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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  • mooneykell By mooneykell

    I would never presume to tell other what to do with their own children, but I know I would be horrified to accidentally roll over and harm or kill my own child. No amount of bonding could be worth the risk of harming a child.

  • mlhager648 By mlhager648

    I think people are getting too overly-cautious these days. I think it's a great bonding opportunity for mother and child and I've never personally known anyone who's ever suffocated their child. Not saying it couldn't happen, but considering that every last one of of my friend's and family members have done this (including my own mother) I don't think it's time to start raising the red flags here.

  • southern_coder By southern_coder

    well, it looks like each to their own. :) I do believe that i will have my child sleep in a bassinet beside the bed, simply becuase I would never be able to live with myself if I caused my child's death by rolling on him or her.

  • whitedaisy369 By whitedaisy369

    My first son sleep with me till he was 2 because of breast feeding and now my second son is in bed with me becuaes of the same thing. its a selfish thing fo rme, I dont want to get out of bed.

  • Jen7145 By Jen7145

    I have been a co-sleeper with all three of my kids. My daughters are now 14 & 11, my son is 19 months. It started out as a selfish thing. I found when I co-slept, my kids would sleep through the night. So everyone got a restful sleep. It also helped my break the kids from the bottle very quickly. I truly believe they were not getting up every 3 hours to eat since they felt secure with me. My 19 month gave up the bottle at 10 1/2 months, only drinking formula from a sippy cup. This is not for everyone. We just need to respect peoples decisions to co-sleep and hope they do it responsibly. My sister chooses not to co-sleep. She chooses to let her son "cry it out" when he wakes up in the middle of the night. I would never do that, but I respect the fact that that is what she chooses to do.

  • chrissybee By chrissybee

    I co-sleep with my 5 mo. old and I co-slept with my daughter (now 2) since she was a snacker and woke up a lot during the night. I got more sleep having her close than running down the hall each time she needed to eat. Also, there were a few times where her breathing sounded like it stopped but caught back up to my breathing. I have read that co-sleeping actually reduces the rate of SIDS and is very healthy and natural for mother and baby. But, I wouldn't recommend co-sleeping if you are overweight or sleep very deeply or of course drinky heavily or take medication. It seems more people co-sleep than don't but it isn't openly discussed.

  • misseltoe By misseltoe

    Of course it can be safe and benefit the child. As with anything you have to weigh the pros and cons. It is not suitable for every family. You shouldn't do it if you are on certain medications, etc. I can tell you that I know what my daughter is doing when I am sleeping. My daughter and I are very in tune with eachother while we sleep. That is very common and documented between baby and moms.

  • kikirose78 By kikirose78

    I coslept with my 2 children and plan to with the baby I am having soon. I feel they need the security of a parent near them - just like some children need a lovey or pacifier and they give it up when they are ready. Co sleeping has been being done since the beginning of time and is done all over the world. Americans make some natural things like cosleeping and breastfeeding seem wrong.

  • mommyof3ree By mommyof3ree

    I've also co-slept with my kids and you really do have such an awareness of them. If a parent is a really deep sleeper I wouldn't recommend it at all. Also, if you drink or take meds before bed don't do it either. I love the bond you create when you nurse and it's so much nicer not to have to get out of bed to go nurse, you child will just latch on when they are hungry.

  • LParmer1 By LParmer1

    I co-slept with all of my children and absolutely loved the bond. I also nursed them. I will admit that nursing in the bed was very hard to "schedule" because my kiddos would latch themselves on whenever then saw fit! (which was pretty much off and on night!) I found it to be totally safe and it is true that most mothers are at a heighten state of awareness. One time my hubby was at the computer while I was sleeping my then 3 month old daughter. He woke me up to tell me that he had just seen the most amazing thing. He said my daughter started to slide off the side of the bed and before he could even react I had I reached for her, pulled her over, and was back to sleep in a second. I think you need to do what is best for you and your baby. If thats co-sleeping than great! If its not, thats great too!

  • kctigger26 By kctigger26

    I breast fed as well and never co-slept with my son. I had a rocking chair near his crib where I would nurse, when he was done I would put him back in bed and I would go back to mine. For me I feel this was best to set a regular schedule with my son and avoid the bedtime issue when moving him to his own bed. I have to disagree with co-sleeping develops and even stronger bond, my son and I have a bond that is like no other, I believe the bond that you build with your child has more to do with your interaction and the love you show to them!

  • blondemom By blondemom

    I enjoyed sleeping with all three of my babies, my daughter did breast feed my boys did not. I can't replace the closeness I felt with them and the bonding. My youngest has statred coming to my bed again since I have returned to work and its the sweetes thing for be.

  • pinkgeeni By pinkgeeni

    My daughter is 3 years old and my son is 8 months old ther both sleep with us and we feel it safe. We dint plan to but winter is cold for kids, they kick and move the blanket and sleep in the cold, they fall sick, then it is hard for every one. but we are palning to move them to bumker in a few months, my daughter already is excited about it. we still have a crib and a todler bed. kids are safe for sure sleeping with us, but we dont get a good night sleep, they keep moving, and we are concious to be carefull.

  • bendystar By bendystar

    I slept with my son until he was 21 months. I still breastfeed him at 25 months. It was the safest and sanest sleeping arrangement for our family and we had absolutely no trouble transitioning him to his own twin in his own room once he was ready at 21 months. He slleps through the night and is a healthy and well attached child. There is a safe way to co-sleep and I advocate it for any new family.

  • katie8 By katie8

    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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