What is Co-sleeping and what is Bed-sharing?

What is Co-sleeping and what is Bed-sharing?

The word Co-sleeping has a pretty bad rep in the media and is often linked to SIDs and a breakdown in the parents relationship due to this infant intruder in their sex life. But what is Co-sleeping really? Co-sleeping with a baby means sleeping in the same room with them - this could be on the same bed or surface, or in a separate bed or cot in the same room or even sidecarred to the parents bed. This could also be a tired parent who falls asleep on the couch whilst feeding a baby or in an armchair with baby on their chest.

Bedsharing on the other hand is more specific. This is only when a parent is sharing a bed with their baby.

The most important thing about co-sleeping and bed-sharing is planning it beforehand. It means researching the risks and benefits beforehand, and made sure their sleeping environment, bedclothes, and coverings etc are suitable for bed-sharing or co-sleeping if applicable (e.g. if sidecarred). By planning this, you can reduce or eliminate the risks of these practices and reap the benefits. If its unplanned - not only are you unaware of the risks but you are more likely to be complacent and have these risks eventuate e.g. falling asleep in an unsafe position. It’s always better to arm yourself with knowledge and make an informed decision about what is right for you and your family.

Co-sleeping - sleeping in the same room as your baby - has been proven to decrease the risk of SIDS by 50% because you are more alert to changes in your babies breathing and movement and can respond immediately. Its not sleeping in the same room that counts - it’s the perceptiveness to your child and responding to their needs that matters. Bedsharing on the other hand, is widely discouraged by mainstream healthcare professionals for fear of it causing SIDS but as I will discuss in my next post, the factors that are associated with SIDS can be eliminated to allow for safe bed-sharing to facilitate greater breastfeeding, breastmilk production, closer bond with your baby and regulation of temperature and response to their needs.

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