Co-sleeping offers many perks, such as easier nighttime breastfeeding, bonding benefits and often even more sleep for parents (you’re not popping in and out of bed all night). We also know that co-sleeping may help reduce stress. But what about the child development aspects of co-sleeping? If you co-sleep are you harming your child in some deep dark psychological way? Nope – not according to new research from researchers at Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York. Researchers obtained data on almost 1,000 U.S. mothers, who reported whether or not they co-slept with their children at ages one, two and three years. The researchers then tested the behavior and intellectual development of these children at age five, and the end result was that kids develop properly no matter if they co-sleep or not.
Obviously, this new research won’t stall the co-sleeping debate entirely. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) still recommends against co-sleeping with babies due to a possible connection between co-sleeping and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). But other research shows that co-sleeping may in fact be safer than cribs and equal a possible reduced risk of SIDS. Still, on the plus side, co-sleeping advocates can feel good about this new research. Lauren Hale, study lead, told Reuters Health “Parents can do what works best for their family and not feel guilty if they choose to bed-share, because there probably aren’t lasting impacts.” Hale goes on to say, “Any negative associations between bedsharing in toddlerhood and later behavioral and cognitive outcomes are probably not due to bedsharing itself, but rather to the sociodemographic characteristics of American families who bedshare.”
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