Securely attach a crib to one side of the parents’ bed, next to the mother. Sleeping in the same room as your baby reduces the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 AAP. Babies who sleep in the same bed as their parents are five times more likely to die of sudden death, experts have warned. The risk of SIDS while bed sharing fell as the age of the infant rose. For more information on this area of research, we recommend looking at the websites of ISIS Online and the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab at Durham University.
Many parents bring their baby into their bed to sleep, but for the majority of babies this is not where they always or usually sleep. Bed-sharing mostly happens for part of the night, or for a couple of nights a week. Others believe the family bed prevents babies from learning to sleep on their own, discourages independence, and may increase the incidence of sleep disturbances. Whether parents should bed-share with their infants is a controversial subject in the US. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission strongly recommend against bed-sharing with an infant – defined as sleeping on the same surface as an infant, such as a chair, sofa or bed.
Studies have shown that co-sleeping with a breastfeeding infant promotes bonding, regulates the mother and baby’s sleep patterns, plays a role in helping the mother to become more responsive to her baby’s cues, and gives both the mother and baby needed rest. Some mothers keep their babies in bed with them all the time.