Sleeping with a baby: pros and cons

Sleeping with a baby: pros and cons

“In clinical Pediatrics, a joint dream is a political bomb. Touch the subject, and you kayuk”, — wrote Professor of anthropology James McKenna. But we are not afraid and therefore decided to discuss a joint dream from different sides — with psychologists, pediatricians, consultants for children’s sleep and, of course, directly with parents.

The recommendations of experts

Our expert – certified consultant for children’s sleep, author of the project.


— How do you feel about the joint sleep of parents with a child, as far as it is necessary, safe? How to organize it?

— Every mother has the right to her choice — to sleep with the child or put him to bed. It is important how well the child and parents sleep. Single-family — co-sleeping just salvation. Mom does not get up at night to the crib, the child himself in a dream sucking Breasts and, often, the mother does not even remember how many times a night the child was applied to the breast. Waking up in the morning, mother can still not run anywhere and luxuriate with the child during his feeding. For many mothers — this is the natural parenthood.


For another family, sleeping together may not be acceptable. Mom worries about the safety of the child, can not sleep well and wakes up in the morning broken. Therefore, it is easier 1-2 times to Wake up, feed the baby and lay him in his crib. I believe that it is necessary to start from the individual characteristics of a particular child. If the mother cannot put the baby to sleep alone, co-sleep — save for the exhausted mom.


According to the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics, for the prevention of sudden infant death syndrome, up to 6 months the child should sleep in the same room as the parents.


Safety rules for the organization of the child’s sleep:


The mattress in the bed should be hard.
It is necessary to completely exclude the presence of soft objects in the crib (pillows, bumper, blanket).
Child’s first months of life it is better to sleep on your back.
Do not allow the child to overheat. If it is swaddled, it is already one layer of clothing.
If swaddling is no longer required, I recommend using a thin cotton sleeping bag. It is safe for the child, creates a certain Association before going to bed. Also, the sleeping bag is easy to use if you need to change the diaper at night.
The mattress in the bed should fit snugly to the sides of the bed.
The distance between the rails should be about 6.5 cm.
To all was comfortable, lowering the sidewall can be lowered and move the crib to the parents ‘ bed.
If there is a gap between the beds, do not leave the lowered sidewall open after feeding.

— What are the typical mistakes mothers make when sleeping together?


— Sacrificing their sleep for the baby’s sleep. Mom is also a person, and it is very important for her to get enough sleep in the morning to Wake up with renewed vigor. If you sleep fragmentary and the next morning feel broken — think about the feasibility of sleeping together.

If your spouse is against sleeping together, you should listen to his wishes and try to establish an independent sleep of the child in his crib. To make it easier to feed your baby at night, move the baby bed to the adult as close as possible.

If you decide to give up sleeping together, but do not know how, then start with a gradual increase in the distance between you and the child. Gradually accustoming to sleep in his crib, are near him. Let him know he’s not alone. When the child gets used to sleep in the crib, gradually reduce the amount of time spent nearby. You may need 2-3 weeks to gradually accustom the baby to independent sleep.


— When is the best time to put the child to sleep at night from 0 to 3 years?


— In our country it is not accepted to put children before 21:00. Often mothers wait for the spouse from work that he helped with packing. However, it is proved that the most profound and high-quality sleep a child receives in the period from 19:00 to 01:00. And the biological time of recovery, depending on the individual characteristics of the child, is in the range from 6:30 to 08:00. At the rate of night sleep of children 11-12 hours for the first year, 10-11 hours for the second, this means that it is necessary to focus on early laying. At the age of 4 months to 3 years, it is better to lay no later than 20:00, then slightly shifting the laying to 21:00, as the child needs less night sleep.

Psychologist, psychotherapist, author of a blog about understandable child psychology.


— Should only the mother sleep with the child, whether it is necessary to “resettle” for a while dad? And how to explain it to the husband that there was no conflict?


— Note that the joint are those types of sleep when the child is next to the parent. That is: 1) sleep in one bed, 2) sleep in a separate bed, moved to the parent and 3) sleep in a separate bed, standing in a room near the big bed. Each family chooses a convenient way to sleep. I know the families where they took turns sleeping with the baby. It happens that all sleep together or parents — together, and the baby next to the crib, and his mother gets up. I know a family where almost from birth, each is sleeping in his room.


It is very important what kind of relationship developed before birth. For example, if the child was a family bonding event, then after birth the spouses will likely not have enough resources to arrange a dream. Mutual understanding and a desire to help each other is important. If it is, then to avoid conflict on the subject of sleep is not difficult: the husband sees that his wife is tired, tries to help her as much. And the wife, though tired, but grateful to her husband for what he does everything he can. And, anyway, the family finds a solution or just going through the situation, cope with it. People talk, argue, but find a compromise and come to an agreement.


Another important point: whether the husband and wife agreed to sleep together with the baby before birth, or this situation suddenly formed itself. The mere fact that a man did not participate in the decision to sleep together can create a lot of unspoken discontent, which results in irritation, reproaches, unwillingness to help and other unpleasant conflicts between spouses. And then it can be very difficult to agree. Sometimes sleeping together with a child becomes a way to solve sleep problems. But usually it is only a temporary solution that does not remove these problems. So my advice is to talk, make decisions together, and talk about your feelings without waiting for someone else to guess.


— Co-sleeping — pros and cons?


— There are guidelines that parents can take into account when making a decision about sleeping together. First, the individual characteristics of birth: for example, the baby was born prematurely, there were difficult births, problems during pregnancy. Secondly, the family situation: the child was adopted, it brings up only one parent, parents have problems in the relationship, the child is not the first born, the family recently moved, the psychological characteristics of the parents themselves. Third, the socio-cultural context: there are families where children are raised by nannies, and parents only kiss at night, and there are, where children hang on the mother in a sling, while she works in the field. What’s right? Nothing. Such feature. Well, and, at last, the personality of the child. Children are born different: one child is sleeping and eating, to sleep peacefully by himself, and the other cuddling, naff, supplementation, use various tricks. Temperament is also an important thing. And there are so many of these subtleties and features that it is simply impossible and useless to deduce one formula, for example, “after three it is impossible to sleep together”.


— How to further wean the child from sleeping together and move him to his bed/room? How to make it most comfortable for everyone and at what age is it optimal to do it?


— You need to adapt to any changes, there is always a period when everyone gets used to it. It does not happen that a person does not react to changes at all. And if the child does not react in any way, whether it is placed next to or resettled in another room, this should alert. But all children will experience this separation in different ways, just as everyone experiences a trip to the garden, separation from mother and school in different ways.


Let’s go in this matter from the needs of the parent. Many children Wake up at night. Sometimes they fall asleep themselves, and sometimes they don’t. It is a skill — to be able to fall asleep after waking up. A year of intermittent sleep for mom is not easy. Two are heavy, and three are squeezed like a lemon. I have met few adults who can sleep at night for 4 hours in a row, the rest of the time — in snatches, and in the morning to Wake up in a good mood and vivacity. However from mom that everyone is waiting for. If you feel that you need a separate sleep, then it’s time.


Pediatrician, Department of emergency Pediatrics:


“From the point of view of the pediatrician, joint sleep with the baby is certainly undesirable, in addition to psychological aspects, primarily because of the danger of strangling the baby (mainly for newborns). But, in a joint dream there are advantages, and often it is the only possible way out of the situation.


For example, if we are talking about the preservation of lactation, or rest and sleep exhausted sleepless nights mother, or calm baby, experiencing malaise or fears. The most important thing is not to go to extremes, but to approach this phenomenon reasonably. Be sure to weigh all the “pros” and “cons” and, having studied the issue, carefully take care of the safety rules.”


Psychologist, leading the author’s section of the project “Club of young mothers»:


I am totally against teaching your baby a separate sleep method “weep, weep, and cease”. In the first year of the child’s life, the most important component of his personality is formed — the basic trust in the world, the development of emotional intelligence of the baby, which is inextricably linked with the process of socialization and the construction of harmonious relations with the environment, largely depends on it. Ignoring the child’s need for contact, parents consciously refuse emotional intimacy, and the baby’s behavior makes it clear how important it is at the moment to be close to the closest people. Many babies calm down and sleep better with their mother, feeling her warmth and heartbeat. This sound accompanied during being in the tummy, namely the intrauterine period of development is the most fertile period for crumbs, then he was in absolute safety and harmony. Parents who practice co-sleeping with your baby, you should give special importance to the training of the child to independent sleep.


One of the disadvantages of sleeping with a child, called problems in the intimate life of partners. Indeed, the relationship of many couples undergo significant changes after the birth of a child, sometimes this situation is aggravated by a separate dream of spouses or a dream with a baby. This issue should be considered more widely, joint sleep with the child is not the reason for the lack of sexual intimacy, but its consequence. The spouse making excuses for the coldness to each other, current life circumstances, hoping that the relationship will be reborn after a certain period of time. Thus, choosing a joint or separate sleep with the baby, be guided by the need for emotional intimacy of the child.”


Personal experience:


  • 1) “For me co-sleeping was a relief and a way out of the situation. It so happened that the child did not want to take a breast in maternity hospital in any way, and I got the hand to feed in one pose — sitting with support of the head a hand. After a couple of days and nights of such feeding, my back ached and my hands trembled, and my head did not think at all. When the baby turned out to take the chest lying down, I took him to his and for the first time since birth, slept well and appreciated the beauty of a joint dream. Although initially I planned to sleep separately — I was a light sleep and I could not sleep when someone touches me. In the end, now I can sleep and sleep the letter “ZYU”, despite the fact that the child buried his nose in my side and threw me legs. Many people write that the food at night 1 or 2 times, yet here it is happening 4 or 5 times, so I don’t know how many times to rise up for feeding, and in the sharing of sleep to feed 5 times a night, no problem.”
  • 2) “For me this hell. It’s hard for me to sleep with someone when they touch me at night. The eldest slept great in the crib — 2 times a night she fed and I did not bother to get up. The youngest from 4 months moved to us up to a year and a half — it was the worst night — I felt like I did not sleep at all.
  • 3) “For me, co-sleep, on the contrary, the opportunity to sleep. The child sleeps with us since birth, in a bed only a day dream. For me it is much easier to Wake up 1-2 times a night to feed the baby on breast milk than to jump, to go to the kitchen to make a bottle). While I plan to continue to feed and, respectively, to one and a half years. Not very happy only dad, as he folded his legs, heels pounding on the face, and especially the eyes. I don’t notice that. The downside is that one little girl takes up more space than two adults.”
  • 4) “I go to sleep — calm down. If the son gets sick — I immediately feel it (the temperature rises, usually at night) or just calm down if crying. It makes us both more comfortable. Son is three. I’m going to soon (up to 4 years) in the crib to shift”.
  • “We have not an option — my husband sleeps very soundly and it can dramatically turn over or to give up something. I almost got hit a couple of times. The baby sleeps in his crib right next to my side of the bed. When my husband is on business trips — I take to myself. However, I sleep badly — it is spinning much and all the time afraid of what will crawl away and bancada. But I take it anyway — it’s more fun with her.”
  • 5) “Do not accept a joint dream. With just a baby — from the point of view of security, including. Then I sleep very sensitively, so I Wake up from the slightest groan. Slept with the son nearby (in their beds) up to a month. With the month — baby sleeps in her own bed in the nursery, my husband in the bedroom on a very big bed (also don’t like when crowded). Until 2.5-3 months fed his one times at night, then simply “tested.” Thus, after laying the child, my husband and I have time for ourselves (to watch a movie, lie in the bath, read literature for work, for sex, after all). Nobody bothers anyone. Child at night can not Wake up at all, can 1-2 times. If wakes up, it is easier for me to get up to it (to stroke, to rock, to give water), than to be afraid to move all night long. Sleep the door to the door, at night they are open. The child is specially accustomed to the regime. On QV to 7 months. Without the regime of a full family life can not imagine. In General, I have enough to try co-sleeping in the hospital for two days no sleep at all, and again make sure it is at least unsafe (fed and half asleep, hit moved down the elbow on the head)”.
  • 6) “I normally sleep when the baby is in the bed with us or in his paper to our. If only he slept. If he’s asleep, I’m asleep. If it’s spinning, I’m not sleeping. The elder slept in the bed up to 7 years. Usually slept well. The younger one comes over more often than he sleeps in his bed. Sleeps restlessly.”
  • 7) “we Have a child from the hospital, his bed to move to his we can not technically. Fed and laid in a cradle (to a crib was) before the first waking up. Then according to the situation — if she eats and sleeps in the bassinet next if whimpers, to his bed without hesitation. Put in the middle and so that his head “rested” in the headboard. Thus it turned out that at the level of our faces already his stomach and crush it would be difficult. Our heads aren’t that heavy. At least, it worked for us. And continued to do until 1.2 is not started sleeping all night in his bed. Fed, Packed, woke up again, fed and laid, if not whimpers, whines if — bought. And 1.8 was the episode when he was podnikova night, I took him in, the kid calmed down, fell asleep, Wake up after some time because the child climbs over me to the side of his bed, apparently decided that us uncomfortable. In General, somehow everything went smoothly.”
  • 8) “Slept with a child from the hospital and up to almost 4 years. For me — the best way to night coexistence with a small child. The main thing to have a large, comfortable bed. And no trouble sleeping, feeding. The child left in 2 stages — at first began to fall asleep at himself and to sleep some hours, and then left finally. Without tears, scandals and any problems”.