The decision to share a bed with their child at night has sparked intense discussion. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against it, suggesting just room-sharing rather than bed-sharing, while some advocate for it as part of an ideology known as attachment parenting.
Sleeping In The Same Bed With Infants Is Risky For Them
A recent study indicates that bed-sharing does not affect mother-infant attachment.
She decided to investigate this topic since it is one of the most contentious in baby sleep studies, according to Ayten Bilgin, a development psychology lecturer at the University of Kent in England.
Their major conclusion is that parental bed-sharing during the first six months does not affect the infant’s and mother’s safe bonds, as well as the mother’s bonding with the baby, according to Bilgin.
The study evaluated data from 178 babies and their parents collected through a combination of questionnaires and in-person visits at term three, six, and 18 months.
The study discovered no links between sharing a bed with a baby during the first six months and maternal bonding, infant-mother bonding, sensitive parenting, and infant behavioral outcomes such as attention levels, hyperactivity, and task perseverance at 18 months.
These observations, which were recently posted online in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, may assuage parents’ anxieties about not sharing a bed with their child.
Bilgin believes that as long as the parents engage with their kids during the day, there should be no concerns regarding their bonding or connection.
According to the researchers, there has been little research in this area, and the data is mixed. They also stated that around one-third of all parents in this newest study shared their bed with a baby on an occasional or most nights during the first 18 months, due to the convenience of nursing and coping with night waking.
The research did highlight that there is consistent evidence that the risk of SIDS rose when babies shared a bed with their parents, even in the absence of dangerous conditions. This was amplified if either parent used alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, or slept on a soft surface. This is especially concerning for small newborns under the age of four months, according to Bilgin.
According to the AAP‘s healthy sleep guidelines on its website, 3,500 babies die in the United States each year from sleep-related causes. While the AAP advises against bed-sharing, this does not mean that newborns should sleep in a separate room. Infants should sleep in their crib in the same room as their parents for at least six months, preferably a full year, according to the organization.
According to Dr. Rahul Gupta, senior vice president and chief medical and health officer for the March of Dimes, the safest location for an infant to sleep is by himself or herself in a bassinet or cot. Multiples should be placed in their separate bassinets or cribs, rather than sharing space. To sleep, infants should always be laid on their backs. Their mattress should be firm. Positioners, crib bumpers, loose sheets, toys, and other soft items are not permitted in their crib.
It’s critical to remember that not sharing a bed does not imply not sharing a room, according to Gupta.
That’s a simple way of expressing that just because the baby isn’t in their bed doesn’t imply he or she isn’t present. And providing the infant their sleeping place, making it secure, peaceful, and comfortable, is sometimes the best thing parents can do for their kid, he continued, and then they can be right there.
The mother-baby relationship is essential. That connection is crucial. And having the baby sleep in a bassinet for those few hours that they are sleeping is a wonderful thing for a variety of reasons, the least of which is that it does not appear to cause problems in bonding, according to the study, Gupta said.
He emphasized the need for continuing research.
Bilgin acknowledged that there is more work to be done.
Because of the scarcity of current information, Bilgin believes it is too early to draw any clear forecasts or conclusions on this subject. She intends to do more research with other samples.