We Need To Talk About Co-Sleeping
Co-sleeping is a sleeping arrangement where a parent shares the same bed or the same room with their baby or young child. It is a practice that is common in many cultures around the world for centuries.
When my son Joseph was still a baby, I used to lie in bed, listening to his stirring disquiet and would wonder if co-sleeping was really just "co-insomnia". In his cot beside our bed, he would stare into the darkness, eyes wide, like me. Neither he nor I were getting any slumber but it wasn't a topic I ever brought up within my friends circle as talking about how you sleep with your baby can feel exposing as it invites a deluge of opinions, none of which I was ready to hear especially after a long period functioning with zero shuteye.
Co-sleeping can take different forms, including bed-sharing, where the infant or child sleeps in the same bed as the parent, or room-sharing, where the infant or child sleeps in a separate crib or bassinet in the same room as the parent or caregiver.
Proponents of co-sleeping argue that it can enhance the bond between parent and child, promote breastfeeding, and facilitate better sleep for both the parent and the child. However, there are also concerns about the safety of co-sleeping, particularly bed-sharing, due to the risk of suffocation or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
According to the latest available data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 25 deaths classified as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in Australia in 2020. This represents a decrease from the 86 deaths classified as SIDS in 2019 and although it is a rare occurrence, and Australia having one of the lowest rates of SIDS in the world it is best to be educated on the situation.
Despite the low rates, it's still important for parents and caregivers to follow safe sleep practices to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related deaths. This includes placing infants on their backs to sleep, using a firm and flat sleep surface, and keeping soft objects and loose bedding out of the sleep environment.
It is essential for parents and caregivers to make an informed decision about whether to co-sleep with their child, based on the available evidence, their individual circumstances, and their own beliefs and values. It is also important to follow safe co-sleeping guidelines to minimise the risk of harm to the child.
Having just given birth to my daughter, im still figuring out our sleeping arrangement. I'd like to believe that with a few more years of experience and education, I'll make a conscious decision based on evidence without fear or emotion. I'd hope that ill do it sanely and safely but what I really hope, this time around, i'll get more sleep.