Advantages and Disadvantages of Co-Sleeping

The practice of co-sleeping is far more debatable with many arguments attached to it. As many parents find it to be a comfortable and useful practice others may not entirely agree with it. This article helps one to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages related to co-sleeping.

Advantages and disadvantages of co-sleeping

Co-sleeping is a common practice prevalent in many countries including many parts of India, Europe, South America and rest of Asia. Co-sleeping can also be termed as bed-sharing is a practice where parents share their bed with children. Co-sleeping is most of the time a controversial subject with many favoring it and rest against it. Most parents as well as medical practitioners favor co-sleeping for various advantages associated with it. But at the same time there are many such medical experts who are completely against the idea of co-sleeping for the supposedly risks and disadvantages associated with it. Co-sleeping is found as a common practice mostly in non-western culture, though you may find many of the families from western culture too practicing co-sleeping for a limited period or so. Thus the question keeps arising whether or not co-sleeping should be practiced or not by many parents, as the argument is completely debatable. One may also debate about the possible hazards of co-sleeping which may leave parents confused more and more about practicing co-sleeping.

Co-sleeping with infants and toddlers

It is a common and convenient practice found in most of the countries where mothers sleep beside their toddlers. This comes as a great advantage for the mothers as well as infants. Research has shown that when mothers share their beds with infants, both the child as well the mother get responsive to each other's movements and thus feel more comfortable. A child is seen to be sleeping comfortably as well as securely beside his mother. The infant is fed well in the nights and mothers too sleep comfortably besides their child. One more advantage associated with co-sleeping of infants and toddlers beside their mothers is that the child hardly wakes up in the night, and they rarely cry. Unlike sleeping alone in cribs where children are found to be waking up in a greater percentage compared to the previous one.

Infants and toddlers sleeping in cribs

The practice of infants sleeping in cribs is considered to be far more safe and sound when it comes to physical safety of children. Cribs are safe as there are less possible chances for a child to roll out in his sleep and fall down when compared to beds. Many families have considered placing toddlers and infants in cribs to be an ideal and safer option.

Advantages associated with co-sleeping

Co-sleeping has various advantages associated with it, few of them are listed below:

- A child preferably a toddler may feel secure and warm besides his mother.

- Infants are provided with more nourishment by mothers, including the constant breast feeding during nights which is facilitated by co-sleeping.

- Infants are supplied with steady stream of feelings which includes a warm touch of his mother, her smell, her movement as well as the comfort, which may come as a big advantage for the child's overall growth and development.

- When a child, particularly toddler's sleep beside their mother the mother is more aware of the child's condition and may be able to respond immediately in terms of crisis or severe health conditions.

- The child gets more attached to its mother unlike children who sleep separately in their own cribs. Better known as the Secure attachment relationship that is been developed between a mother and the child due to co-practicing.

- Research has shown that in many cases, the parents are left un-alarmed when their children are left to sleep alone in cribs and parents aren't near them to take care of them. In such cases a sudden medical emergencies could not be over-ruled.

- With lack of space, co-sleeping turns out to be a favorable practice for many families.

- In many cases, where the child sleeps alone in independent bedrooms, there are possibilities of the child falling down from the bed and left unattended. Hence co-sleeping seems to be far more beneficial in such cases.

- Co-sleeping may be a fair practice for parents who work for longer hours and thus share some great time with their child while sleeping.

- Co-sleeping has been known to provide a safer environment for a child and hence such children are said to grow up more confident and pose to have a high self-esteem.

- Other than mothers, research has also shown that fathers too enjoy co-sleeping with kids, as they get to have an additional bonding time with their kids.

Disadvantages associated with co-sleeping

Though there are many advantages that one may have to conclude co-sleeping as a favorable practice, one may not be able to deny about the disadvantages that are associated with co-sleeping. Few of these disadvantages associated with co-sleeping are listed below:

- A child may feel suffocated or even get strangulated due to lack of space, is said to be an alarming fact for parents who practice co-sleeping.

- Co-sleeping has been known to foster an unhealthy childhood dependency which may not work well for a child.

- In many cases, mothers have known to complain about not been able to sleep in the same beds with their children as sudden or constant movement of children may make them lose their sleep.

- Co-sleeping may not work out well for healthy marital relationship.

- Co-sleeping may turn out to be dangerous and hence should be avoided if any of the parents is suffering from any infectious health condition.

- Co-sleeping should be avoided if any of the parents is under any sort of medical therapy and under heavy drugs or medication.

- If either of a parent is known to take drugs or alcohol then one can't deny the possible hazards of co-sleeping.

- A parent too may not be able to enjoy a good sleep if the child with whom he co-sleeps with has habit of kicking, wriggling or moving around in the bed.

- Once a child gets used to habit of co-sleeping, then it may become far difficult for the parents to make him sleep independently in their own bedrooms.

- When parents practice co-sleeping, many times they need to go to bed with children even when they are not feeling sleepy or have other work to do.

- If any of the parent or both parents are into smoking, then co-sleeping may pose severe health hazards for the child.

- If a child is habituated to co-sleeping with either any of the parents, then conditions like divorce or separation or even death of that family member may leave the child in a deep trauma. The child may not be able to sleep for days together and would face severe crisis. In such cases it may get difficult for the other parent to handle this situation.

- Also in cases of divorce, if the family has been practicing co-sleeping for a while, then sudden divorce may change the entire situation. A sudden entry of new family member considering re-marriages may bring different changes within the family. It may not be comfortable for either one of the parent as well as children to sleep with the new member as entire family or one of the parent as well as children may not be too happy with this decision.

Finally what is important is that parents need to provide for a more safer and secured sleeping environment for the kids. Hence whatever the arrangement they come up with it has to work on the positive side for the child.


Author: RAJESH.R03 Jun 2011 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 1

Hi Mam,

It is a very useful article to the parents. You describe all the advantages and disadvantages.

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