Pediatrician and Study Now Say Babies âShould Sleep in Motherâs Bed Until Age Threeâ
Previous studies have said that newborns should not sleep in their parentsâ bed. Pediatricians had consistently urged parents to put newborns to bed in cradles and cribs. But now a new study suggests that babiesâ hearts are actually under great stress if they sleep on their own. This has some pediatricians urging parents to âco-sleepâ with babies, even toddlers, up to the age of three.
Dr. Nils Bergman, a pediatrician at the University of Cape Town in South Africa says that sleeping alone causes problems with babiesâ hearts, and also causes problems with bonding.
Dr. Bergman also claims that brain development can be impeded by separate sleeping for babies and mothers, leading to behavioral problems later in life.
But previous studies had warned that babies could suffocate if parents accidentally rolled over on them. A study based in Britain claims that nearly two-thirds of unexplained infant deaths involved co-sleeping.
Experts are nearly evenly divided and polarized on the issue. The National Childbirth Trust is in favor of co-sleeping, while the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths urges against it.
Dr. Bergman, however, disputes the claim that unexplained infant deaths are caused by co-sleeping. In an interview with the Daily Mail, he said that âWhen babies are smothered and suffer cot deaths, it is not because their mother is present. It is because of other things: toxic fumes, cigarettes, alcohol, big pillows and dangerous toys.â
Dr Bergman has started a new movement called âKangaroo Mother Careâ which emphasizes what he considers the benefits of skin-to-skin contact between a mother and her newborn.
In his studies, Bergman has claimed that only 6 children experienced a stress-free night of sleep on their own. Those who did sleep alone experienced several times more stress on their hearts than those who slept in the same beds as their parents, particularly their mothers.
Bergmanâs study also said that disruption to babiesâ brain cycles due to sleeping alone led to problems with organ development. This, Bergman said, could lead to later problems in life.
What are your thoughts? If you have children, have you tried Dr. Bergmanâs suggestions? What did you think?
(Article by M.B. David; image via Enfants Quebec)