could also overheat if they are under a duvet. Pillows can be a problem too – another thing that could lead to suffocation.
Getting trapped between the bed and the headboard is a risk for babies, as is falling out of the bed – the latter applies to you too. And if your kids are out of nappies and sleeping in your bed, you could end up waking up on wet sheets – lovely.
Then there’s the question of intimacy. You and your partner might want a bit of “us time” now and again. That’s not going to work when the kids are in the bed with you.
Why you should share your bed
If you have a baby sleeping beside you and they’re crying for milk, it’s much easier for you to breastfeed them. Once they’ve finished, they can drift off to sleep without you worrying about moving them back to their cot.
Having your child in bed with you will give them added comfort. If you have a youngster who likes getting in throughout the night for the occasional cuddle, sleeping alongside them will help them feel content.
In turn, having your child in close proximity can help reduce any anxiety you might have had if they were sleeping in a different room. Hearing them breathe and watching them sleep will help you stay calm in the knowledge that they are OK.
Bonding is important between parents and children. If you haven’t seen your kids all day, you may feel like you’ve missed the chance to bond with them. But sleeping in the same bed will allow you make up for that.
Do you want your kids in with you?
Having your children sleep in your bed is a very personal decision so speak to your partner and decide whether it’s something you want to try. If it is, make sure you weigh up the pros and cons and consider the safety aspects.
It can be easy to forget but your bed plays an important role too. If you have a baby in with you, remember to avoid using a duvet and stick with bed sheets so your little one doesn’t overheat. A good-quality mattress is important for sleeping safely and it will help you all have a decent sleep too. Try one from a brand that has a sole focus of making sure you have a perfect night’s sleep.
And enjoy your sleep – it’s important for you and your kids, for their development and to revitalise your mind and body.
To discover more about the Simba Hybrid® Mattress, visit Simba’s website www.simbasleep.com for more information.