Babies should sleep in mother's bed until age three

Babies should sleep in mother's bed until age three

Safe snooze

Researchers, led by Dr Nils Bergman at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, have found babies’ hearts are under more stress if they are left to sleep on their own; sleeping on mother’s chest provides them with a better rest than being put in a cot for the night.

The study also found that sleeping alone makes it harder for the mother to bond with her child. Moreover, brain development can also be damaged by nightly separation, which can lead to behavioural problems in later life.

Dr Bergman, however, insisted that cot deaths and other infant injuries were not caused by the presence of the mother.

“When babies are smothered and suffer cot deaths, it is not because their mother is present. It is because of other things: toxic fumes, cigarettes, alcohol, big pillows and dangerous toys,” he was quoted by the ‘Daily Mail’ as saying.

Dr Bergman studied the sleeping patterns of 16 infants for the research. He found that the babies hearts were under up to three times more stress when they slept in a cot, rather than on their mother’s chest.

Just six babies in the research group had a quiet night’s sleep on their own. The study also revealed disruption to the brain sleep cycle, which is vital in the organ’s development, in babies sleeping in cots.

Dr Bergman warned that a lack of sleep at this stage could cause behavioural problems for the child in later life. Disrupted sleep and stress to the heart may make it difficult for them to form relationships, he claimed.

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