New Baby Checklist

Facts About Co-sleeping

1. What is co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping is a term commonly used to describe the act of sleeping with one's own baby in the same bed.

2. What are the benefits of co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping provides:

  • Easy access to baby;
  • Enhancement of the natural bonding process;
  • More comfortable and efficient caregiving such as; breast feeding, soothing, comforting, diaper changing etc. than can be accomplished if the baby slept in a separate bed or bedroom.
  • Close proximity to the child will allow all mothers less disturbance and more sleep.

3. What is the relationship between co-sleeping and S.I.D.S.?
Cultures where parents commonly co-sleep with their babies have the lowest rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, S.I.D.S., in the world, while cultures where parents do not commonly sleep with their babies have the highest rate of S.I.D.S.. Current studies are starting to draw a correlation between S.I.D.S. and babies who sleep in rooms by themselves. The evidence suggests that some infants may fall into abnormally deep sleep and "forget to breath". With a baby at arm's reach, parents are easily alerted to abnormal breathing or other signals of distress, that may be missed if the baby were in a separate room.

4. What are the possible drawbacks of co-sleeping? Can it be dangerous?
There are two common criticisms of co-sleeping. First, there is a fear that a parent might roll over on the infant causing harm. Second, some parents wonder if co-sleeping might spoil the baby. These criticisms are easy to counter. Co-sleeping can be accomplished by having a baby sleep in a bed that attaches to the parent's bed in such a way as to allow parental access while preventing the baby from rolling out and into the parent's bed. The Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper® bassinet is a product that accomplishes this goal. See the Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper® FAQ for more information.

In regards to spoiling a baby, there is no evidence that co-sleeping with a baby results in a spoiled child.

5. Why is co-sleeping good for breast feeding?
Co-sleeping is beneficial for breast feeding mothers and infants. When the infant is in close proximity to the nursing mother, a simple sound from the baby can cause the mother's milk to flow. Both are simultaneously aroused and feeding begins. Co-sleeping allows a mother to nurse her infant "upon demand" and according to many physicians this is better for baby and also stimulates the lactation process that results in a strong and normal milk production from the mother.

6. What is bonding and how does co-sleeping enhance the human bonding process?
Bonding is a natural process that occurs between newborn babies and their parents. The bonding process is naturally strongest between mother and baby in the earliest part of the baby's life for the simple reason that it is the mother who is most often near the baby providing warmth, food and security. It is natural to assume that bonding is enhanced between parent and child when there is increased time spent in close proximity to one another as in co-sleeping.