Many experts say that sleeping with your baby can be dangerous due to risk of smothering. But Dr. Nils Bergman from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, has conducted a study that shows the exact opposite.
Specifically, Dr. Bergman believes healthy newborns should sleep in the same bed as their mother or father until “at least” three or four years old.
“When babies are smothered and suffer cot deaths, it is not because the mother is present. It is because of other things: toxic fumes, cigarettes, alcohol, big pillows, and dangerous toys.”Dr. Nils Bergman
The new study has analyzed 16 different newborns. It found when the babies slept alongside their mother in bed, their heart endured three times less stress than when he or she slept alone.
When babies slept in a cot, a more disrupted sleeping pattern was found to occur. Their brains were far less likely to properly transition through phases of sleep. Furthermore, when left in cots, fewer than half of the research subjects endured any quiet sleep whatsoever.
That means that their sleep quality was far worse than those sleeping with their mothers.
Dr. Bergman claims that children sleeping with their parents have far more benefits than simply to improve sleep. When a baby sleeps alone in a cot, he says, it changes the part of the brain affected by stress hormones. This makes it more difficult for the brain to form relationships or close bonds in future life.
“Children receiving [skin-to-skin contact] showed attenuated stress response, improved RSA, organized sleep, and better cognitive control.
“RSA and maternal behavior were dynamically interrelated over time, leading to improved physiology, executive functions, and mother-child reciprocity at 10 years.”