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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  • budgetingbell By budgetingbell

    I co-sleeped with my three year old and do so with my 4 month old. It is great for nursing mothers and for baby, if you to intend to let your baby nurse on demand. My three year old transitioned to her own bed and room at age 1, so I have to respectfully disagree with the "am_i_lost" comment. We plan on doing the same with the youngest, as soon as night feeds are obsolete. I think you have to do what is right by you and your baby, in order to have a bond that suits both mother and baby. For me personally thats the closeness of co-sleeping. The Japanese (I worked as as an Early Teacher in Japan), have a high rate of co-sleeping and a very low SIDS rate. Putting a child in its own bed/bedroom at such a young age, is a westernized concept. But again, you have to do what you percieve is right and safe for your own family. Just be sure to train the baby at naptime, to sleep alone - then when they later transition to sleeping alone at night, it won't be to much of disturbance.

  • am_i_lost By am_i_lost

    I breast fed both my daughters but never coslept with either of them. I think it is a poor practice and that if leads to a dependcy of the child having to sleep with their parent(s). Not to mention the dangers of it. My oldest daughter now has a nearly 4 month old daughter and she sleeps with her. She never breast fed it was because; quite honestly; she was too lazy to put the baby back in her crib after getting her a bottle. Now she won't even nap unless she is being held or is up next to you!

  • Heathergw By Heathergw

    I began cosleeping with my daughter when she was between 6 and 9 months old. Before that, she slept in a bassinet right next to my bed. She still occasionally sleeps in my bed with me. I was worried at first that I might roll over on her, but soon realized that it was me that I should have worried about. My daughter is a fitful sleeper and has given me a number of bruises and black eyes while we slept! So, no I don't think it's dangerous for the baby if the parents are responsible. I do, however, think it's dangerous for the parents who get beaten up by a sleeping baby. If you do the research and cosleep appropriately, there should never be a problem or issue for the baby. It's just a matter of being informed and responsible for yourself and your family.

  • PrettyLittlePowderkeg By PrettyLittlePowderkeg

    I think it's verynatural and we as a whole havebecome very parinoid parents.I breastfed my sons first year of life and had him sleep in bed with me. I completly agree with Dr Sears that nothing is wrong with it as long as you do your research. It was great bonding and saved alot of hassle.

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