Many parents choose to sleep with their children , either in the same bed or by placing a co-sleeping cot or extra bed next to them. Feeling its smell, its warmth and breath while sleeping is really wonderful, and brings so many benefits that, for many families, it is the most natural and comfortable option when it comes to resting.
But this family rest alternative becomes a necessity in the case of breastfed babies. And it is that breastfeeding and co-sleeping are two events so closely related that we could even group them under the same concept: ‘copecho’ .
‘Copecho’, a single term for two closely related actions
Bedtime and breastfeeding are two actions that are so closely related to each other that Dr. James McKenna, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Maternal and Child Sleep Behavior Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame , has been talking about “breastsleeping” for years, a term that mixes the concepts of “breastfeeding” (feeding with chest) and “co-sleeping” (co-sleeping). In Spanish we could use the term “copecho” to refer to this idea.
The ‘copecho’ allows the mother to breastfeed during the night in a comfortable way, as many times as her baby demands, favoring the establishment of breastfeeding at the beginning and contributing to the maintenance of prolonged breastfeeding afterwards.
And it is that sleeping next to the baby while he is being breastfed improves milk production , because by having ‘free access’ to his mother’s breast, the baby takes more feeds. Not in vain, a study carried out a few years ago by the University of Maryland, in the USA, concluded that babies who slept with their mothers were breastfed for longer. Check out more at our site Prince Blog.
But in addition to this important conclusion, the fact that the baby smells and feels close to his mother allows him to satisfy his most primitive needs for food, protection and contact, in addition to strengthening the mother-child bond and favoring his night rest , which ends up having a positive impact on the rest of the whole family.
Co-sleeping and breastfeeding, protective factors against sudden death
But we cannot talk about co-sleeping and breastfeeding without also referring to sudden infant death syndrome , which is defined as the sudden and unexpected death of a child under one year of age. Although the exact cause is unknown, doctors and scientists consider that there are several factors involved, so it is advisable to follow a series of guidelines to minimize the risks .
Among the preventive recommendations would be to share a room with the baby for at least six months (the age that American pediatricians raise to 12 months ). In this sense, it is advisable to sleep using co-sleeping or sidecar cribs that are attached to the double bed safely, giving the baby an independent space but close to his parents .
If you want to share a bed with the baby , in addition to meeting the minimum age recommended by pediatricians (never before three months according to the AEP and six months according to the AAP), parents must adopt a series of measures to practice co-sleeping safely , such as taking care of the firmness of the mattress, avoiding pillows, blankets or cushions that could end up covering the baby’s head, not sharing a bed in situations of extreme fatigue or if tobacco, alcohol, drugs or sedative drugs are consumed, among others recommendations.
In the case of breastfed babies, co-sleeping favors the practice of breastfeeding, which in turn is the main protective factor against sudden death.
A review of studies carried out by the AEPap in 2012 determined that there is no firm scientific evidence that advises against co-sleeping in breastfed babies , in the absence of known risk factors.
For its part, another more recent investigation led by the aforementioned, Dr. James McKenna, not only ratified these conclusions but also indicated that co-sleeping with breastfed babies helps prevent sudden death , as long as there are no other risk factors. and follow the recommendations of professionals
For all these reasons, the majority of women who breastfeed their babies decide to ‘copecho’ , since offering the breast on demand during the night helps them rest better, wake up less often and care for their children more comfortably.