Is It Good for Children to Co-sleep with Their Moms?

06 June, 2020
Co-sleeping can offer many benefits for babies. However, there are many differing opinions when it comes to older children co-sleeping with their moms.
 

The birth of a child produces as many doubts and questions as there are minutes in a day. Each moment presents a decision, and new parents are constantly running into contradictory opinions about everything they do. However, many scientific studies can shed light on these situations. For example, today we’ll look at what the research says about children co-sleeping with their moms.

In this article, we’ll examine different perspectives on this topic. As we do, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s a wide variety of variables. For example, a child’s age, cultural issues, and socioeconomic factors, just to name a few.

Keep reading to discover more!

Is it good for children to co-sleep with their moms?

First, let’s talk about babies

A baby asleep while breastfeeding.
In the case of babies, co-sleeping favors nocturnal breastfeeding.

Several studies coincide to a great degree about the best positions for babies when it comes to sleeping. Parents need to be aware of these positions to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, when it comes to where babies should sleep, the opinions start to differ. 

In some cases, experts point out the risks of babies co-sleeping with their moms in the same bed. For example, if one of the parents is is a smoker, this may harm the baby. Plus, there’s the risk of suffocation. To reduce this risk, babies could sleep in the same room as their parents, but not in the same bed.

What we can point out is the great advantage co-sleeping offers to mothers when it comes to breastfeeding. That is, when babies sleep with their moms, this contributes favorably to breastfeeding.

Discover more: How To Help Your Baby Sleep Better

Children

Most research on the subject of co-sleeping focus specifically on the first months or years of life. In later stages, sleeping habits seem to have a lot to do with cultural and socioeconomic factors.

According to this same data, there is no significant relationship between cognitive capacities and co-sleeping. In the same way, there is no evidence to suggest that sleeping with their moms affects the way a child behaves. The age reference in this research was 5 years.

Considering these factors, researchers affirm that it’s one thing for children to sleep with their moms because of limited space… However, it’s another thing for mothers to choose freely to co-sleep with their children. This difference causes a variation in results, as well as the case of temporary co-sleeping due to a child’s sleeping problems.

So, should children sleep with their moms?

A other looking at her sleeping child.
There are many contrasting opinions about whether co-sleeping between children and parents is beneficial or harmful.

Possible positive aspects

  • Co-sleeping may encourage a positive bond between mother and child.
  • Families spend more time together than they otherwise could during the day.
  • Co-sleeping may help to regulate a child’s breathing.
  • In some specific cases, co-sleeping may help resolve a child’s sleeping problems.
  • It may also help a child’s self-esteem and ability to tolerate stress.

Keep reading: How to Reduce Anxiety in Children

Possible negative aspects

  • Co-sleeping may actually contribute to sleeping problems. This is especially if one of the parents suffers from insomnia or interrupted sleep during the night.
  • It can negatively affect a child’s autonomy and ability to socialize.
  • In some cases, it increases parental angst and stress.

In any case, studies tend to suggest that children should not sleep with their parents beyond the age of 5 or 6. However, this also depends on each mother and each child, and each particular situation.

That being said, the process of transitioning a child to his or her own bed should be gradual. For example, parents could start by alternating days, or by setting up a bed for their child next to their own bed.

Tips for helping children sleep better

First of all, experts warn against watching TV at night, just before going to bed. This habit reduces the number of hours that children rest. In contrast, kids should take part in other activities like reading a book or conversing with family members. Massage is another way to help overly excited or anxious children to calm down before bed.

Second, it’s important for children to eat balanced and complete meals for supper. We should avoid giving foods that can alter or stimulate our children, which will only make it difficult for them to rest. For example, you should leave out sugar and chocolate around dinner time, as well as their derivatives.

Conclusion

A family sleeping in the same bed with their moms
There are just as many child-raising habits as there are children and families.

In this article, we can observe that, once again, it’s difficult to speak in general terms about child-raising approaches. Every decision that parents make involves both benefits and risks.

It’s hard to classify each family and each person when it comes to education, affection, patience, etc. Plus, each child presents his or her own challenges, which parents learn to overcome through their own childraising experience.

So, what do you think? It is good for children to co-sleep with their moms?

The jury’s still out, and there’s an infinite number of opinions on the subject.

 
  • Where should babies sleep-alone or with parents?. (1999). BMJ (Clinical research ed.)319(7223), B. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1117180/
  • Colecho en el hogar, lactancia materna y muerte súbita del lactante. Recomendaciones para los profesionales de la salud. Texto completo. (2017). Archivos Argentinos de Pediatria. https://doi.org/10.5546/aap.2017.s105
  • Barajas, R. G., Martin, A., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Hale, L. (2011). Mother-Child Bed-Sharing in Toddlerhood and Cognitive and Behavioral Outcomes. PEDIATRICS. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2010-3300
  • Blunden, S. L., Milte, C. M., & Sinn, N. (2011). Diet and sleep in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Preliminary data in Australian children. Journal of Child Health Care. https://doi.org/10.1177/1367493510385020