Cultural History Of Co Sleeping And Its Possible Benefits

co sleepCo-sleeping is a controversial childrearing subject, particularly in western cultures which generally advocate sleeping areas for babies that are separate from their parents.

Culturally there is a lot of disapproval for the practice of co sleeping or bed sharing among western or industrialized societies, to the extent that there is a significant proportion of parents who co sleep but do not admit to it.

The reasons for this disapproval are manifold: that co sleeping increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) due to a parent rolling over on to or otherwise inadvertently smothering the child, that it increases a child’s dependence on the parents for falling asleep, that it may interfere with the intimacy of a couple, and that process of separation when the child eventually sleeps apart from the parents may be difficult.

It is also then considered view of opponents of co sleeping that modern bedding is not suitable for co sleeping, and that it poses a significant risk of suffocation to the child.

Historically speaking, co-sleeping was widely accepted practice the world over. Earlier it was due to practical reasons such as keeping the child warm at night and due to restrictions upon available space.

And to this date, in countries like India and China co sleeping is the norm. Arguments in favor of co-sleeping cite statistics of lower rates of infant death from SIDS in countries like China where co sleeping in the norm.

Proponents of co-sleeping say that it facilitates breast feeding, lets the mother enjoy more uninterrupted sleep, is better for bonding and that there are evolutionary theories as to why co-sleeping would be healthier for infants than sleeping alone.

Co-sleeping is also advocated by proponents of Attachment Parenting and is reintroduced as a concept into Western culture.

Attachment Parenting contemplates several principles that are reinforced by co sleeping. This parenting style is one within which the child forms a strong emotional bond with caregivers during childhood with lifelong consequences.

Sensitive and emotionally available parenting helps the child to form a secure attachment style which fosters a child’s socio-emotional development and well being. It also contemplates the physical availability that co sleeping denotes.

For those are unconvinced about the child’s safety in an arrangement of co sleeping, it is suggested that a device such as a cot or bassinet attached to the parental bed or infant enclosures to be placed in the bed etc. be used. Co-sleeping is therefore something that is gaining popularity as a concept in western cultures.


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