Co-sleeping may be a smack of controversy and taboo in our culture but it has been scientifically proven to deliver enormous physiological and psychological benefits to every member of the family. Discover the incredible benefits of co-sleeping with your little ones.

For families who share sleep with their children, it can be hard to understand why such a nurturing practice leads to so many raised eyebrows. Despite the cultural taboo against co-sleeping, there are many practical reasons why you should feel good about sleeping next to your children at night.

Protection from nighttime dangers

Human infants are born helpless and need constant care. Throughout human history, mothers have slept with their babies to protect and care for them during the night. The modern convention of putting babies to sleep in a separate room from their parents does not in fact benefit the baby.

Co-sleeping increases the chances that a parent will be able to quickly respond and intervene in the event that their baby is in crisis. Co-sleeping babies also enjoy added benefits of sleeping in physiological harmony with their moms which helps to regulate the infant's breathing, sleep state, arousal patterns, heart rates and body temperature.

Lowers risk for SIDS

Co-sleeping, if practiced wisely and safely, can actually lower the risk of SIDS.

One of the main arguments used against co-sleeping is that it will increase the risk of SIDS. This has not been proved true. In fact, according to Dr. William Sears, parenting expert, pediatrician and author of the book, The Baby Sleep Book and SIDS: A Parent's Guide to Understanding and Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, “Co-sleeping, if practiced wisely and safely, can actually lower the risk of SIDS.” During his research, Sears has found more than 250 scientific references to support the benefits and disprove the myths about the dangers of bed-sharing.

Promotes deeper bonding and self-esteem

A deep sense of love and trust develops among family members who share sleep. Bed-sharing is not only good for infants, it is good for toddlers and children of all ages. Although Western culture often views children who sleep with their parents as spoiled and dependent, the opposite is actually true. Sharing sleep allows children to feel safe and comfortable at night because they know that an adult caregiver is always nearby.

Giving children the opportunity to develop independence naturally has been proven in many studies to correlate directly with increased self-esteem, less behavioral problems, less risky behaviors and increased happiness and satisfaction with life. Co-sleeping children are less likely to suffer from stress disorders than children who did not share sleep with their parents.

Supports breastfeeding

For breastfeeding moms, co-sleeping is the most convenient and comfortable sleeping arrangement because it does not require the mother to get out of bed several times a night to nurse her baby. Not only do nursing moms get more sleep and feel more rested, babies benefit too.

As explained by Dr. James McKenna in his 2005 study in Paediatric Respiratory Reviews, “After all, mother–infant co-sleeping represents the most biologically appropriate sleeping arrangement for humans… If anthropological evidence on infant sleep and development were integrated and used as a starting point to inform infant sleep research, there is no doubt that the question we would be asking is not if it is safe for an infant to sleep next to its breast feeding mother, but rather, is it safe not to!”

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Amy Vowles June 07, 2012
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We LOVE co-sleeping. Our midwife recommended it and it has seriously changed our lives as parents. It has made the transition into parenthood so much easier for us, and we get so much more sleep!
Monica Beyer June 06, 2012
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Love co-sleeping, it has made these past 2 1/2 years so much easier!
Robin Farr June 05, 2012
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We didn't co-sleep when my son was an infant because it made me nervous, but I may try it with this next one (due in October). I loved it when C was older, but I'm still concerned that it will make it harder to get the new babe to sleep independently. My first son was such a bad sleeper that part of me wants to get this one sleeping well on his own right from the start. Dilemmas...