Highlights

  • Indian mothers often practice co-sleeping with their babies
  • There are two ways parents might sleep with their baby
  • Co-sleeping promotes breastfeeding during the night.

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Most Indian parents sleep with their baby. Know what science says about the practice

There are many scientific studies about co-sleeping with your baby but it is a cultural thing and parents must consult their doctor before taking any decision.

Most Indian parents sleep with their baby. Know what science says about the practice

Indian parents especially mothers often practice co-sleeping with their babies, a cultural norm. While some studies suggest potential benefits like enhanced bonding, some research says it is not necessary.

There are two ways parents might sleep with their baby: sharing the same bed (on a shared surface) or being in the same room but not the same bed. A recent Canadian study has found that about a third of moms share the same surface with their baby, while 40 percent never do. Another study in Quebec in the late 1990s showed that one-third of moms sleep in the same room.
The Canadian Paediatric Society says, "For the first 6 months, the safest place for your baby to sleep is on their back, in a crib, cradle, or bassinet that is in your room (room sharing)."

There are two main ideas about co-sleeping. One focuses on the medical risks, like choking or sudden infant death syndrome. The other supports co-sleeping for breastfeeding and cultural values. Both ideas exist, making the choice of how to sleep with a baby in the early months challenging for parents.

According to scientific studies co-sleeping promotes breastfeeding during the night. But it’s hard to say whether it’s breastfeeding that favours this practice or whether it’s the other way around. In any case, breastfeeding is the main reason why mothers choose shared-surface co-sleeping.

Nevertheless, there was no difference found between nighttime breastfeeding and the two forms of co-sleeping. In simple words, sleeping in the same room is equally supportive of breastfeeding as sharing the same surface during sleep. After all it’s a family choice that you should make with your partner or decide according to your baby's needs.

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