Co-sleeping health warnings questioned

Controversial South African paediatrician suggests co-sleeping could be better for babies

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Sleeping with your baby on your chest is the best way for them to get rest, claims a controversial S.A paediatrician. Dr Nils Bergman has claimed that babies’ hearts are put under more stress if left to sleep on their own.

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Dr Nils findings (first reported in 2011) go against health warnings that suggest co-sleeping can lead to cot death. “It is not because their mother is present”, claims Dr Nils. Cot deaths relating to co-sleeping are usually related to toxic fumes, pillows, alcohol and dangerous toys, he says.

Along with the National Childbirth Trust, Dr Nils believes there are clear benefits associated with co-sleeping. Increased bonding, better organ development and a reduced risk of behavioural problems amongst toddlers are some of the benefits he cites, after studying the sleeping patterns of 16 infants.

But the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths remains against co-sleeping, due to risks relating to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Ensuring your baby sleeps on his back in his own cot is the message they’re keen to impress upon new parents. Studies have shown that in the UK around two-thirds of unexplained infant deaths took place while bed-sharing.

Did you co-sleep? Let us know your thoughts.

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