Is it teething time for your little one?

 

Health officials and experts have often warned parents about the dangers of co-sleeping with their babies; the UK’s health advisory board have advised against falling asleep alongside babies in a bed or on the sofa, saying it puts infants at an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

 

In fact, last year, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) updated the guidelines around the practice to make parents aware of this increased risk, but stopped short of advising against it completely, due to conflicts over breastfeeding.

 

However, according to an article published in the LA Times, co-sleeping while not common in this part of the world is well established in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

 

 

In fact, as the publication points out, parents in Japan tend to sleep with their babies in their bed and they have one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

 

Biological anthropologist James McKenna conducted a study on co-sleeping at his Mother-Baby Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame and found evidence of physiological synchronisation between Mum and Baby, especially when the infant is breastfed. He called it 'breastsleeping'. 

 

And Dr Sears, an online US medical online publication, says co-sleeping can help babies grow up to be less anxious, have higher self esteem, become more independent, and are more comfortable with affection.

 

 

They also cited research which shows how co-sleeping can actually keep Baby's temperature and heart rhythms more stable, which can ultimately protect Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

 

However, the HSE advise parents don't fall asleep in bed with their baby if you smoke, have taken alcohol, drugs or medication that makes you sleep more heavily or if your baby is less than three months old, was born prematurely or had a low birth weight (less than 2.5kg or 5.5lbs).

 

They also advise you never fall asleep with your baby on a sofa, couch, arm chair or beanbag. 

 

At the end of the day it is important parents followed their GPs advice and go with what feels comfortable - there is no right or wrong way to parent. 

 

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