Study Shows That It Is More Beneficial For Children To Share Mother's Bed Until Age 3
A paediatrician discovered that it may be better for children to sleep in the same bed with their mothers until they reach the age of three.
Dr Nils Bergman, of the University of Cape Town, South Africa reportedly found out that two-day-old babies that sleep in cribs experience a lesser quality of sleep than those who are held by their mother. His study also claimed that the hearts of babies who doze off on their mother's chest are under less stress.
In addition to these claims, when a baby is left to sleep alone, it affects the intensity of mother-child bonding and may even negatively impact the development of the brain, leading to bad behaviour as the child gets older.
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Dr Bergman advised that for optimal development, newborns should sleep on their mother's chest for the first few weeks of life. Afterward, they should be placed on the mother's bed to sleep until they are three or four years old.
This study is quite controversial because earlier research done on similar topics indicates that bed-sharing increases the risk of cot death as it is possible for a mother to roll over and smother her child. So, women have always been advised against sharing a bed with their infants.
Dr Bergman, however, pointed out that when cot deaths happen, it is not usually in cases where the mothers smother their babies, but it was more likely due to other things like toxic fumes, big pillows, etc.
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For his study, Bergman observed 16 infants who slept on their mother's chest and in a cot by her bed. It was discovered that when they slept alone, the child's heart was under three times as much stress.
There were also more episodes of disrupted sleep when the baby slept alone. Only six of the 16 babies slept quietly but the quality of sleep was not so good.
The National Childbirth Trust is in agreement with Bergman. They believe that it's okay for parents to bed-share as long as they (parents) have not been smoking, drinking or taking drugs.
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From the above, it makes sense that more parents are trying to find some sort of compromise. Some parents resort to placing their baby in a cot inside their' room so the mum is always there for the child whenever she's needed.