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Is it safe to bed-share?

Most expectant parents have heard about SIDS and the “safe sleep” guidelines which include your newborn sleeping on a flat surface in their own bed.  CDC Safe Sleep Guidelines  This is the safest place for your newborn. Many babies will happily sleep close to you but in their own bed….and many do not!!

What if they don’t sleep well there? What is every time you put them in their bassinet they cry? What if night after night you are up every hour, battling your newborn trying to get them to sleep in their own space? What is this goes on for weeks? Months?

An exhausted parent isn’t safe either. So what’s a new parent to do? Let’s talk about a taboo topic: Bed Sharing.

In many other cultures across the world, bed sharing is the norm. But there are many differences also in those cultures that may make bed sharing safer. For instance, people tend to sleep on the floor on mats (not squishy memory foam beds) and they do not consume alcohol or drugs. They do not smoke and are exclusively breastfeeding. So is it the bed sharing that increases SIDS risk, or perhaps are there other factors involved? Research has shown that the location alone is not necessarily what increases SIDS risk, and that bed sharing within certain parameters may be a safe alternative to the recommended safe sleep guidelines. La Leche League has an excellent article about the “Safe Sleep 7”.

Bottom line– every family will be making a decision about where their baby sleeps, based on their lifestyle, preferences, and their own babies. It’s important for families to have information about alternatives, so that they can make informed decisions about what is right for their own family!