There has been a lot of discussion for years about whether or not you can let a baby sleep in the parents' room. Opponents say that babies become too dependent on their parents when they sleep in the room. Proponents say that it is good for, for example, the bonding. Recently, good research has been done about this for the first time, and what appears to be: a baby in the room of parents letting sleep just be good for your little one!
Discussion about sleeping in the parents' room
In the Netherlands, it is generally advisable to have a baby sleep in the parents' room for the first 6 months after birth. This is also called room-sharing. The reason why this advice applies in the Netherlands is because room-sharing almost halves the risk of cot death.
Despite this advice, there are many parents who still let their child sleep in the baby room. There are various reasons for this that sound quite plausible. For example, parents may fear that their children become too dependent on them if they sleep on their side for the first few months. Maybe they do not want to lie in their own room later on, or they can not fall asleep if they are alone. This could cause sleep problems later. In addition, parents also choose this because, for example, they are unable to sleep properly due to the sounds of the baby, or perhaps the baby is awakened by the parents' sounds. This of course does not benefit the night's rest.
Proponents have long argued that having a baby sleep in the parents' room is advantageous. It would be better for the bond. In addition, babies usually sleep better when they are close to the parents and this proximity gives them a reassuring feeling. But who is right?
The investigation into room-sharing
The discussion about whether or not to let a baby sleep in the parents' room has been in full swing for years. Strangely enough, no good research has been done about it until now. Developmental psychologist Roseriet Beijers of Radboud University has, in collaboration with the University of Maryland, conducted a major and lengthy investigation into the effects of a baby's sleeping place in the first half of the year. Here you will find the publication of the room-sharing research.
In this first major study, almost 200 babies and their parents were followed for 6 to 8 years. In the first 6 months, parents had to keep a sleep diary daily. After this the children were followed until they were 6 to 8 years old. This was done through reports prepared by parents and teachers at school. In addition, the behavior of the children was observed. In this way any sleep problems and behavioral problems (such as depression or anxiety) could be mapped out. We also looked at pro-social behavior. This is for example the helpfulness for others.
Benefits of having baby sleep in the parents' room
The results of the study show that any sleep problems or behavioral problems are not related to room-sharing. You do not have to let your child sleep in his or her own room because you are worried that your child will develop sleep problems later. The first 6 months of being cozy together in one bedroom has no negative consequences. That's nice for the people who love being close to their little ones at night!
Let your baby sleep in the room with a co-sleeper!
What are the positive effects of a baby sleeping in the parents' room?
A big advantage, of course, is that it helps reduce the risk of cot death. Because you are close to your child, you hear more quickly whether something is wrong and you can intervene immediately. Other advantages are that room-sharing may contribute to better sleep quality and more pro-social behavior.
So if you find it so wonderful to have your child close to you, then nothing stands in the way of you anymore!
Incidentally, room-sharing does not mean that your child sleeps in bed with you. You share the room, not the bed. So let your child sleep in a co-sleeper, a pull-out bed or just a cradle