Can Co-Sleeping Be Safe For Baby?

   By drodriguez  Feb 24, 2009

Many parents have differing opinions on whether sleeping with their baby is a beneficial and safe practice.  Mothers who breastfeed often sleep with their infants to make those midnight feedings a little easier.  Some parents also feel sleeping with their baby gives them the extra bonding time they need.  But is it safe?

A new study recently released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows a rise in accidental suffocation related deaths of infants who sleep with their parents.  According to the study, 315 babies were suffocated when a parent accidentally rolled over on them in bed during the years of 2003 and 2004. 

CNN released a report with the study’s findings and also spoke with women who are both for and against parents co-sleeping with their young babies.  One woman by the name of Lisa West-Mullen urges parents to heed the advice of the CDC as she lost her 4-month-old when she accidentally rolled over on him in bed one morning. 

Another woman from the report finds that sleeping with her infant to be perfectly safe.  Beverly Steiger said, “It’s really hard to explain, but you have such a heightened awareness when you’re exclusively breastfeeding your baby.  I would never, ever roll over on him.  It would never, ever happen.”  Pediatrician, Dr. Bob Sears agrees with Steiger.  He believes the CDC report doesn’t prove co-sleeping is really dangerous.  He stressed that if co-sleeping is done correctly it can be very safe. 

There are other options of course for the parent who wants to sleep near their baby but worries about safety issues.  Devices like the co-sleeper, a crib that attaches to the bed, are made for parents who want to be in arm’s reach of their baby but don’t want to share a bed.  There are also small protective infant sleepers that fit right into the parents’ bed with hard sides that can prevent accidents. 

To view the CNN video clip regarding the CDC reports you can visit:

What do you think about the latest CDC report that shows a rise in infant co-sleeping related accidents?

Do you think sleeping with an infant can be done safely?


Make a Comment

avasmommy53009 by avasmommy53009 | jacksonville, FL
Sep 03, 2009

Of course not!! I accidentally fell asleep with my daughter once and she rolled off of my bed at 2 months old!! It scared the crap out of me when she started screaming! Luckily i was still moving in and it was just a box spring and matress on the floor but still!! Also , my mom didnt co-sleep with me and im just gonna be honest i crawled out of bed and snuck into their room and i ended up sleepng with them until i was about 9 or 10.. i always had to be touching their feet or something to feel safe... when ava gets old enough i wouldnt mind her sleeping with me every once in a while... her crib is in my bedroom..

xlessliex by xlessliex | Fall River, MA
Jun 22, 2009

I beleive that as long as you are cautious about co-sleeping with you baby than it is perfectly fine, I mean if you a re addicted to drugs or taking certain medications ( that may make u drowsey or put u in a deep sleep ) then i DO NOT believe u should allow co-sleeping becasue then you relally may roll over on them or ect and not be aware while ur sleeping that the baby is there iwht you. BUt i do co sleeep with my 4m otnh old as i did with my 1st son when he turnd 4 moths old, I dnt think a newborn baby shold be slept with because they are soooooo tiny . Also my hubby sleeps on the couch since he doesnt like the Bed for his back, so i mean yoyu know how u are with your child and how u are when u sleep so if u belive it is safe for u as an individual and considering you have a healthy baby than why not!!! Just be extremely cautious,,,, (( AND REMEMBER IT MAY BE HARDER FOR THEM TO SLEEP ALONE AFTER SLEEPING WIHT YOU EVEYRNITE WHEN THEY WERE BABIES))

amberesch by amberesch | stoughton, WI
Jun 17, 2009

i co slept with both my children when they were very new, i could not sleep without them right next to me otherwise i was up every 15 minutes making sure they were breathing, i know there are risks but for me i felt very safe with them next to me, not at all about laziness

Elmosgirl2005 by Elmosgirl2005 | Georgetown, KY
Jun 13, 2009

I breastfed my daughter for her first month and she would rotate between sleeping in her basinett and sleeping in the bed with mommy and daddy. Whichever one she felt more comfortable with when she was laid down. I never laid her inbetween the two of us because daddy moves a lot in his sleep so I keep her close to me, and she's did perfectly fine. I know this may freak some parents out but she's been sleeping in her crib in her own room since I stopped breastfeeding (1 month old). I have the baby monitor sitting in the corner of her crib and I keep the other monitor right next to my bed on full blast and I can hear her every breath, whimper, cry and movement. I wake up to the sound of her waking up. It's kind of like giving her a little independence

coldheartedt by coldheartedt | sergeant bluff, IA
Jun 06, 2009

i have co-slept with both of my kids sice day 1 we got home. it was easy they love it . I thnik that people that kill there babyes while sleeping are just unattentive & it there excuse for being bad parent. How u cannot notice a child there? How obisede yoiu have to big to just roll over on child & dont feel it? How much sex do u have that u cover your child with blanket & pillow that they can see? its your kid!!! parents that accidently saficated they childern I think didnt want them so it was a quiker jail free way to get rid off you kid.

amandadillonward by amandadillonward | pevely, MO
Jun 01, 2009

My husband and I have co-slept with our nine month son since he was born and find it very hard to get him to sleep in his own bed and stay there all night he has become very dependent on us and I want to break the habbit but cant find the right way to do it any suggestions please wright back

May 04, 2009

I too believe that co-sleeping can be done safely. We had a premature baby (by 7 weeks), when we finally brought him home from the NICU, I was nervous to put him to sleep in the crib for fear that he may stop breathing. Our NICU Doctor, who was VERY good I might add, informed me that MY breathing would regulate his. So, I breast fed him and slept with him on my chest. Sometimes I still do, he's 7 mo. and still a little bit little for his age, but we have NEVER had a problem. I feel safer when he is with me, then when he is alone in the crib. We have a breathing monitor on the crib, but I still take comfort in this arrangement. And he can do either today :)

kelli2009 by kelli2009 | Saint Louis, MO
Apr 28, 2009

I almost felt I had no choice but to co-sleep with my infant daughter. It was the only way I was going to get any sleep during those first few months especially while breastfeeding. She would actually sleep for longer periods of time when next to me. I never felt it was unsafe.

therills by therills | GARLAND, TX
Mar 30, 2009

I've never understood parents sleeping with their children. My daughter slept in her own crib, later bed, from birth. There was plenty of time for quality hugging and snuggling when she was awake. I don't feel not following the practice of co-sleeping affected our relationship. Today she's a confident, dynamic young woman and we've always been very close.

kissmecath by kissmecath | PERU, IN
Mar 30, 2009

I never co-slept with either of my daughters. The only time would be during thunderstorms of if they had a nightmare. They slept together in the same room in twin beds until my oldest turned 13 and they were thrilled to get their own rooms! They are very happy to have their own safe haven to go in order to have some "alone time". Other times, I find them both in one room or the other doing each other's hair or laying on the bed watching TV together.

mommy_of_two by mommy_of_two | Dubuque, IA
Mar 28, 2009

Obvioulsy we all perk up a little when we hear that 300 and some babies suffocated due to parents rolling over on them while co-sleeping. However; I think each case probably (i'm speculating here) had it's own issues. I b/f both of my darling daughters, and yes, it was absolutely easier to do the lay down position -- I agree completly that it is also safer to lay down while breasfeeing in the night so that you don't drop your baby after they pass out due to a full tummy of warm mommy's milk. I for one used a "co-sleeper" but there were a lot of times where my babies adn I would fall asleep during the feed.I don't know that what kind of a sleeper you are (light, heavy)even has anythign to do with it. I think it is your motherly instinct. Who knows... to each it's own, right?

brestar3 by brestar3 | Modesto, CA
Mar 26, 2009

I don't have kids, so obviously I really can not say much, however I think my own personal feelings would be to not sleep with your children. One it's potientially dangerous (obviously) and two you do not want to have to find yet another thing you are going to have to take away from the child (i.e. bottle, blankie, or any other permi attachment they have developed). Scary stuff if you squashed your own child, why risk it?

CutieBaby by CutieBaby | chicago, IL
Mar 26, 2009

I have a baby who is exclusively breasfed and I think it is very helpful due to co-sleeping. I am extremely tired at night cause i dont get to sleep during the day, so co-sleeping works for me. I need my sleep. I didnt co-sleep from the beginng, i started 3 months back thats when my baby's colic thing kicked in. Before that he used to sleep in his bassinet. He still has some colic thing and has problem sleeping at night or maybe it is because i am trying to find a suitable formula for him. Whatever the reason but i am holding on to sanity due to co-sleeping.

our_full_house by our_full_house | Oregon City, OR
Mar 20, 2009

I think whether to co-sleep or not is just a matter of preference/choice. My husband cannot sleep if there is a baby in the bed and so we use a bassinet beside our bed. I have breastfed all of my 13 children without co-sleeping any of them. There have been a few occasions when I have brought them into bed with me if I was too tired or sick, etc. to be upright and nurse them, but put them back into their bed either as soon as they were done nursing or if I nodded off, as soon as I woke up again. What works is different for every family. Find what works for you and enjoy your little one!

Bargainhuntingmommy by Bargainhuntingmommy | Henderson, NV
Mar 19, 2009

I have and am co-sleeping with all three of my kids. With my first it wasn't intentional. I ended up having a c-section with her. I tried putting her to sleep in a bassinet next to the bed, but it was too painful to get up for every feeding. When you are exhausted and fall asleep holding your baby while nursing to find her upside down, co-sleeping ends up making sense.Yes the heightened awareness does kick in immediately. I had c-sections with all of my kids so co-sleeping helps with the recovery process as well.With my current 4 mo old, just like with my other two I know the babies are there,so I am basically frozen for as long as I have to be. My oldest one is 6 and loves her room, she used to climb out of bed when she was little to sleep on the floor,that was our cue.I don't think co-sleeping causes a dependency,I think it depends on the child's individual personality.Some babies and kids are needier than others.What's good for the goose isn't always good for the gander.