Monday, June 15, 2009

Should Babies Sleep Alone or with Parents?


This continues to be a topic of debate. I don't think the debate will never end. Some mom's advocate that babies should sleep alone. Others say that babies should sleep with mommy in bed. Who's right? Are they both right?

Time.com has an article titled, "Advice for Coddling Parents: Put Baby to Bed Alone." Seems like the answer is clear then. Can we be so sure?

Sleep researcher Dr. Jodi Mindell, a psychology professor at Saint Joseph's University and associate director of the Sleep Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), collected infant sleep data and reported some of her findings in this Time.org article. "Only 12% of parents reported bed-sharing, and 22% reported room-sharing. But in Asian countries the numbers were much higher: fully 65% of parents shared beds with their infants, and 87% slept in the same room."

What's interesting is that Mindell found that co-sleeping led to more disturbed sleep in infants. Accordingly, babies living in Asia got much less sleep overall and significantly less quality sleep than infants in the U.S. However, note that the quality and duration of Asian babies who slept alone were just as low as babies who co-slept with parents. So what exactly does this imply? Do Asian babies need less sleep? How does sleep duration and quality impact infant development? There are still very many unanswered questions when it comes to infant sleeping. What do you think about infant co-sleeping?

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