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Sharing a bed or bedroom with your child 'can have long-term benefits'

Attached parenting has been debated for years (Image: Getty Images)

'Attached parenting' which involves co-sleeping and breastfeeding can have a positive impact on your child's physical and mental health, experts have argued.

The parenting technique championed by American paediatrician Dr William Sears relies on parents responding to their baby's needs and having a close, physical bond with them as much as possible.

Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has said attached parenting can help children to grow up to be happier and more confident.

She says it revolves around four main concepts, with one being for parenting to sleep in the same room or even the same bed as their child, with the appropriate precautions.

The others are feeding on demand, keeping good physical contact with the child through cuddling or wearing a harness, and responding to crying rather than allowing it to continue until they stop.

Susan Krauss Whitbourne says it can benefit both parents and children (Image: Getty Images/Cultura RF)

The professor said: "When you separate the popular exaggerations of AP (attached parenting) from the more objectively oriented scientific studies, it’s a sensible approach that fosters physical and psychological health in children," as reported by The Sun .

“We do know from extensive research … that securely attached adults have happier and less conflict-ridden lives. There’s even research to suggest they may be better parents themselves.”

She adds: "Infants raised with AP techniques have lower stress levels, cry less often, and feel more connected to other people as they get older, even showing higher levels of empathy.

"The older they get, the more they can control their own emotions, but this early foundation may help ensure they’ll do so successfully."

Writing for Psychology Today , Susan concludes that attached parenting can alleviate stress in parents, resulting in less tears, fewer tantrums and children being able to adjust easier to babysitters or nursery.

She labels it a 'sensible' approach which can reap benefits for both parents and kids, advising mums and dads to look at the evidence to inform their own choices in the best way to raise their children.

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