New parents have to go through a lot after they baby is born, at least for a few month initially. Whenever they out, they get badgered by questions like “Is your baby sleeping properly?” and they have no idea whether what they are going to say is going to be correct in listener’s mind.
When it comes to baby’s sleeping habits, people have starkly different opinions. Some say that babies should sleep in 45 minute stretches and not more than that, while other say that if babies are sleeping for less than 2 hours at a stretch then that could lead for discomfort.
Whom to listen to is a really a big question for new parents.
After the first question, the next question that people generally ask is, “Where does your baby sleep?” Just like the previous question, this question can be answered in a number of ways. Some parents prefer to put their baby to sleep in a crib, while others sleep their babies in the same bed and they do.
Now people who put their babies to sleep in cribs are totally against the idea of bed-sharing. The most common argument they put up is that babies have a higher chance of SIDS, entrapment and suffocation in adult bed sharing. And they are not being prude in saying that. According to research done, bed sharing in fact have higher chances of causing SIDS, entrapment and suffocation.
But is that everything we know about babies and their sleeping habits?
A survey conducted with a sample containing nearly equal “co-sleeping” and “crib-sleeping” mothers, revealed that both the groups had scientific researches to prove their claim. Basically, the real argument is not between co-sleeping and crib-sleeping, it is between safety and bonding.
Pros of Co-sleeping
- Co-sleeping is the most natural form of sleeping for a new born baby. In ancient times, mothers used to co-sleep with their babies as it enhances bonding.
- Cuddling with baby at night release oxytocin in mother’s brain that makes her care for the baby even more
- Co-sleeping allows mothers to watch every little activity of their newborns, which according to some mothers is a very pleasureable and satisfying experience
- Mothers don’t feel loneliness when their babies sleep with them
Pros of Crib-sleeping
- Crib-sleeping enables children to sleep in a quiet environment, where they are not disturbed by parents’ snoring or other nightly activities
- Getting used to cribs as an infant allows babies to be comfortable in them as a toddler
- Crib-sleeping makes kids take up independent sleeping early in life. Some mothers don’t like the idea of kids sleeping with them till the age of 8 or 9, and that is why they prefer it
- Crib-sleeping is recommended by a majority of baby care specialists
As I have told you above that according to a research co-sleeping babies have higher chances of SIDS. Because of this reason, co-sleeping mothers are judged more harshly by society than mother who sleeps their babies in crib. But co-sleeping has often been associated with great bonding. In most developing countries, many parents cannot afford a crib and have to opt for co-sleeping.
Studies have shown that babies who co-slept with their mothers turned out to have a great sense of bonding with their parents later in life, though this is not something entirely positive. The study also showed that co-sleeping babies are at a higher chance of developing co-dependence i.e. feeling anxiety and sadness when separated from their mothers, which could result in a lack of social engagement early in life.
While mothers who put their babies to sleep in a crib proclaim that co-sleeping mothers and lazy and irresponsible, co-sleeping mothers defend themselves by saying the crib mothers are downright selfish, who are concerned with their own sleep rather than the comfort of the baby.
How giving up control can improve the situation
A majority of parents believe that when it comes to rest, one size fits all is generally not the best policy. Sleep is something that almost all infants struggle to achieve; hence as a parent, your job is to do whatever you can to make sure that the baby is getting enough sleep. Poor sleeping habits have been linked with irritability and slow growth.
Another interesting thing to know is that your baby’s sleeping habits is never going to be in your control.
Many of the soon-to-be mothers, who read articles such as the ones that say about co-sleeping and SIDS, resolve to avoid co-sleeping, but end up co-sleeping after their baby is born. The reason for that is baby’s liking.
Some babies cannot sleep with their mothers, and are not comfortable sleeping in cribs. That is why, while only 11 percent of mother planned to co-sleep their baby, 42 percent ended doing it, for at least once.
So, in short, children set their own sleep schedules, and your job as a parent is to adhere to it.
So what is the perfect answer to this question?
Alas! There is no perfect solution. While crib sleeping is definitely safer, in technical terms, there is no guarantee that you baby is going to the get perfect sleep in it. Most of new parents have a really hard time raising a child, and this is one question that they can forget about. So while there are pros and cons to both approaches, you will have to choose the one depending on how your child likes to sleep. After all, you are reading this article for them, right? They are the most important.