Moms co-sleeping with baby for long-term more likely to feel depressed


WASHINGTON: Turns out, mothers who co-sleep with infants beyond six months may feel more depressed and judged by others. According to a Penn State-study, mothers who choose to co-sleep with their infants are more likely to feel depressed or judged when faced with recent trends and popular advice telling moms not to sleep with their babies.
After analyzing moms’ sleeping patterns and feelings about sleep for the first year of their babies’ lives, the researchers found that mothers who were still co-sleeping – sharing either a room or bed – with their infants after six months were more likely to feel depressed, worried about their babies’ sleep and think their decisions were being criticized.
Douglas Teti of the Penn State said that regardless of current parenting trends, it’s important to find a sleep arrangement that works for everyone in the family. “In other parts of the world, co-sleeping is considered normal, while here in the U.S., it tends to be frowned upon,” Teti said.
“Co-sleeping, as long as it is done safely, is fine as long as both parents are on board with it. If it’s working for everyone, and everyone is okay with it, then co-sleeping is a perfectly acceptable option.”
The researchers said that while most American families begin co-sleeping when their babies are first born, most of those families transition the babies to their own room by the time he or she is six months old.
Teti said concerns about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or the desire for babies to learn how to fall asleep on their own may be why many parents in the U.S. prefer their babies to be sleep alone.
Teti said this study – which analysed the sleeping habits of 103 mothers in their baby’s first year of life – saw a similar pattern in its participants.”We found that about 73 percent of families co-slept at the one-month point. That dropped to about 50 percent by three months, and by six months, it was down to about 25 percent,” Teti said. “Most babies that were in co-sleeping arrangements in the beginning were moved out into solitary sleep by six months.”
On average, mothers that were still co-sleeping after six months reported feeling about 76 percent more depressed than mothers who had moved their baby into a separate room. They also reportedly felt about 16 percent more criticised or judged for their sleep habits.
The study is published in the journal Infant and Child Development.