Co-sleeping with babies for long may make mothers depressed: study

WASHINGTON, Mar 3: Mothers who co-sleep with their infants beyond six months are more likely to feel depressed, a US study has found.
After analysing moms’ sleeping patterns, 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.
They were worried about their babies’ sleep and thought their decisions were being criticized, the researchers said.
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.
“In other parts of the world, co-sleeping is considered normal, while in the US, it tends to be frowned upon,” said Douglas Teti from Pennsylvania State University in the US.
“Co-sleeping, as long as its 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,” Teti said.
The researcher 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 US prefer their babies to be sleep alone.
“We found that about 73 per cent of families co-slept at the one-month point. That dropped to about 50 per cent by three months, and by six months, it was down to about 25 per cent,” Teti said.
“Most babies that were in co-sleeping arrangements in the beginning were moved out into solitary sleep by six months,” Teti added.
The study, published in the journal Infant and Child Development, also found that moms who were still co-sleeping with their babies past six months were more likely to be more depressed, worry about their baby’s sleep and feel more criticized than moms who were no longer co-sleeping.
On average, mothers that were still co-sleeping after six months reported feeling about 76 per cent more depressed than mothers who had moved their baby into a separate room.
They also reportedly felt about 16 per cent more criticized or judged for their sleep habits. (AGENCIES)