One issue that causes uncertainty among many new parents is the question of the best place to sleep for the baby. Should it sleep in an extra bed close to the parents’ bed, in a separate room or with mom and dad in one bed.
What are the advantages of being close to the child?
Sleeping together in the parents’ bed creates important closeness and security (bonding) for the newborn. Especially when the partner is working during the day, there is more time for cuddling in the evening. Sleeping together in one bed is also popular with mothers who are breastfeeding. The baby can be comfortably breastfed from bed, there is no need to get up at night.
Studies show that babies who sleep close to their parents
- wake up less often
- have shorter waking phases than babies in their own room
- cry less often
Parents can also react more quickly if the little one coughs or cries at night. There are also indications that the regular breathing sound of the parents can prevent possible breathing interruptions in the baby. Experts therefore advise that the baby spends the first year in the parents’ bedroom – whether in the same bed or in an extra bed.
What are the disadvantages of a common bed?
For some parents however, sharing a bed with their baby is stressful. Not only do they constantly fear “rolling over” the little one, but they wake up with its every movement. The opposite case is also possible: the baby may sleep more restlessly because it feels disturbed by the movements of the parents. There is also the chance that the baby gets used to always falling asleep next to mom and dad. This can lead to difficulties if someone else brings the little one to bed. Sharing a bed with a baby can also have a negative impact on love life. Many parents cannot imagine becoming intimate spontaneously while the baby is lying next to them.
An alternative: a bedside cot
A bedside cot is a popular alternative to co-sleeping. Baby sleeps in its own bed, but this is directly linked to the parents’ bed and open towards the parents’ side of the bed. It is therefore easy to lift the baby out quickly, and it is close to the mother. This option is particularly useful if parents or the baby do not feel comfortable together in one bed.
When shouldn’t the baby sleep in the parent’s bed?
In certain situations it is safer or healthier for the baby if it doesn’t sleep in the parents’ bed. These include when parents
- drink alcohol
- take medication which makes you tired
- use drugs
In these cases, parents are usually less attentive. There is a risk of accidentally lying on the baby unnoticed. The smell of tobacco also affects the baby’s respiratory system.
Co-sleeping is also not recommended if the baby was premature or had a low birth weight. This may increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. As a compromise, the bedside cot option is recommended. Parents don’t have to worry about their baby overheating.