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Can Co-Sleeping Be Safe For Baby?

Can Co-Sleeping Be Safe For Baby?

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:
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/health/2009/02/23/cohen.cosleep.dangers.cnn

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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  • krispsmith By krispsmith
    02.25.09  

    When news articles like this come out, they always forget to correlate the information to comparable resources. While 315 suffocation deaths sounds incredulous, there were THOUSANDS of deaths in those same years to SIDS, also known as crib death. However, the suffocation deaths are what makes the headlines because the crib manufacturers put pressure on the AAP and put out press releases on the topic (hmm, sound a bit one-sided to anyone else?) Mothers and babies were designed to sleep together and in doing so, more often saves a child's life than harms them. Natural consequences also include promoting bonding and encouraging breastfeeding. The mainstay of any article on co-sleeping should be that if you can't do it safely, or don't want to, then don't. But don't rule it out before you can see if it works for you, co-sleeping could very well save your baby's life.

  • Houseofdenim By Houseofdenim
    02.25.09  

    I tried the cosleeper bassinet next to my bed and only used it a handful of times. Since I breastfeed my son, co-sleeping is much easier. Especially that first month postpartum when it's easy to fall asleep while breastfeeding. My son is now 11 months and still sleeps with me. we have the mattress on the floor and we are very careful about pillows and blankets. It just worked for us, I am a single mom, so there are no worries about someone else being in the bed, and it;'s true that mothers are very aware of their baby sleeping next to them. I used to be a very sound sleeper, but I am not anymore. any sniffle and I glance in his direction to see if he is okay...I know my parents coslept with all of us as well.

  • ticklemeusilly By ticklemeusilly
    02.26.09  

    I also tried co-sleeping with a bassinet with my first daughter pressed right next to the bed, but as I was breasfeeding and a exhausted mom espeacially during the first month or so and breastfeeding, I would fall asleep feeding her in bed, and so yes we did co-sleep in the same bed, very safely. I would wake, and she would just be cooing, or safely sleeping. With my second child I brought the bassinet in but really never used it, as a breatfeeding mom you really are very aware of your baby. Or really any mom, once you know you have that baby in the bed with you, you become very alert to every sound and movement. My kids are now aged 12, and 4, and I still wake if I hear a sniffle or a cough from the other room. But I have to admit, that the 4 year old still ends up in our bed far too often, it is a habit that we are trying to break, that is the only down side, but really I think that she will move to her own bed when she is ready.

  • qsavingqueen By qsavingqueen
    02.26.09  

    All 7 of my children have slept with us as infants and toddlers. I've never had a problem. In fact, it has increased our bonding time and they have all adjusted so well over the years. Once they were ready they moved to their own room and beds, as a result we've had little to no night terrors/bad dreams or other typical nighttime issues.

  • amylewisrn By amylewisrn
    02.26.09  

    I cannot speak from experience on co-sleeping but as a healthcare provider I have concerns with a 150lb person sleeping next to a 10lb baby. I understand that mothers intuition is not something to argue with, but we don't always know what we are doing when we are absolutely exhausted. I feel that it is best practice to have you baby in another sleeping situation as close a possible but not in the same bed. BUT, at the same time I cannot look down my nose at anyone who does co-sleep with their children. it absolutely comes down to personal preference and no one can tell you the best way to raise your children, they can only tell you the facts.

  • glsmith72 By glsmith72
    02.26.09  

    I just think we have to do what is best for each of us. I co-sleep where my sister does not. There are times I wish I did not but would not change anything.

  • hairs2u By hairs2u
    02.27.09  

    I never co-slept and my child is perfectly happy in her own bed and sleeps very well. You have to do what works for you. Everyone is different. I know people who co-slept for years they believe when a child is done sleeping with you they will stop. For me its best my child is in her own bed. For us, we get a better nights rest.

  • thedaurys By thedaurys
    02.27.09  

    Co sleeping with your children to a certain age can be rewarding and not dangerous. As long as you are not someone who tosses and turns and know for a fact you can do it is one thing. I placed a pillow(body pillow) between me and my daughter like she had her own side of the bed etc. I am a very light sleeper so I knew I could handle it. My son who is two now. Stopped breathing on us when he was three days old as I was getting ready to put him in his crib. I started co-sleeping with him for a week just to make me feel more comfortable knowing I was right there. Then I moved his crib basically ontop of my bed so any little noise I was up panicking.

  • richaverma By richaverma
    02.27.09  

    My little girl slept with us for almost one year.. It was not only easy for breastfeeding but I think she slept better with me specially in the cold winter nights.. Me and my husband also LOVED having her close to us.. Even though I did not make her sleep in the middle as I did not trust my husband who moves a lot at night.. I do understand and agree with the risks involved, but as someone said, if you do your research and follow safety procedure, it definitely can be a very nurturing experience for both the mother and child.

  • katie8 By katie8
    02.27.09  

    I slpet with all 4 of my children. in fact i still have a crib that has only been used as a nap time bed or a stuff animal keeper. I feel that children who sleep with their parents and or brother/sisters, they grow up with a bond that can not be explained. After 1.5 years to 3 years old the kids do get to sleep in their own beds or thier brother/ siters bed, it is their call. By 4 all my kids where in thire own bed. I have never had them cry out in fear of a monster or bad dream. I also found that they are closer to eachother and share better then their friends or cousins do with their brother/sisters.

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