There are many opinions that exist regarding parents co-sleeping with their babies. Some worry that the child will never learn to sleep on their own, in their own bed.
Others believe that there is no other option and that the baby must stay in close proximity to them. Regardless of your belief, nighttime is a great time for mother and baby to develop their special bond. The hormones that are secreted during breastfeeding enhance the bonding experience most effectively during the night. When a mother is breastfeeding, Oxytocin, Prolactin and Endorphins are secreted and each serve a specific purpose. Oxytocin acts to stimulate the ejection of milk while Prolactin calms and soothes the mother while she breastfeeds. Endorphins are also secreted during the process and help encourage the mother to continue breastfeeding while giving a sense of pleasure and contentment to the baby. All these hormones work together and increase the bond between mother and child. Parents who co-sleep with their babies also notice that they get more sleep during the night and awake more rested.
If you do co-sleep with your baby, make sure you follow the safe co-sleeping guidelines below:
- Do not sleep with baby if yourself or your partner is under the influence of any substance, including alcohol and medication. Any substance that may induce a deep sleep may inhibit your awareness of your baby.
- Do not sleep with baby if yourself or your partner is a smoker.
- Make sure you are sleeping on a firm, flat surface (No waterbeds, couches and sofas).
- Make sure baby's head is uncovered and that you aren't using too many blankets, as to avoid overheating.
- Make sure your hair is tied back (if it is long).
- Be aware that obesity can also reduce your awareness of your baby while in bed with you.
For more information regarding common issues with children, visit the ICPA website.