Can Co-Sleeping Be Safe For Baby?

SS Member Image By drodriguez 02.24.09
Can Co-Sleeping Be Safe For Baby?
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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?


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  • mommy_of_two By mommy_of_two

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • twicebad18 By twicebad18

    I have a 22 month old and a six month old and let me tell you this both my babies are in bed with us. My husband is such a light sleeper that if my hair touches him he wakes up. And I challenge anyone to try to convince him to let the boys sleep any where else. LOL. It's not being to lazy to get up to feed it's about wanting that extra bond. Also in my case we have an older house and the boys would have to sleep too far away for my liking. Kids will adjust to their own bed just fine. My son can sleep by himself he does this when he stays at his grandmothers. He also takes naps in his crib by himself so I don't agree with that argument either. It's not right for everyone but that does not make it wrong. Everyone has their own parenting style of what works for their family. It can be done safely and being a responsible parent is knowing whether its right or not for you.

  • frizzyborden By frizzyborden

    I am not yet a mother, but I plan on having a child very soon. I have wondered about co-sleeping, because I know it will feel good to have the baby sleeping near me and it would make the feedings easier, but I'm terrified of suffocating my baby. My husband is a deep sleeper and could very easily roll onto the baby without realizing. I often wake up in the middle of the bed nearly on top of my husband, so I don't think it will be safe for us to sleep with our baby. I think the co-sleeper sounds like a good idea and I will probably look into it. If not, it will be the crib for us.

  • gwendell By gwendell

    We co slept with my 4 kids, including twins. My husband works long hours and gets home only a couple hours before bedtime so he felt this gave him some additional bonding time with the kids. So far the first three have transitioned well to their own beds. The youngest is still with us. He is turning 2 this month and has co slept the longest. I know I will miss him being close when we finally transition him.

  • angelavcampbell By angelavcampbell

    Let us remember that the CDC also purported "Back to Sleep" as a viable preventative measure for SIDS, however the CDC has since rescinded the advice in favor of what nursery nurses always felt was best: "Side to Sleep". This prevents accidental aspiration if the baby were to spit up. All five of my children have slept in my bed as infants. It is absolutely natural to keep your infant close and in my opinion perfectly safe in most circumstances.

  • my3sons001 By my3sons001

    I don't believe that a baby belongs in bed with you! This to me screams laziness, get up and feed your kid. I have relatives who let their babys sleep with them because they were just too tired to deal with them and now the children are starting school and still sleeping with them. You need to decide whats best for you, but THIS IS MY OPINION!

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