Anthropological and developmental studies indicate that mothers and babies are biologically and psychologically made to sleep together in the same bed, not only to breastfeed but also to nurture them during the night. Since the first ever baby was born, babies have always slept with their mothers – babies aren’t meant to sleep divided from their mums, alone in a different room.
Nowadays, so much fear is instilled in mums not to co-sleep because of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). 90% of SIDS cases occur in infants under 6 months of age. Did you know that SIDS has only been a common occurrence since the 1950’s? This is when fire retardants and various chemicals started being used on mattresses and when the VACCINES given to infants started to increase (as they still are today!)
Since the 1950s, the typical baby/child/adult mattress materials has been replaced with cheap, petroleum-based synthetics. Near enough all mattresses today contain polyurethane foam, vinyl (PVC), phthalates, chemical fire retardants, petroleum based chemicals, and formaldehyde – as well as a host of other added industrial chemicals. Studies, for a while now, have been coming up with findings seriously questioning the safety of these materials.
Babies, children and adults can become ill by continual exposure to the low level of chemicals given off non-stop whilst sleeping. Babies are especially susceptible to these chemicals. Concern is mounting among physicians, health professionals, environmental advocacy groups, public safety officials, as well as consumers because of the possible effects of these chemicals on our children. Many researchers suspect toxic chemicals have a significant role in the dramatic increase in SIDS and childhood disorders.
RELATED LINK: Toxic Chemicals in Baby Crib Mattresses
The use of lead paint was once widespread before being recognised as toxic and banned. Same as this, many components of today’s baby mattresses are also toxic – currently these chemicals are still legal, though they are likely to be eventually banned as well. The sooner the better.
Babies and toddlers spend around 10-14 hours a day sleeping and playing on mattresses. Thus, the first months and years of their life’s, the mattress is the most used object in a child’s environment. Their every breath means they are breathing in these chemicals.
However, there are always alternatives – there are natural ORGANIC cotton based mattresses out there. Co-sleeping benefits are immense, greatly enhancing a baby’s emotional and physical well-being and when safe co-sleeping guidelines are adhered to, SIDS rates for co-sleeping babies are far lower than for babies sleeping alone in cots, separated from mummy.
Some related links on the benefits of co-sleeping:
Some doctors and researchers believe that during co-sleeping, the physiological regulation of the baby’s breathing and heartbeat with the mother’s makes co-sleeping safer in relation to SIDS.
A study done in the laboratory of James J. McKenna, Ph.D. of co-sleepers, 2 to 4 month olds, reveals that breastfeeding mums and their infants are highly sensitive throughout the night – throughout all sleep stages – to the movements and physical condition of the other. Mothers sleeping with their babies can easily respond to any changes in the baby – such as if it were choking or having trouble breathing.
CAUTION: consuming large amounts of alcohol/drugs impairs this ability, and can then cause SIDS.
If you co-sleep, make sure you make a safe sleeping space for your baby
DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational purposes only and is NOT meant to be SIDS prevention advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. NO claims are being made that co-sleeping or using a non-toxic mattress will prevent SIDS since this has not been 100% scientifically proven, and there can be other factors involved in SIDS. None of the information or options presented above or in related articles are considered to be SIDS prevention advice.