sleeping 4 2017KENTUCKY (4/25/17) — Many couples sleep in the same bed as their partners, although there are plenty of couples who attest to the benefits of sleeping separately. When children are introduced into the family, sleeping arrangements may be revised once more. Some parents opt to have their child share their same bed space, while others feel children should be trained early to enjoy their own beds. The following is a look at the pros and cons of bed sharing.


Proponents of bed sharing say that it strengthens the emotional bond between parent and child. Some studies suggest that the proximity to a parent may also help an infant's immature nervous system learn to self-regulate during sleep and lessen anxiety.

Many mothers sleep with their children to facilitate feedings. It can make nighttime breastfeeding more convenient and also may help a mother's milk production increase with more frequent nighttime breastfeeding.

Bed sharing is the norm in many countries outside of North America. Children in Asia sometimes co-sleep with their parents into adolescence. Japan has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

When sleeping side-by-side, a baby may synchronize breathing and heart rates with his or her parents. The familiar warmth of a parent also can naturally calm a baby.

For those who decide to share a bed, certain safety precautions can help remove risk.

• Sleep on a firm mattress with a minimal amount of bed linens.

• Tie up long hair and remove jewelry.

• Do not drink alcohol or take drugs before bed, as these can effect depth of slumber.

• Consider a co-sleeper crib, which attaches to the bed so the child is safer.


There are many things to consider before sharing a bed with a baby, and safety is of the utmost concern when doing so. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that babies should sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months, or up to a year, of life, but not in the same bed, as adults may unknowingly trap a baby in the linens or in the space between the bed and wall. Parents also may roll over onto the child if they are sharing a bed. Some studies also suggest co-sleeping increases the risk of SIDS.

Parents also must consider the potential for nighttime wakings before sharing their beds with children. Children who share a bed with their parents, whether infants or toddlers, may cause parents to spend extra time awake. This is especially true for light sleepers who can be awakened by the slightest sounds or movements.

Some parenting experts also say that sleeping with a child may result in reduced opportunities for self-soothing. Super-attentive parents may pick up or feed the baby when it's not necessary to do so. Also, a child who requires nighttime parental comfort to sleep may then require it in the daytime to nap as well.

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