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What do co-sleeping experts say: Is it dangerous to sleep in bed with a baby?

I ask this question as a result of the very alarming news, in my opinion, and you will decide for yourself after reading the opinions of the specialists.

The title that caught my eye is this: “A 6-month-old baby died by drowning in his sleep after his mother fell asleep on him.”
The news created panic and has a somewhat alarming title because it also talks about the hypothesis of sudden death syndrome that can occur in newborns in the first months of life.

The tragedy brought back the co-sleeping. Is it dangerous or not?

What is co-sleeping? 
Co-sleeping does not necessarily mean sleeping with the baby in the same bed, but only being close to the mother, not in another room.
The safest co-sleeping seems to be the one in which a small open crib is glued to the mother’s bed. This way she doesn’t have to wake up and take the baby in her arms, and she can caress and soothe him when they are both lying down.
At the first child, it never crossed my mind to sleep with him in bed. My husband and I were scared not to hit him or suffocate him. So he slept with us in the room, but in his bed. It’s just that the frequent awakenings at night to breastfeed made me terribly tired. It had become extremely difficult to just get up and take him in our arms by our bed. And this every two hours, sometimes even every hour. I felt exhausted.

So, for a second child, I told myself that I would document myself and do things a little differently.

We chose the co-sleeping option, but the one in which the baby’s crib is open and glued to ours. That way I wouldn’t get out of bed and he was further away from me, so that he could rest a bit, and not think that I could accidentally suffocate him with my weight.

I’m not saying it’s dangerous to sleep with your baby in bed, but I had this fear nonetheless.

Is co-sleeping dangerous or not? What experts and studies say:

I spoke with Adina Păun, an IBCLC certified breastfeeding consultant with over ten years of experience:
Specialists who agree with co-sleeping say clearly that if you have not consumed alcohol or drugs, no matter how tired you may be, you can sleep in bed with your child, without the danger of suffocating him. Is there a danger or not? What’s wrong? 
There are a few other conditions besides those listed by you. Obese adults should not sleep with their baby in bed, those who for any reason have problems feeling their body (neuropathy, vertigo), those who take medication of any kind with a sedative effect. Avoiding smoking during pregnancy by the mother and avoiding second-hand smoke by the child from the mother or another family member are also important.

The surface on which he sleeps and what is left in bed next to the child matters: the firm sleeping surface, no older siblings, no plush, no pillows or blankets around the child’s head.

Care must be taken that the baby does not overheat. He does not sleep with a child on a sofa under any circumstances. Obviously, the baby should not sleep on his stomach until he returns alone – that is, up to 4-5 months.

Speaking of fatigue, I think it’s up to everyone. If I have a temporary risk factor, in addition to a high degree of fatigue – I drank a glass of wine, took a mild antianxiolytic, etc. – it may be better for the child to sleep in a co-sleeper that evening. (bed next to parents’ bed).
Many of these deaths of babies sleeping in bed with their parents are more due to Sudden Death Syndrome (SIDS). Is there an age at which you can co-sleep safely? I know the risk of SIDS goes away after 12 months.

Adina Păun: I think that co-sleeping can be just as safe or dangerous at any age of the child, in the sense that it is not the age of the child but the observance of the above conditions that influences the risk. SIDS is by definition a death of an infant without a determinable cause – including co-sleeping. Rather, it seems to be related to abnormalities in the child’s brain or vascular system that are impossible to determine before such a tragedy. SIDS affects children who sleep and do not sleep with their parents.

What we do know is that the sleeping position is clearly correlated with SIDS. The child who sleeps on his back, in a safe sleeping environment, has the same risks next to the parent or in his own bed.

The incidence of SIDS is maximum around 2-3 months and decreases a lot afterwards, really disappearing up to a year. Breastfeeding is a proven factor in protection against SIDS – two months of breastfeeding (alone or in combination with milk formula) halves the incidence of SIDS.
The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend co-sleeping at all because it is directly related to SIDS. It is also not recommended to sleep with the baby on his chest. In Romania, are there any recommendations regarding the baby’s sleep? 
Adina Păun: I have not met any official recommendations regarding the sleep of infants from the Ministry of Health or the Romanian Pediatric Associations.
What do you think is the main disadvantage of co-sleeping? There is?
 

Adina Păun: I think that the decision to sleep with the child, which is often reached in the middle of the night, after the “n” breastfeeding session, should be discussed as a couple after a good dose of coffee. First of all, because if the father also sleeps with the child, he must be aware of his presence in bed and must comply with the above criteria. Secondly, sleeping with the child is an element that influences the life of the couple – sexual and not only.

In some families it can bring more intimacy and creativity, in others frustration and resentment. An open negotiation of what it means for a certain family to sleep with the child, how long you intend to last and how you address other aspects of intimate life is a necessary step for things to go in the best conditions for all involved.

 
In the end, it is up to the mother to decide whether or not to sleep with the baby in the first place, and it should be made after the birth, on a case-by-case basis, depending on how comfortable the situation is for the new mother. 
What do co-sleeping experts say: Is it dangerous to sleep in bed with a baby?

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