I recently read an article over on Inhabitots.com about extended cosleeping. The article suggested that parents cosleep until a minimum of age 5, and that this practice can have specific physical and mental health benefits for the child. The entire article can be found here.
The London Center for Child Mental Health has done numerous studies that show that cosleeping until age 5 is healthiest for baby, and can help to produce a happier, healthier child and adult. Dr. Margot Sunderland believes that children who cosleep with their parents experience less stress than those who crib sleep. There are numerous arguments supporting extended cosleeping, including a lowered risk of SIDS, healthy heartbeat and breathing regulation in infants, lower stress cortisol levels in babies and children, and much more. The benefits are endless! Cosleeping also tends to be more economically friendly and environmentally friendly because it eliminates the need for a crib and extra bedding.
The article I linked to at the beginning of the post says that whether you co-sleep or crib sleep, there are a number of safety precautions you MUST follow to ensure that your infant stays safe through the night. These precautions are as follows:
- Always place your baby on his back to sleep, no matter if co-sleeping or in a crib.
- Do not share a bed with your child if you drink heavily, smoke in your room, or if you take heavy prescription medications or street drugs.
- If you’re heavily overweight, co-sleeping can pose a danger to your baby.
- Don’t allow your baby to sleep in a big bed alone.
- Your baby should not sleep on the edge of the bed because he might take a steep dive off the bed or get caught between the wall and the mattress.
As long as these safety precautions are followed and all involved parties are educated in the do’s and dont’s of co-sleeping, there is little to make it unsafe. While certain anti-cosleeping campaigns would lead you to believe differently, that is not the case. Co-sleeping has many benefits for mother, father and child, contributing not only to a healthier child, but also to a healthier family and a healthier environment. Are YOU ready to ditch the crib?