Sleep is an important habit for a healthy development of children and therefore must be protected with good habits from the earliest age. Due to some circumstances, some children sleep with their parents since they are babies.
And that is called co-sleeping. The Dr. Francisco Hijano, Primary Care Pediatrician in Madrid, Spain, grants this interview to GuiaInfantil.com, in which we talk about co-sleeping, a practice that many societies maintain and that by the nineteenth century, was abandoned in Europe.
1- What is co-sleeping? Co-sleeping is what we call the custom that exists in some families for children to sleep with their parents in the same bed. There are groups and associations that defend this type of practice and others that do not.
2- Is co-sleeping good or bad for children? On the one hand, it is proven that co-sleeping helps to develop the baby's bond with his parents and that babies who sleep with their parents nurse a third of the time more than other babies. But on the other hand, it is not indicated in some cases as it poses certain risks to the baby.
3- When is co-sleeping discouraged and why? The practice of co-sleeping is discouraged and contraindicated in the following cases:
1- Before the baby's six months of life. Some studies reveal that only from 6 months of age, it would be safer for the baby to share a bed with his parents. It is recommended that up to six months, to encourage breastfeeding, that the baby sleep next to the parents' bed so that they have easy access to breastfeeding at any time.
2- When the parents take alcohol or some medication constantly. Its effects can put the baby at risk of being crushed.
3- When the parents are smokers.
4- When co-sleeping takes place on the couch. The baby should always sleep on his back, and on the sofa, because it does not have a flat surface such as the mattress, it may offer a greater risk of suffocation or twisting of the neck.
4- What are the risks that co-sleeping exposes babies to? Opponents of co-sleeping say that this practice can increase the risk of sudden death due to suffocation and that it can hinder the child's subsequent independence and autonomy, that it is difficult for them to sleep alone in adulthood, and that it can also contribute to problems sleep and interfere in the relationship of the parents.
5- What benefits does co-sleeping offer babies? Co-sleeping advocates say that those children who sleep with their parents breastfeed more, up to a third more than other babies. They also talk about how the attachment and bond between parents and children increases with this practice, and how safe a baby who is sick or who needs more attention from his parents feels if he sleeps with them.
6- What advice would you give parents to practice safe co-sleeping? To practice safe co-sleeping, you need to follow some recommendations:
1- That the baby falls asleep on firm, clean surfaces, without the absence of smoke, without a pillow or dolls or stuffed animals.
2- The baby should always sleep on his back and never face down or on his side.
3- Water mattresses, due to their lack of firmness, are contraindicated.
4- The baby should never sleep on armchairs or sofas.
5- Parents should be careful not to cover the baby's head. That could make it hard for you to breathe.
6- The baby should not be very warm and that the environment of the room is not very hot.
7- That the parents feel the main responsible for the presence of the baby with them.
8- The safety of the baby can be seriously affected if one of the parents is tired or ill, or has overweight or obesity problems.
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