Children should sleep with their mother until they are at least three years old, says a researcher at the University of Cape Town.
Pediatrician Nils Bergman said babies should sleep on their mother’s breast in the first few weeks after birth. Then they should be left in their mother’s bed until they are at least three years old.
The doctor argued that sharing the bed with their mother will help weld the bond between the two and improve the children’s behavior as they grow older.
His advice is based on a study in which 16 children were monitored. According to the research, babies who slept alone in cots were more stressed.
There was also an increased risk of sleep disturbance in children who slept alone.
Dr. Bergman’s advice contradicts the views of many experts who have expressed concern that babies who sleep in the same bed with their parents have a higher risk of sudden death syndrome.
“When babies suffocate and die during sleep, it’s not their mother’s fault,” he said. This “happens because of other things: toxic smoke, cigarettes, alcohol, big pillows and dangerous toys,” Bergman added.