haikProject encourages co-sleeping and /or bed-sharing with one or both parents, as the most natural and safe way of sleeping for the first years of child’s life, if taken a few necessary precautions. There are multiple physical and psychological advantages to the child, the mother and the family to share sleep in family bed or in arm’s-reach co-sleeper (on a different surface).
Co-sleeping and/or bed-sharing is a wonderful night-time parenting practice. Before the 19th century sleeping with the child was a norm all over the world. Over half of the world’s infants still sleep with their parents.
It has been proposed that co-sleeping evolved for over 5 million years of our species. All mammalian species ensured their survival by sleeping in close proximity with their offspring. While there is no immediate risk of predators, human nervous system has evolved according to millions of years of sleeping patterns. The tiny newborn’s brain, heart and respiratory system are in tune to the mother’s or father’s breathing, movement, and skin-to-skin contact. Babies’ nervous system does not keep up with the fast-changing environmental and socio-cultural changes that instead offer solitary sleep in cribs, electronic bassinets, strollers and other gadgets.
While the US consumer Product Safety Commission warns against so-sleeping/bed-sharing, the research that they use as a basis for their recommendation has been severely criticized for methodological flaws and possible bias.
Huge body of evidence suggests the undeniable health benefits of co-sleeping and/or bed-sharing. The co-sleeping pair is an utmost symbiosis – would it be mother and child or father and child, the sleeping pair becomes one unit in many ways. Their breathing, movements and sleep-cycles are often times synchronized. Here is what researchers found:
• The vitals of co-sleeping baby are more steady; body temperature, heart rate, and breathing are stable
• Cortisol (the stress hormone) is low both in the baby and the mother. High level of stress hormone may impede the child’s healthy growth

  • Co-sleeping/bed-sharing mothers breastfeed more. Breastfeeding reduces SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
  • Co-sleeping/bed-sharing mothers report getting more sleep and report getting more rest
  • Maternal inspections in co-sleeping pair are frequent; maternal body movements, and breathing arouse babies in the incidents of sleep apnea, and by extension prevent SIDS

Research also found benefits that go beyond immediate impact to long-term psychological development. Co-sleeping/bed-sharing babies are found to be:

  • Happier
  • Less anxious
  • Less likely to develop behavioral problems
  • More likely to have higher self-esteem
  • More contented with intimacy later in life
  • More likely to be independent as adults

Attention: Co-sleeping and family bed sharing requires some precautions. Failure to follow these safety measures may put your infant at risk. Please attend our seminar for comprehensive discussion of safe sleep and baby-wearing. Attend our seminars or call for individual counselling.

Our latest flyer can serve as a quick reference for you and your friends for getting familiar with 5 Crucial Aspects of Childbirth and Childcare.
Click to download or print the PDF

Further Readings
Field, T., Touch in early development. 1995 N.J Lawrence Earlbaum and Associates
Sears W., Sears M. The Attachment Parenting Book: A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby. 2001 Little Brown and Company.
Ganju K.A., Attachment Parenting Book: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child. 1999. Atria Publishing
McKenna, J. Why babies should never sleep alone: a review of the co-sleeping controversy in relation to SIDS, bedsharing and breastfeeding; Paediatr Respir Rev. 2005, June 6(2);134-52
McKenna, J. Experimental studies of infant-parent co-sleeping: mutual physiological and behavioral influences and their relevance to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Early Hum Dev. 1994 Sep 15; 38(3):187-201
Hofer, M. Some thoughts on the transduction of experience from a developmental perspective. Psychosomatic Medicine. 1982, 44 (19)
Forbes, J.F. et al The cosleeping habits of military children. Military medicine, 1992 (196-200).

The information on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice but is for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.