Until the third year of age, it is recommended for babies to sleep at their mother’s side. This piece of advice which is considered controversial comes from a pediatrician who made research and discovered that very young babies who slept in a different bed than their mothers, had a worse night’s rest.
A study was also conveyed on sixteen babies that showed that the hearts of the babies that slept in a cot were under more stress than those who slept close by their mother’s chest.
It also showed that being in a cot disrupted sleep with babies finding it harder to transition between the two sleeping stages, active and quiet sleep. This transition is crucial for the normal development of the young brain.
Some studies also connect the lack of sleep and stress in the youngest age to behavioral problems later in the teen years, some even leading to problems forming a relationship that may lead to promiscuity.
Some researchers also claim that it is harder for the mother and the baby to make a bond if they sleep separated. It can also hinder the normal development of the brain which may lead to the kid having a bad behavior when it grows up.
To avoid all that, Dr. Nils Bergman, from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, suggests that for the first couple of weeks babies should sleep by their mother’s side as close to the mother as possible, and after that, they should stay sleeping in the same bed with their mothers until their third or fourth year of age.
On the other hand, some other studies suggest that mothers could unconsciously in their sleep suffocate the baby so they advise them not to sleep together when the baby is still very young. It was shown in a recent study in the UK that almost two-thirds of the sudden deaths in infants were unexplained and occurred during the night when the mom and the baby shared a bed.
Dr. Nils explained however that when those deaths occur it is not the mother’s fault, but the kids can suffocate from poisonous cigarette fumes, pillows that are too big or small toys that can be very dangerous.
The National Childbirth Trust, however, is in favor of babies sleeping next to their mothers so long as their parents are not overweight, sick or too tired, and have abstained from smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths has made their remarks though and said they would recommend to the public the safest way for babies to sleep, which is being in a cot in the same room with the parents.