1 Big Downside to Co-Sleeping That Makes That Crib Look Awfully Good

Who gets less sleep than a new mom? Tending to our cute little criers every two or three hours is downright exhausting. Sleep stupor brings on a whole level of desperation to catch some zzzzzzzzzzz's ... even leading some moms down the co-sleeping path to get some rest. But new research may change your mind about that methodology.

According to a new study, bed-sharing is linked with poor sleep quality in infants. Surprising, isn't it?

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Of course the very thing some moms do to try to improve the hellish newborn "sleep schedule" may be the thing that's making it worse. 

The study findings, recently published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, show a link between co-sleeping and increased nighttime awakenings and decreased periods of sleep for babies.

More from The Stir: 9 Safe Co-Sleeping Tips to Help Keep You Out of the News

Researchers analyzed 55,831 mom reports of child sleep at 6 months and again at 18 months to see if bed-sharing (defined in the study as a child sleeping in the same bed as mom and/or dad for at least half the night) could affect sleep patterns and duration. Twenty-nine percent of study participants shared a bed with their baby.

The findings? At 6 months, 69.5 percent of all infants in the study had nightly awakenings, but by 18 months, it was reduced to 26.6 percent. (There's hope, new moms!) But bed-sharing at 6 months tripled the risk an infant would frequently wake up in the middle of the night at 18 months.

So, not only does the American Academy of Pediatrics advise against co-sleeping to prevent accidental suffocation, but the benefit you thought you may get from sharing your bed -- more sleep! -- may not be happening for you, new mom.

It should be noted, by the way, that although breastfeeding was related to what the researchers called "concurrent nocturnal awakening" (aka, baby waking up), nursing was not negatively linked to baby's waking later on in life. They're laying the blame totally on co-sleeping.

It's exhausting trying to figure out the right thing to do, isn't it? All we want is the path of least resistance to much-needed sleep ... for us and for our babies.

Do these new findings make you reconsider your stance on co-sleeping? 

 

Image via © Mareen Fischinger/Corbis

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