Is It Time To Rethink Co-Sleeping?



By Sarah Kerrigan
Guest Contributor

Pediatricians and public health officials have long warned that “co-sleeping,” or sharing a bed with an infant, is unsafe.

But let’s face it: almost everybody does it. So perhaps the time has come for the public health message to focus less on advising against it and more on advising how to do it more safely.

Because despite all the finger-waggling, co-sleeping is, and will continue to be, extremely common.

For instance, a recent survey, “Listening to Mothers III,” found that about 41 percent of new mothers report that they always or often share a bed with their babies in order to be closer. A 2007 study in Los Angeles County found bed-sharing rates in the range of 70-80 percent across races. And it’s likely that bed-sharing rates are grossly underestimated.

In so many ways, sharing a bed with your infant makes sense. “There is no way I would have had the energy to get out of bed 3-5 times per night to go feed [my baby] in another room,” says Lee, a Boston mother who asked that her last name not be used due to what she says is bias against bed-sharers.

There’s no denying that there can be risks involved in sleeping in the same bed as your infant.

In the United States in 2010, 15 percent of all infant deaths were designated as Sudden Unexplained Infant Death, which includes SIDS, and some of these babies were likely in unsafe bed-sharing situations. “We feel a certain responsibility to work to prevent these deaths,” said Carlene Pavlos of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

But just as using a message of abstinence in place of sex education has been shown to be ineffective, so too might a one-sided message that only tells parents, “Don’t share a bed with your baby.” Without offering a positive message of how to make bed-sharing safer, and even its potential benefits, public health organizations may be neglecting a key element to saving babies’ lives. Another Boston-area co-sleeping mother, Lindsey, said: “The fear around (co-sleeping) prevents people from talking about it. I know in my case, I was doing it in an unsafe way for a while because I was afraid to ask for advice.”

In my work as a pediatric sleep consultant, I often heard similar messages from families. There’s often a sense of trepidation, fear or shame around bed-sharing, due in large part to messages from public health organizations that suggest bed-sharing is an ignorant choice tantamount to child abuse.

In 2009, a “Safe Sleep” campaign by the city of Milwaukee health department focused on a frightening anti-bed-sharing image depicting a tombstone at the head of an adult bed: “For too many babies last year, this was their final resting place.”

A City of Milwaukee public health campaign poster.

A City of Milwaukee public health campaign poster.

Another disturbing anti-bed-sharing poster equated a mother’s presence in bed to that of a dangerous weapon: it showed a baby sleeping next to a large metal cleaver with the words, “Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous.” Really?

The risk factors that can make co-sleeping unsafe are very clear. They include: smoking, not breastfeeding, the use of prescription medications, illegal drugs or alcohol, obesity, sleeping on soft surfaces like couches, and using loose bedding and pillows.

But according to a bed-sharing expert, Dr. James McKenna of the University of Notre Dame, there is evidence that by removing these risk factors, bed-sharing in and of itself is not dangerous.

At a recent conference in Boston, McKenna explained that shared sleep between a mother and her nursing infant has many protective factors against unexplained infant death. Close proximity during sleep between a mother and her nursing infant helps regulate the infant’s body temperature and breathing patterns, and creates a healthy synchronicity between the mother’s and infant’s arousals at night, he said. This is because human infants have evolved to be perfectly adapted to their mothers’ bodies. Bed-sharing has also been shown to promote successful breastfeeding, which significantly reduces the risk of SIDS. Out of the millions of years of human history, the short time in which our modern culture has separated infants and mothers in various ways does not change the truth of our biology.

Liz Gomez explained how she initially decided to co-sleep with the first of her three children: “My son was six months old and I had been back to work for a month. I was so exhausted from getting up to go to the crib that I nearly drove into a tree on my way to work. I was so sleep-deprived that it was dangerous for me to operate a motor vehicle. Once we started co-sleeping, we all slept better.”

At the Boston conference, McKenna spoke in-depth about his decades of research on mother-infant sleep, SIDS and breasfeeding. As the leading researcher on these topics in the U.S., he has developed a list of “Safe Cosleeping Guidelines.

Though McKenna was invited to be an ad hoc expert for the American Academy of Pediatrics SIDS Prevention Recommendations in 2005, the focus remained on “the hazards of adults sleeping with an infant in the same bed.” The AAP, the nation’s most influential group of pediatricians, still comes down hard against bed-sharing. In 2011, though, the AAP did expand its SIDS policy recommendations to encourage room sharing for the entire first year of life. (Room sharing is when a baby sleeps in the same room as her parents, but on a separate sleep surface, like a crib or bassinet.)

McKenna asserts that families have the right to be informed about the benefits of co-sleeping, and that a one-sided directive against it is disrespectful and even dangerous. He says his research shows that family sleep environments are fluid, and that most babies sleep in multiple locations, including the parents’ bed.

A public policy statement on safe infant sleep that acknowledges the realities of family life, and offers a positive message on increasing bed-sharing safety, and perhaps even its benefits, might be more effective at saving lives than a strict anti-bed-sharing message. As Boston Association for Childbirth Education Executive Director Lorenza Holt said at the conference, “It’s about giving women information and honoring their right to make a decision.”

Sarah Kerrigan, M.A. is a Child Development Specialist, trained pediatric sleep consultant, and the mother of two young children.

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  • Birdwatcher1

    Say what? 41% of new parents co-sleep, and that is “practically everyone” who does it??? I never co-slept. My kids were world class sleepers and spent every night snug in their cribs, and are now teenagers who still sleep beautifully. Reading some of these posts it sounds like the co-sleeping is for the moms’ benefit more than the kids’.

  • Ahnya

    I’m sorry to say but how can you be that lazy that you “don’t have the energy to get up 3-5 times a night to feed your baby in another room?” I work a full time job as a CNA and my fiance works in the oilfield so he’s guaranteed to be out of the state and away from home 6 months a year and that’s not including the extra weeks he isn’t home depending on how far the rig moves. And yet my son has slept in his own crib, since the day we brought him home and yes I breastfeed on demand too. So really there’s no excuse except pure laziness. And with all the statistics out there for infants who have suffocated by sharing a bed, you shouldn’t even want to consider it
    Some people are ridiculous.

    • Anon

      Exactly! Thank you!

    • mamram

      I don’t have any children myself so I guess this isn’t my fight BUT: a) part of the point was that those statistics are misleading and b) just because something works for you, doesn’t mean it works for everyone. Everyone is different physiologically, and that includes how we sleep. I just can’t wrap my mind around people who are so eager to conclude, “No reason for anyone to be different from me other than pure laziness!” Like, do you really get so much satisfaction out of judging others that you can’t come up with, “Maybe different people have different sleep needs,” on your own?

  • Ooh Lala

    I know people feel very strongly about co sleeping and I am not very familiar with co sleeping and I have always wondered when does the child learn independence and sleep on their own and in their own room? When/how do parents get to be romantic again? Now I can understand the first few weeks can be very sleep deprivating for you and the child but you gotta cut the cord somewhere.To me, and they aren’t learning to self soothe themselves it’s like you are teaching that the child is always main priority and it gives a false hope that the world revolves around them from a young age therefore affects them into being entitled assholes as they grow up. It all seems very selfish on both the child and the parent the child get instant food instant diaper change instant gratification and never knows despair or how to cope with being uncomfortable for a matter of hours. It’s okay for them to identify those feelings from a young age. as for the parents they have need to smother them, tend to their every cry it just boggles my mind. Kids are kids, not delicate flowers that require constant attention, water and re-potting.

  • Nathan Daniel Roeseler

    To chime in with my 2 cents…

    I can’t help but just wonder what goes through the heads of some people on a daily basis…

    I co-sleep..
    From the second my daughter came into the world (I watched).. I couldn’t imagine life without her… I paid attention in life.. I watched how fast kids grow.. watched how little time you really have with them..

    When the first night in the hospital came, the nurse asked if we wanted them to take our daughter to the nursery for the night…. I was in shock for a second.. “DO WHAT???” (in my head).. no one was taking my little girl!.. I said “No thank you, she’ll be sleeping between us tonight.”..

    Then came the REAL shocker…

    …the nurse informed me that it was against hospital policy to let the baby sleep in the same bed as the parents.. (I about crapped a brick…)… “LIKE HELL! (in my head)”.. She said she would have to sleep in the provided “bassinet” if we wanted to keep her with us through the night.. I said, “I guess I’m not sleeping tonight then.”.. with my daughter in my arms.. …and that was how all 3 nights were spent. I “napped” periodically throughout the day while my wife was awake or relatives held her..

    When we got home.. I have to admit.. I was PARANOID of SIDS..
    now.. I’m the type of person to stick a band-aide on my severed arm and “shrug it off”.. the type that laughs when everyone else shutters.. and germs!.. those are what keep us HEALTHY! lol …but I heard the word SIDS more times in the 9 months leading up to her birth (and the 3 days at the hospital) than there are vowels in this entire comment thread…

    tied together with the new fear I had of how I would ever survive without my daughter..

    I didn’t see how I could do anything BUT co-sleep!!! I wanted her RIGHT THERE all the time!.. if she made a noise, I was awake!.. media had brainwashed me!…

    after a few days with pretty much no sleep.. I realized some things..

    the facts of co-sleeping.. dead on.. I could tell my daughter was learning to breath WITH us.. not like an overly excited pug anymore, lol.. to watch her learn HOW to breath… I could tell she CLUNG to us for comfort.. she slept better with me beside her, just as I did with her beside me.. I felt RELAXED with her being in earshot, eyeshot, and arms reach at all times… my WIFE slept better having to simply rollover to feed… my DAUGHTER slept better because she fussed for a less amount of time before a nipple was in her mouth and thus woke herself up less and fell back to sleep sooner!.. being closer to us meant her temperature was more even, and she stayed warmer without the use of hats, socks, mittens, etc.. and that meant she slept better as well. I’m sure I could on with these for awhile.. lol

    then there were the other things.. are there many things better than opening your eyes in the morning to your baby sleeping RIGHT beside you?.. how about falling asleep with their little hand wrapped around your finger?… how about the sound of them breathing to lull YOU to sleep.. the warmth OF that little hand on your finger to ease you from the stress of the day.. and who on Earth can say they didn’t like when their child fell asleep on them during the day? all curled up next to you.. so why would it be any different at night?

    While others made sure to buy cribs and worried about limbs through rails, and teething on rails, and smacking heads on rails.. and breathable bumpers to keep those limbs in yet baby from suffocating… and monitors to hear them, and video to see them.. had to get up to check all through the night.. or put them in another room so they could ignore them and sleep themselves.. …

    I did what only seems NATURAL.
    Look at other mammals.. they cuddle and sleep WITH their young.. find me a cat/dog/monkey (anything!).. that before bed drags it’s young somewhere else to sleep besides from where IT sleeps!

    …and tell me.. what causes SIDS? …if a child dies from parents rolling on them (crushing or asphyxiation).. it’s not SIDS.. if they suffocate on a pillow, sheet, blanket, animal (all of which happen in parents beds AND cribs!).. it’s STILL not SIDS…. so please explain how co-sleeping causes SIDS! I don’t think SIDS should even have been mentioned in this discussion!.. The only DANGER I see to co-sleeping OVER solo-sleeping is crushing, or suffocating (on YOUR blankets, pillows, etc on the bed)… anything I’m missing? …The benefits FAR outweigh the hazards!..
    there are a MILLION products available to allow your child to sleep beside you, yet in their own space…. so even if you weigh 800lbs, are high on cocaine, and drunk off your ass… your kid can sleep in the SAME room and is in no greater danger from doing so than if they were in the next room.

    To me there is nothing to argue FOR having your child in the other room!

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  • Perry’sMomma

    Am I the only one who found it ironic that a pillow is featured in the photo? There are many hazards not covered in this article- such as space between headboard and mattress and height of mattress from floor. I get tired of seeing SIDS deaths stats listed when arguing for bed sharing, as many of these deaths will be listed as undetermined or suffocation. At least in TN, death rates are drastically higher for sleep related deaths when cosleeping. I personally believe that the thinking you will wake up if something is wrong is simply a myth. I know many SIDs and sleep related loss parents that would argue this point.

  • Mamie

    This is what I did with my 4 (consecutive!) babies: I wedged a crib between the wall and our bed, removed one side, and this way, could nurse the baby, and roll her/him over in her crib, without having to get up, and eliminating the fear of crushing her, or having her fall off the bed. I slept so much better!

  • Arwen

    Proud of you for writing this! And totally agree. I’ve co-slept with all 3 of my kids– never any safety issues– and feel very strongly that it has made my life as a mother easier and our bond tighter. Its definitely a personal choice, but that’s what it should be: PERSONAL. And informed. Great job!!!

    • Sarah Kerrigan

      Thank you Arwen! I believe everyone has the right to the information they need to make informed choices.

  • HokkaidoLiving

    I live in Japan and co-sleeping is standard here. Families often co-sleep from a baby’s infancy through his/her elementary school years. My in-laws (who are Japanese) were very surprised when I told them that in the US infants usually sleep in their own rooms. It’s interesting how different cultures view child rearing and the interpretations of what is taboo/acceptable.

  • deborah robinson

    As a death investigator, your blog is misleading. It is very clear, from Child Death Review Data and 20 years of experience that bed-sharing is dangerous. Its false to think that you are only at risk if you smoke or are impaired and there is hundreds if not thousands of scientific articles to support the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations on safe infant sleep. Citing one researchers paper does no one, especially a vulnerable infant justice. As a mother of 5, I truly understand the issues a young, sleep deprived parent faces but it is a calculated risk one takes when sleeping with their infant, especially a very young infant. If sleeping with your child is what you choose to do, please wait until your infant is older and have developed their motor skills~ I would hate for you to one day have to face an investigator and say you thought it was safe

    • Sarah Kerrigan

      Thank you for your comment. I will attempt to address why many in the medical and research fields believe that the data on bedsharing and infant death is misleading and inaccurate in another post. But to summarize, child death review data is nonuniform and unverifiable. It is up to EMTs to report, then corners to decide on cause of death, which often neglects presence of the risk factors that truly cause SIDS. Location alone is not a meaningful piece of data.

  • Me

    I cosleep/bed share. My body mass index identifies me as obese. I weigh 212lbs and am 5’3, what are the guidelines to “how fat” you can be to cosleep? I think just saying obesity is a risk factor in cosleeping is kind of misleading and hurtful. The “obese” label should probably be more clearly defined.

    • Robert Miles

      Whether or not it is “hurtful” is beside the point, the safety of children is being discussed and reality cannot be fooled by emotions. Obviously every cosleeping child is at some risk, and the risk likely increases with increasing weight and decreases with increasing size of child. I do not think there is a “line” or that a definition of the label, obesity, is going to be useful. I suppose a baseline risk with a line chart showing the percentage increase with weight would help people evaluate their decision accurately. But perhaps more data is needed.

  • Trish Adell

    my son slept in the bed with me I put pillows on either side of him and laid him on his back, the pillows did 2 things kept me from rolling onto him and kept him from rolling while he slept. though it took until he was 4 to get him in his own bed I would not change it. I felt much more comfortable and slept better when he was next to me. I tried putting him in his crib quite a few times when he was a baby and he didn’t sleep well and I found myself checking on him a thousand times a night. I think co-sleeping creates a great bond with mother and child just make sure you do it in a safe way, enjoy every moment of it.

  • Rodrigo

    “Out of the millions of years of human history…”

  • Erica

    I don’t care one way or the other, but to say that everyone is doing it is a lie. I haven’t co-slept with either of my two children. I have the same emotional bond as any mother. I was never overly sleep deprived. I found that I slept better with them in their respective bassinets, cribs, etc. Both my kids are happy, healthy girls. There is no right or wrong in this. You do the best thing for you and your family in your unique situation.

  • lizflynn

    Co-sleeping is not the problem – the drinking and/or drugging and co-sleeping is the problem.

  • Raeann Thomas

    For my son, my parents bought us a bassinet that straps to the side of the bed and has no divider there, so all you have to do is reach over to feed the baby, and sit up for a couple minutes to change a diaper, and the baby isn’t in danger of being rolled over on and suffocating.

  • Brian123

    Tia this the heart of the data? It’s silly bad.

    ” In the United States in 2010, 15 percent of all infant deaths were designated as Sudden Unexplained Infant Death, which includes SIDS, and some of these babies were likely in unsafe bed-sharing situations. “We feel a certain responsibility to work to prevent these deaths,” said Carlene Pavlos of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.”

  • momof2

    My husband and I co-slept with both of our children. The key was that when we wanted private time as a couple, we would sneak away to another room….

  • JimDaBomb

    Nice nipples.

  • ljm

    Our country is the only country in the world that expects children to leave the mothers womb and sleep alone in their own bed… no wonder we have such a high crime rate and so many dysfuntional children families! Love your children at all times..and they will love you back. My children never had to wake up scared, sick or vomiting alone.. I was always right there to tend to their every need and discomfort. I have two of the most beautiful, well adjusted healthy children on this planet ;) Good for me. Good for them.

  • Frio

    I don’t have a child, but I could see how for some people, rolling over the baby would just never be an issue. Personally, I wake up every morning in exactly the same position I fell asleep in, unless I get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Some of us just don’t move around in our sleep at all. This has been confirmed by everyone I’ve shared a bed with–I’m easy to sleep with because I stay in my part of the bed and don’t move around. I know other people who are the same. If you’re a heavy sleeper who moves around a lot at night, it might not be safe.

    • Nathan Daniel Roeseler

      I was like you once.. then I had a kid, lol

      I noticed I WAS tired more often, and tired to a greater degree.. BUT, even though I found myself moving during the night now, I know there were numerous times that even in the DEAD of my sleep, a brush of her hand against me, or my hand against her, jolted me awake (enough) to make sure she was 1) breathing, 2) in a safe sleeping position 3) dry.. etc, etc..

      “I” was DEAD set on my daughter sleeping WITH us.. I couldn’t
      stand to be away from her and the ease of her being RIGHT there when she
      needed ANYTHING.. IT just seemed WRONG on a natural level to have her

  • Jennifer McGown

    About 20+ years ago when I was having babies, the in thing for families was the family bed. This fad obviously did not last long, but certain aspects are beneficial for nursing mom and I was one. I put the crib in our bedroom and sometimes the baby stayed in our bed (especially during the first few weeks). My first was a touchy feely sleeper, so most of the time I put her back in the crib. My second and third were easier sleepers and they spent more time in our bed. All three are grown now and none have sleeping problems.

  • Nora Shine

    Great article, very informative. I would add thet co- sleeping improves sleep for everyone, which is incredibly important to infant and maternal health. Probably by helping everyone sleep, Co- sleeping also reduces the risk of Post Partum Depression. It’s natural for parents to feel anxious with their tiny baby physically apart from them – so many parents describe checking on their sleeping baby many times during the night, feeling anxious. I think when parents followbtheir insticnts, it leads to better parenting. This is, of course, assuming the absence of alcohol, cigarettes, and other substance abuse.

  • Riobound

    I like the idea of “educate” but don’t “dictate”. The State should inform not impose. P.S. I’m a dad with a 23 year old. He slept between my wife and me when he was little. No harm came to him. And he learned to sleep in his own bed too with little psychological damage beyond becoming a teenager. He did eventually grow out of that phase too!

  • Paul Gibbons

    My kids have co-slept from birth through elementary school. That doesn’t prove or disprove notions about safety, but I’d like to add that the emotional closeness it fosters is a good thing. We are after all mammals, and mammals sleep near their parents for safety and warmth. From my point of view, this feels more natural than another room far (from their point of view) from love, warmth and perhaps nutrition.

  • J

    Those of us with more than two brain cells to rub together “re-thought” this a long time ago and easily concluded that the “experts” didn’t know what they were talking about! :) …but we also understood that a lot of what is said has to be said for liability’s sake.

  • Kathy Yang

    I just gave birth 11/6/13 at the Hershey Medical center in Hershey PA. CPS was called on me becasue I said no we dont have a crib at home we plan on co sleeping. They treated me like a criminal the entire stay and refused to alllow the baby to leave untill cps cleared us. Even after CPS cleared us Pediatrics at hershey Med still insisted we have a crib or pack and play before we leave. One nurse even sujested when I said that besides we plan on co sleeping we dont have room for a crib or pack and play to go find a new place to live.

    • Nathan Daniel Roeseler

      Wow… I would have been PRETTY upset with some folks…
      I’m sorry you had to deal with that!
      They would not let us co-sleep with my daughter at the hospital.(Amarillo, TX)
      …so I just held her in my arms and didn’t sleep the 3 nights we were there…
      I grabbed naps during the day while my wife was awake and visitors held her.

  • Thelma Marshall

    I did the same many years ago,,, drugs, drinking, smoking in bed, and many other factors may cause accidents,, but my babies never had to worry about those things.
    I slept with one eye open for yrs.

  • Lisa Clery

    I mothered a preemie girl, and breastfeeding and cosleeping were the best things I did for her. I could look at my baby sleeping and very gently puff a tiny bit of air in her face. When I did that she would take a huge breath in, every time. This is because our close breathing helps our babies breath. I always slept well with her, and she slept well with me, and I could nurse several times a night without being out- of- my- head tired. I try to always stick up for myself when people fuss against cosleeping. Anybody with a big issue with it doesn’t know me very well. If they did, they would love me.

  • Teresa Richmond

    My eldest is 32, my youngest 18. I kept a bassinet by the bed and that is where I put them when it was time for them to sleep. When they awakened to nurse, I took them into bed with me for the rest of the night. I can still remember draping my sleeping infants over my belly while we slept until it was time to nurse again. As the time between feedings grew longer, they slept longer in the bassinet before waking for nursing. In that way, it was not as hard “moving them” to their own beds as they got older. Co-sleeping helped me keep my sanity as our family grew. It was the only way that I could get enough rest to keep up with toddlers and school age children! Best of all, I treasure the memory of my children at my breast. The sweet milky smell of baby’s breath. The slow letting go of a tiny infant as they matured into toddler and child. Sometimes I wish I could have another baby (I’m 52 and “spayed”…not going to happen!), but then I realize that really I just wish I could re-experience the miracle of feeling a baby shift w/i my belly; or rest quietly–or not, on my chest; or hear again those darling noises of satisfaction as they nursed.

  • Matthew Westra

    One man’s opinion on this… Our first-born spent exactly ONE night in a crib. It was not good. 4 kids, bedsharing, breastfeeding, and all that. I would not trade it for the distance and disconnection of separation. As a society, we grumble that we don’t know our neighbors, we don’t have a sense of community, we are disconnected from each other. But we begin instruction in isolatedness and disconnection when we put a newborn in a separate bed, in a separate room, and let them cry until exhaustion brings sleep and surrender to that separateness. We also use technology to bring data about the infant into our presence with infant monitors – audio and now even video! Follow nature in nurturing your beloved children.

  • motherof2

    for the first couple of months, I co-slept with my baby. The first time we co-slept was in the hospital, the second time I was able to feed her. we fell asleep while she was feeding and woke up 3 hours later with her still suckling. I always felt better having her beside me and we always slept better together. I was always aware of my baby and knew she was safe. We started putting her in her crib when she was about 3 months old but we are so much closer having co-slept. I’m pregnant again and plan to co-sleep with my new baby, but this time with a co-sleeper attached to my bed so it is safer.

  • dermeribclc

    This is a good article. I think there is one item that continues to muddle the issue: the confusion between SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and accidental infant deaths due to asphyxiation. The very definition of SIDS includes that its cause is unknown and accidental causes such as asphyxiation or trauma have been ruled out. Yet many public health officials still mix the message by including accidental deaths when they speak of SIDS. The rate of SIDS is lower in infants who lie on their backs, who breastfeed and who live in non-smoking environment. Other contributing risk factors for SIDS are overheating, use of soft bedding, but these apply whether the baby sleeps in a crib or shares parents’ bed.

  • Stephanie Birdsall Lippman

    Wow. SIDs stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Not “We assume they were bed sharing unsafely because we can’t figure out what happened.” Bed sharing has been going on for MILLIONS OF YEARS! Most other countries still do it and APPROVE of it! Countless animals do it. We did it. Guess what? We were careful. We love our son. We intended to bed share from when we first knew we were pregnant. We are still bed sharing and our son is 3. He learned our sleep patterns, he nursed on demand without waking me up fully, he stirs when he needs to go pee so instead of making him wear diapers we PAY ATTENTION to his cues and get up to take him to the bathroom.

    Many of the “crunchy parenting” choices are broadcasted as “uneducated, ill informed, dangerous or perverted.” If consuming my son’s placenta helped me through one of the most difficult and important times in my life, why do you judge me? Because you think it is gross or even cannabalistic? I took what I grew and used it in a way that didn’t hurt me, my son, or anyone else, it didn’t cost me a dime, it didn’t have any side effects.

    Sleeping beside my sweet babe is nothing like putting him to bed with a cleaver. It was the best decision for our family and we (like many other families) are discriminated against by many people in our communities, in our families, at our work places because of this false propaganda. I think it is time for us to kick the government out of our beds and raise our babies how we the parents see fit. Education is all well and good but when it is all 1 sided and shoved down your throat, I must say, enough is enough.

    • Stephanie Birdsall Lippman

      This is obviously aimed at the Department of Health and the pediatricians, not the author.

    • Raymond Davis

      AND MANYN COUNTRIES ALSO ‘ CIRCUMSIZE INFANT GIRLS !” So if that our standard…. What are you nuts ?? THAT is a legitimate argument??

  • ladylane1989

    I’m a mother of one now 5 year old handsome boy and he slept next to me till he was 2 years old. I think that this is unnecessary. If you want your baby next to you take all precautions so you know your baby is safe. SIDS can happen when the baby is in their own crib or bed. So all this talk with SIDS being in conjunction with sleeping in their parents bed is ridiculous. SIDS can happen regardless. Do whatever it is you want to do as a parent if you want them sleeping next to you for 2 years have at it if you don’t that’s no big deal. All this hooblah about this is ignorant.

  • Tina Carrigan

    This is a well-written article. I wanted to express my outrage and concern for all of the mothers who are speaking of having to get up during the night and how they (the moms) have to go to get the baby..Where’s dad? I never heard of such nonsense, the father just continuing to sleep…the least he can do is get up and get the baby and bring baby to mom for nursing…if mom isn’t nursing, dad could do the feeding…I mean, really! also, I never had a baby who woke up numerous times during my sleeptime. once is all that is needed…if you are bottle feeding, do a feeding at 11:30 and then go to bed. if you are nursing, pump ahead and us MORNING MILK for the 11:30 feeding. Morning milk is the richest, so will keep baby more satisfied, just try it, parents…it works. I do have to say that with my first child, who was in a bassinet in my room initially, the little noises she made while sleeping kept me awake…after just a few nights, she was relegated to her own room. FYI, yes, daddy went and brought her to me or he did the feeding since she was not being breast fed. With the second child, she was in her own room and brought to me for nursing..

    Also, one last benefit if you are a light sleeper-the baby being in the baby’s room allows the baby to wake up fully before you go to baby.

  • Nic Z.

    Working in a hospital, I have seen too many babies arrive to the hospital after suffocating in bed with a parent. This is such a tragedy that weighs on my heart and the hearts of others who witness the horror or a dead baby’s arrival to the emergency room with nothing more that can be done.
    I have slept with my children in the bassinet next to the bed, within reach, able to hear them breathe, touch them, pick them up at a moment’s notice and no risk of harm.
    There are also co-sleeping boxes where baby can safely lay in the bed.
    Parents who want to be close to their children should know their options for safe sleeping. The risk of losing your child is just not acceptable.

  • Kidsfirst

    laziness is a stupid reason to put your child at risk. I have four kids three have had their own room. I use a spray bottle of oil and water for changes kept right by the crib with a stack of diapers and sheets and clothes right there available and breast feed them in a rocking chair. takes no extra time at all and even if it did safety is more than worth it. all of my kids slept through the night by six weeks old so everyone who had there own bed in their own room slept through the night. the one who didn’t didn’t sleep through the night till six months when she got her own room.

    If you want to start in room get a bassinet or sleeper. nearby easy to hear but no risk of roll over or suffocation or falling.

    Since kids in their own rooms are proven to sleep longer and better lack of sleep is also a stupid reason.

    I’ve personally known 2 children to be killed by their parents rolling over on them.80 cases a year in St. Louis alone. this is just roll overs. that doesn’t include SIDS deaths related to cosleeping.

    Everybody does it is never an excuse to put kids at risk. a few years ago that was also true of leaving kids in cars. Leaving kids in cars has a much lower risk of harming children than co-sleeping statistically.

    And no everyone does not according to this article 10-20% put their childs health and safety before their own comfort and laziness.

    • Nathan Daniel Roeseler

      Firstly.. what is SIDS? SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME, and what is the cause of it?? WE DON’T KNOW!!!!… so PLEASE explain to me how a SIDS death could be related to co-sleeping??… ACTUALLY.. co-sleeping babies have a more regulated breathing pattern and have a LESS likely chance of SIDS.

      Secondly.. please show me a study that shows infants sleep BETTER in their own rooms?…. I can show MANY where it’s the opposite… as far as sleeping LONGER.. in most cases, you are right.. but you know why in many cases?.. because parents let their kids cry it out and ignore them.. so kids learn to just cry and go back to bed.. …co-sleeping children eat more often, and grow faster. Co-sleeping children have better regulated body temperatures. Co-sleeping babies cry less. Co-sleeping babies rest EASIER…

      Try listing some pros and cons for both..
      co-sleeping cons.. possibility of rolling onto your child.. can you name another?
      co-sleeping pros.. bunch listed already above, more likely to notice a breathing issue or ANY issue with your baby, and MANY others..

      solo-sleeping cons.. all the pros of co-sleeping
      solo-sleeping pros… well.. if your the parent that does it to sleep MORE, because you ignore your kid.. ZERO chance of rolling onto them.

      and PLEASE!.. explain this one to me as well!!
      “takes no extra time at all” (you were speaking of getting UP to take care of them)…. please explain how you create worm-holes to travel through time and space to get from your bed to theirs without the passing of time?..

      Science (and anyone with braincells) knows that standing UP from your sleep uses more energy than not standing up.. they know that in order TO stand-up, the brain has to function more… they know that the process of putting one limb in front of the other is MORE for the brain to do and that to do it all PROPERLY, the body has to be more so in a state of consciousness than simply rolling over and letting your child latch on…

      While the “time” may not be the issue ANY mother/father cares about.. the WELL rested parent (not the interrupted one) is a BETTER parent… IN THAT they have more energy for their child, they are more aware of their child throughout the day, they are HEALTHIER and thus their CHILD is healthier!…

      While it may be minimal in the impact of your child’s health on whether you sleep more fully or not.. it “is a stupid reason to put your child at risk.” XD

  • June Park

    Keep in mind that bedsharing is only one way to co-sleep. You can also put the child’s bed in the same room, sidecar the crib to your bed, or bedshare as needed. A typical child will stop bedsharing on his or her own. Some children are as young as a year or two and some are school age when this occurs. Safe bedsharing IS important. They sum it up quite nicely here. Best wishes! :)

    • Sarah Kerrigan

      Thank you June, for your thoughtful comment!

  • Nocosleep

    At what point do you start to teach the child the life skill of sleeping on his own? I know an adult that co-slept with their parents and they admitted to me that they were not able to spend the night with friends because they could not be away from their parents at night. Now they are doing the same with their own child. Why would you do something with your own child that you admit was not a good thing for you. I am not saying that at first it can not be done. But maybe when you are no longer breastfeeding the child should start sleeping in their own bed. Because if you wait too long it becomes traumatic for baby and mommy.

  • Teleute

    It’s worth noting that James McKenna is NOT a medical doctor; he’s a Professor of Biological Anthropology at Notre Dame.

  • madcapfeline

    I advise against co-sleeping, but not from a safety standpoint. Once it starts, it’s near impossible to make it stop. My son was almost 10 years old before he would sleep in his own bed. By that point, my husband and I had gotten so used to sleeping apart that we can’t sleep in the same room anymore. :/ Separate bedrooms all around.

    • Nathan Daniel Roeseler

      Why did you sleep apart to begin with??

      My daughter slept between us for the first 6 months.. after that, she was more than capable of crawling anywhere she so pleased on the bed (thus motor skills and almost no chance of us now having any effect on her chance of SIDS by anything we could do).. at this point she (the majority of the time) she slept on the side (put your mattress on the floor, a pillow beside it on the floor in case she ever did roll off {which she never did}) and I slept cuddled up to my wife.

      When we wanted to do things married couples do.. we set her in her crib or in her playpen.. something..

      for later years.. it just adds to the romance that you have to hide it!.. that you have to make it spontaneous and not always in the bedroom, lol.

      and the romance stayed in our relationship!…

      The only reason I can see a gap between you and your spouse, is (sorry to say) because you let it come between you two.

  • Lisa Lumb

    It’s dangerous, it can KILL your baby. Don’t do it! If you don’t want to get out of your cozy bed, walk down the hallway to take care of your baby – don’t have one you lazy fuck!

    • James Hogan

      stop your alarmist post. we had two kids and they slept in our bed and now they are grown. The problem with this society is its nanny hand wringing over every risk. And you are an example of how that exaggerated risk is sensationalized and unecessarily frightenes new moms.

    • wow

      Putting your newborn child in a separate room down the hall is dangerous! Don’t do it! If you can’t even rearrange your room to have your child that is fully dependant upon you in the same room – don’t have one you selfish fuck!….

      God you’re stupid….

      • Nathan Daniel Roeseler

        I wish I could give you more than 1 thumbs up, lol… sometimes, the smart-ass comments are needed.

  • Co-sleeping mama

    “In the United States in 2010, 15 percent of all infant deaths were designated as Sudden Unexplained Infant Death, which includes SIDS, and some of these babies were likely in unsafe bed-sharing situations.” This is the best statistic that you could find? “Some of these babies were likely in unsafe bed sharing situations?” How many? Perhaps the biggest deterrent to co-sleeping is the industry that sells cribs and baby monitors. I slept with both of my children, like most mothers in the world, and it meant bonding and a restful sleep for my babies and me!
    When sleeping with my children I was able to monitor their temperature, the wetness of their diaper, and provide my milk as soon as my children stirred for nursing. My son had epiglottitis, also considered a cause of SIDS. “Epiglottitis is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs
    when the epiglottis — a small cartilage “lid” that covers your windpipe —
    swells, blocking the flow of air into your lungs.” One of the first signs that my son had epiglottitis was his deep croup-like cough. A cough that woke his father immediately and saved our sons life. If our son was sleeping in another room I do not know if his father or I would have heard this.

    • Nathan Daniel Roeseler

      I was PARANOID of SIDS.. I NEVER follow the hype over things that the world tries to throw at us.. I’m the type that sticks a band-aide on my severed arm and shrugs it off.. the type that laughs at all the worlds fear..

      but it was my fear OF SIDS (love my daughter to death and couldn’t imagine life without her the second I saw her) that led me to consider co-sleeping in the first place! I “was” a VERY light sleeper and figured I would wake at ANY abnormality of her breathing..

      of course the moment she was born I simply couldn’t imagine being away from her and co-sleeping I realized was the ONLY way I would be able to sleep at night, lol….

      I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I checked to make sure my daughter was breathing while she was a baby.. if I stirred at all, I slid a hand over to her nose to feel for air.. sometimes I couldn’t hear her over my own heart-beat! (meaning even in DEAD silence.. she was so quiet!)..

      I can recall a few times where she made some noise and I AND my wife shot up to check her, lol..

      SO happy to hear that because you chose to do what only seems natural to me now, that your son was saved…

  • Margaret Robinson

    Are there people who sleep without loose bedding and pillows?

  • aravinda

    Regarding incidences of SIDS, the article states that “some of these babies were likely in unsafe bed-sharing situations.” Some (many) of them were in cribs as well – note that SIDS is also called “crib death” or “cot death.” According to McKenna’s research co-sleeping helps babies breathe regularly. According to common sense and experience, it helps in numerous other ways. Loose bedding / soft pillows are risky regardless of the sleeping surface. The caution should be directed to those using heavy medication, alcohol and cigarettes, not against the family bed.

  • BYOR

    I did not read ALL the comments, but of those I read none mentioned the commercial side of the hoopla. By periodically resurrecting the issue, purveyors of gadgets and gizmos that “make co-sleeping safer” create a new generation of parents who, in the first days of parenthood, will buy almost anything to promote their child’s safety. Parents hear of the benefits of bed sharing, then of the purported risks, and shell out big bucks to satisfy both sides. I suspect much of the debate around this issue if driven by greed, not science.

    • Nathan Daniel Roeseler

      We bought a small… sleeping pad.. for her in her first few months… it sat between us on the bed, played soothing sounds, had a small light, and the walls were only about 1.5″ high.. all soft fabric..

      like $20 bucks… but the womb noises were GREAT.. the light came in handy when she got a little bigger and pacifiers fell out.. and both my wife and I had moments when we would roll and bump the walls.. never rolled ON them.. but was a comfort to know that we FELT them and it did keep a little space between us and our baby to prevent suffocation/promote good air flow..

      But I do feel as though those who put their babies in another room are the real suckers to the market.. they are the ones buying everything to keep the kid safe from things you notice yourself when they are close.

  • Mike Palisar

    SIDS has no explanation (except in spiritualism). It is not the fault of the parents, though they may go through suffering with this loss. Suffocation, lack of nutrition because of SAD (standard american diet) and neglect are completely different diagnoses. Bonding with the child in their formative stages is of key importance. Whoever gave the recommendation to put them in their own room or crib is a person with psychological imbalances in their own self. Children will achieve their own space at their own rate. Let their formative years have as much bonding and “co-sharing” as possible. If you want a more loving world…

  • Arianna Trujillo

    My son now 18 months has always slept with me!! Since day one! He refused to breast feed so he was bottle fed! Guess what! Hes happy and healthy and smart! For us sleeping together is comforting and wouldnt have it any other way

  • leanne

    the only down side to co sleeping is they don’t ever wanna get outa ur bed, i’ve co slept with all 3 of my kids =) and 2 still wont sleep alone! they now sleep together in a double bed :)

  • Elizabeth

    I was always told that I did not look like a “new mom” because I looked so well rested. It was because my children slept with me since birth. When they woke up I could just nurse them and we would all go right back to sleep, no stumbling around in the middle of the night. My first daughter as she got older had night terrors, but because she was right next to me I was able to calm her down and she felt more secure. I believe in what works best for your family. Also be safe; if you drink too much, are too sound of a sleeper I would not recommend it. But I do believe in a large number of cases it is a very beneficial way to go!

  • Degeneradus

    Nice Nipples :)

  • Rj Dieken

    i think there should be a study of the dangers of co-sleeping with a baby on sleep medication vs. co sleeping when not on sleep medication, especially benzos, i think we’d find the real problem is with over-perscription of sleep medications causing a lack of awareness.

  • Jessica Crowley

    It has to be what works for the individual. When my daughter was born I was very nervous and did everything by the books. I kept her in the bassinet the first few weeks and didn’t sleep at all because I was terrified and checking on her every 5 minutes. It was miserable. One night I accidentally fell asleep after feeding her with her still in my arms and it was the first time I slept peacefully. After that she slept with me every night until she was 4 months old and we both felt comfortable setting her up in the playpen next to my bed. She has always had moments where I can tell she needed to be in bed with me at night, and on those nights she is more than welcome in my bed. However, it hasn’t stopped her from being able to sleep in her own bed. She’s almost 3 now and we don’t have any issues!

  • Shannon

    I didn’t sleep for almost 2 days after my first was born (I have 3) because she was nursing nearly constantly. Once my Mom said ” Put that baby in bed with you!”, that all changed. I co-slept with all my babies, using common sense, and we are super close. They are healthy, bright, well-mannered little girls. There are so many ways mothers are terrorized by ” experts” and other mothers these days and most of the reasons are based on misinterpreted, or outright false, information.

  • JaysenSpeek

    I am not a mother(a father),but have slept many of times with my infant children beside me/us,because that was what we as a couple chose to do. What should be at the center of all of this,is parents should do what feels natural to them. No other offspring in the animal kingdom sleeps by itself a distance from their parents.It isn’t natural..Nor is having any agency that tell parents how to put their children to bed.Heck what did the human race do before cribs?lol

  • Somebody wholoves her baby

    The picture above shows the baby with all kinds of crap around him. My baby and I have no blankets that are fluffy over her and she sleeps where the pillow isn’t near her face. Co-Sleeping encourages a baby to breath and to remember how to be out of utero. I was scared to put my baby in a crib because of sids and for the 1st month of her life I had her sleep on my chest. She had her side of the bed when she got bigger with a pillow under the bed sheet to keep her from rolling off.

  • Laura Watson

    Well when you’ve held a lifeless body for a 2 week old baby after an hour of attempting to bring them back due to sleeping in the same bed come talk to me about fear mongering and being “rational” EMS, police, and the ER see things that NEVER leave you. I’m not not saying it happens often but is even ONE death Ok!? Not in my book

    • Epstein’s Mother

      Nonsense. Of course one death might be OK. Otherwise I would have to say, “If we got rid of cars, we would save 50,000 lives each year</i<! Sure, it would cause quite a bit of suffering, inconvenience, and cause the economy to collapse and result in massive unemployment — but is even ONE death OK? If not, what about 50,000???"

      An event that causes one death in the United States means you have a 1 in 330 million chance of dying as a result. "Is even ONE death OK?" is how you get ridiculous requirements that cause more harm than good. Obviously, co-sleeping causes more than one death, but until you can tell me how many people die in car accidents caused by the type of sleep deprivation that co-sleeping might alleviate, you just don't know what you're talking about.

      • Laura Watson

        And you are bashing me why? I hate how people attack another person’s views and say “you don’t know what you’re talking about” did I bash anyone in anyway. No, I was stating my opinion. On a form stick to the facts and not comment on someone else.

        • Epstein’s Mother

          You made a statement. I just pointed out why your statement is ridiculous.

          Life is nothing but risks and trade-offs. Yes, some children die because they get rolled on. But to propose that nobody sleep with an infant, without any consideration of the possible benefits or the risks created by not sleeping with an infant (such as an increase in sleep deprivation-accidents) is making a judgement based on emotion, not facts.

          You’re a nurse — so, what’s your opinion on vaccines? Every year, somebody dies because of a reaction to a vaccine. Obviously a preventable death, since nobody has to take a vaccine. So are you opposed to vaccines? Presumably not, because you know that for every death caused by a vaccine, thousands are saved. All I’m saying is that unless you’ve done a thorough analysis of the costs and benefits of “co-sleeping,” complaining about “even ONE death” is just nonsense.

      • Laura Watson

        A PREVENTABLE death is never OK. Accidents happen in our world. But a death by a negligent mother rolling over on her helpless baby and smothering it is an accident that NEVER needs to happen. So 1 infant death caused by Co sleeping is NOT OK.

        • Ryan Kimmett

          So what do you tell the mom who did everything ‘right’ and their baby dies alone in their crib?

          • Laura Watson

            Exactly what I tell the mom that rolls over on her child… I am so very sorry for your loss

        • Epstein’s Mother

          Every single car accident is preventable.

          So, when do you begin your campaign to outlaw cars?

          • Laura Watson

            Now you’re being partronzing… can you have a discussion without putting someone down? the two are not even close. I’ve stated my opinion , I appreciate and respect yours. I’m done with the discussion

          • Epstein’s Mother

            Patronizing? I take it you’re new to this whole “interwebs” thing.

            How do you know the two are not even close? That’s my point. Unless you’ve actually done an analysis — how many deaths per year, versus how much benefit — you can’t know they’re not even close. (Though I think you’re right. The number of deaths caused by cars is several orders of magnitude greater.)

  • Rachel

    Though I have certainly had my share of bed-sharing after early morning awakenings or during difficult nights, both my babies slept in my room in a cradle for the first few months or so, then in their own cribs in their own rooms. The idea, promulgated by advocates of co-sleeping and/or bed-sharing, that we are any less bonded, our relationship any less tender, or our bodies any less in tune is ludicrous. As I’m sure many mothers experience, our rhythms are so attuned that I often wake up several minutes before my 7 month old even does (as I did with my older son) and I walk (not stumble or zombie-shuffle) to his room. Of all the exhausting pieces of motherhood, a 15 second walk to my hungry baby hardly qualifies as a hardship. We snuggle in a comfy chair and rock while I hum and breastfeed him peacefully. When we’re ready, we go back to our own spaces and I sleep well knowing he is safe and that we will both be well-rested the next day. My 4 year old, having started in his own room so early, never had to endure a difficult transition to sleeping alone. He loves his bed, goes to sleep happily every night, always napped wonderfully, has no fears about the dark…he’s a confident and bright and well-rested child, and the idea that our bond could be any stronger just for sleeping together is laughable.

  • Lala

    I have to confess that although I am a supporter of co-sleeping I feel it can be dangerous. I have 3 children and have co slept with them all, I feel I am very in tune with my mothers instincts and usually hear every little noise ect. One night I must have been so exhausted that I didn’t realize my son had rolled and I was awoken to a thud and him crying from rolling off the bed. Of course I was horrified and luckily he was okay but it opened my eyes to my thinking I would always be aware of where my babies were when in bed with me. I think campaigns for safe co-sleeping would be better then no co-sleeping.

  • debsaid

    *Of course* co-sleeping in and of itself is not dangerous. It is the norm in some other cultures (who happen to have lower rates of SIDS than the US!)
    Enough with the stigmatizing already.

  • AuntieM

    One thing nobody has mentioned is Separation Anxiety. Co-sleeping or having the baby near enough that they feel your presence should reduce this anxiety, no? I’ve never had children so am far from expert but I’ve always felt very strong emotions when I see children being separated from parents and are crying and obviously experiencing separation anxiety. In western culture, placing children away from us, into their own rooms even just after birth, seems so unnatural. When babies cry and are not hungry, isn’t anxiety the cause? Couldn’t we be a more humane culture and find a way to safely co-sleep? Wouldn’t that create a more comforting beginning for a small mind? Wouldn’t that make better people/parents/humans of us? I look at our culture and worry that our families are disintegrating around us because we have started treating our children as ‘guests’ by shoving them off into lonely rooms by themselves when they are infants, shoving them off on strangers to raise when they are toddlers, shoving them into a cold school environment at young and tender ages to basically “fend for themselves in a hostile environment”. And we wonder why they hate us when they start going through puberty? When they become adults and shove their parents into nursing homes for others to care for, the cycle is complete.

  • Child Development

    I think we should also look at ways at making texting and driving safer because the “abstinence only” message isn’t working.

  • PAsAreAwesome

    Guidelines are guidelines. People will follow, not follow, or do something in between. Stop calling pediatricians and healthcare providers “finger-waggers” and other such nonsense. I’m tired of hearing all of this! We are here to help keep babies, children, and families healthy and safe based on current validated research. What if we didn’t report it to the public? It’s not our job to judge. It is, however, our job to care and educate.

    • ms_anthro

      It’s your job to use common sense and critical thinking skills, not blindly parrot what the so-called experts say even when it flies in the face of pretty much all of human development until relatively recently.

  • aldousd

    I forbade co-sleeping. They slept just fine, and so did we. It just took a few maddening weeks up front with each kid of them shouting and screaming themselves to sleep. they gave up though. They still love me now after all of that! And they never once ask me to stay in my bed now. Not even on Saturday mornings when I’m trying to sleep in. I’m glad I stuck to my guns on this.

  • Art

    In the seventies my professional wife was breast feeding and the wheels were coming off of her wagon.
    I awoke one night to find her rocking and breast feeding and crying her heart out.
    My suggestion …. more in the form of a command … “Screw the risk we did it in the cave just bring her to bed with us!”
    We slept nude so the dairy bar was therefore open all night long and my wife did not necessarily have to wake up.
    The rest is history and our daughter is closing in of 40 and my wife regained her sanity.
    The “experts” are the parents and not some bumpkin making a paycheck to ride some pony!

  • Amy K

    My son and I co-slept from the time I brought him home. I gave birth to him, had him placed on my chest for 2 hours before I allowed any medical staff to touch him. After he was deemed healthy, I took him home, the same day, and began co-sleeping. It was easier to breast feed him that way and we formed a bond. When he was about 3 months, he started spending half the night in a bassinett on the side of my bed and half the night in bed – I slowly “weened” him out of co-sleeping. But he slept in a bassinette right beside me for 6 months, and in a crib in my room until he was a year old. Then for his first birthday, we moved him into his own room. He is a total moma’s boy and is VERY big for his age (not fat) and healthy! Children spend almost 10 months INSIDE you, then when they come out we are supposed to cast them into their own cold bed to fend for themselves? No other culture on Earth does that or encourages it….children are meant to be close to their mothers.

    • Weary Warrior

      Two thumbs up!

  • Carolynn Gockel

    What isn’t mentioned is how dangerous it is to get a child out of a crib when you’re half asleep. I almost dropped my little one…and then decided that at least for those first painful six weeks, sleeping together was better.

  • leah

    I started off with my first child in a bassinette beside our bed, it didn’t last long. One night I woke up to go to the washroom, when I looked in at my 2 week old little boy, I noticed he was totally blue and not breathing. His arms and legs were flayling but no noise was being made. I picked him up put him face down on my arm and then started with my hooked finger in his mouth. Doing that I realized the object blocking his airway was a thick mucous. I kept patting his back firmly, but not hard, until finally it passed. I often wonder what would have happened if I didn’t wake up then. Ever since my 4 kids have all shared our bed for the first 6 months. I have never had any scares sharing a bed. For me co-sharing seems safer. If the same thing happened again I would feel the flayling limbs immediately. Not to mention the better rest and closer bonds we have all shared

  • mennomike

    I wonder what the general practice is in other parts of the world. It may well be that this concern is a peculiarly western or U.S. one.
    When I was a baby, for example, in the U.S. it was considered unhealthy, even
    unsafe to breast feed. In fact, my mom had that so drilled into her that she was a bi appalled when my wife nursed our kids.

  • Tiffany

    It is common sense that one should not be sleeping with a baby if intoxicated in any manner or sleep deprived. If one is not able to be alert for oneself one certainly cannot be alert for another being.

    I was speaking with a pregnant young lady at a pet store who voiced her concerns about sleeping arrangements. My advice to her was that most infant deaths from co-sleeping occur because of the mother being overly tired or intoxicated. If you are neither of these things you, as a mother, are highly in-tune with your child.

    I strongly believe in the value of co-sleeping.

  • Aurora

    Please…think about this topic, is it harmful for infants/children to co-sleep with parents? Provided parents are sane, sober and in tune with infant NO, its a cultural issue, ours and other supposedly advanced societies. Its not really a developmental one, though your pediatrician will say it is, though most are weak in child development psychologically speaking Take a look at other countries, other cultures. Having a bed to your self is a first world issue. Babies feeling safe, warm and connected to caregiver/parent is a biological fact, co sleeping addresses that quite nicely, which is why its done world wide, its a human thing…
    Four kids, all co sleepers, they live to tell the tail and wait for it…they all are grown and sleep in their own beds, with their own kids.

  • lacey
  • Tiffany

    It has always upset me that people would equate co-sleeping to abuse. What on earth does anyone think people in other parts of the world do? Who is better qualified to take care of their child then a mother? The person staring at you in disgust, mocking your parental decisions? My child has slept with me everyday of her life. She is happy, healthy, emotionally complete and now happily making the adventurous transition to her own bed.

  • Kim

    I still co-sleep with my 7 year old…I believe that mothers are so in tune with their children that the possibility of harming their child is rare, unless the mothers are drinking or on some kind of medication. Why wouldn’t I be there for my boy when in the middle of the night I wake just before he does and asks to “snuggle mama”

  • Carly

    Thank you for writing this story. Yes, the stigma of bed sharing prevents us from seeking advice on how to do it safely. We get lectured by our doctor. People tell us we are spoiling our babies, or worse, risking their death. Here are the five main reasons parents hide the fact that they co-sleep:

    • Sarah Kerrigan

      Thank you Carly. I agree. Everyone has a right to information, then they can make informed choices.

  • Laura Watson

    Absolutely NOT!! I am an ER nurse and every year we fight to bring a little one back due to cohabitation… even if you have to put that baby in a drawer lined with sheets because you cannot afford a crib do it!! Don’t be selfish and risk it. It never gets easier to tell a family there is nothing else we can do to bring back their baby

    • ms_anthro

      Nice scaremongering but the vast majority of parents throughout human history have coslept responsibly, which is why the human race is still in existence. Drunks, drug addicts, and idiots who cosleep on sofas don’t make it unsafe for the rest of us.

      Separate sleeping arrangements for mothers and babies is relatively uncommon in the rest of the world and historically almost unheard of until relatively recently. Be rational.

      • Laura Watson

        Well when you’ve held a lifeless body for a 2 week old baby after an hour of attempting to bring them back due to sleeping in the same bed come talk to me about fear mongering and being “rational” EMS, police, and the ER see things that NEVER leave you. I’m not not saying it happens often but is even ONE death Ok!? Not in my

        • ms_anthro

          Death happens to babies in cribs, too. Sad as it is, it’s a part of life. Co-sleeping, done with precautions in place, is safe. It really is that simple.

  • Desi Chase

    Wow! Finally! I wrote my thesis on the psychological benefits of co-sleeping, breastfeeding and “baby-wearing”. This is such a refreshing take on the issue of co-sleeping. I wrote a blog post about it myself last year. Here’s the link if anyone’s interested.

  • XX

    The whining about not sleeping with babies is the expected crap from pompous medical professional know-alls trying to mess up people’s lives. My elder daughter used to have horrid colic as a baby. The only way to soothe her was to have her sleep lying face down on my tummy. She is now 30 years old, totally alive and very healthy.

    • truthisgood

      That was your situation, and it sounds like you remained aware of her on your tummy the whole time. But what about the deep sleeper type mom who inadvertently drifts into REM sleep with the baby up there and wakes up 20 minutes later rolled over on the baby with the nearly dead baby’s nose and mouth smashed into her belly? An infant isn’t strong enough to put up much fight when his/her breathing is restricted. They just die.

      • ms_anthro

        Melodramatic, no? Unless she is intoxicated, the mother will not roll over on the baby and smash it to death. Life is not a Warner Brothers cartoon and humans have developed mechanisms that allow them to protect their helpless young even while sleeping. Crazy, I know.

  • Kevin

    Nipples? They should have chosen a different picture for this article.

    • elizakei

      Why? Didn’t notice the nipples til you pointed it out. Still not offended. Who sleeps in a bra?

      • Guest

        Yah, because everyone knows that nipples have nothing to do with babies.

    • YakHerder

      Yeah, because everyone knows that nipples have nothing to do with babies.

  • anna

    When you sleep close to your babies you are more in tune with the baby, sensing their breathing, when they cough, spit up and choke etc. Co-sleeping in my opinion helps prevent SIDS. Put them in their crib in another room you wouldn’t know when they were in trouble.

  • Jhana

    It seems like there is evidence that bed sharing can potentially cause danger to an infant, and McKenna’s data isn’t convincing enough that it doesn’t. The idea that we should ease off on recommending the alternative because parents don’t listen is absurd. We don’t “suggest” car seats because some parents don’t use them. We know they are the safest thing for kids, so that’s that. But it’s not feasible or even logical to make bed sharing illegal, most parents resort to it at some point even if they don’t do it regularly, but if it is potentially life-threatening, we shouldn’t ease off on the message. Secondly, the inference that parents lose more sleep without the baby in the bed as a reason to support this is specious, Some parents might sleep better with the baby, but some might not. There is no evidence either way, so it’s a non-issue. sometimes the presence of a child in the bed can make an adult hyper alert and less able to sleep.

    Many people bed share, all over the world. Many people also put kids on the front of motorcycles, all over the world. And they make kids work in sweatshops, all over the world. Just because something is ubiquitous doesn’t make it right, Doesn’t make it wrong, either, but it’s not a useful argument. Data is the only way to prove whether or not ed sharing is safe, and none if it seems very clear as of now.

    • ke

      So you need to share this data you have with us. If you are going to
      take a position against a renowned researcher with decades of work, you
      are going to have to do more than state your opinion. Can you provide
      peer reviewed research that supports your claims. You also need to cite specifically what part of Dr Mckenna’s data you find unconvincing, and form
      a counterargument that is supported by facts. I’m not saying you can’t
      do it, but you need to if you want to convince anyone.

  • Bob


    • elizakei

      duhuh duhuh *snort*

  • Deborah ‘Freeman’ Barr-Cairns

    I always started my baby out in her bassinet in my room, and upon request of the first feeding of the night, brought her into my bed. We could cuddle, nurse, and go back to sleep. My baby was sleeping from 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. by the time she was 6 weeks old…and so was I. We had a king sized bed, and no loose pillows. I was also single at the time, so no one else was in the bed.

  • crickett_4jc

    Best video available on the bed sharing debate:

  • Misla

    “Sudden Unexplained Infant Death, which includes SIDS, and some of these babies were likely in unsafe bed-sharing situations.” – what a silly statement. It infers that babies die of SIDS due to co-sleeping. But if you really read that sentence, is says nothing of substance. So what if “some” babies “were likely” to be co-sleeping? We know that babies die of SIDS while sleeping alone, and no one is saying that is dangerous! Besides, I thought parents of newborn twins were told to have the babies share a crib because they regulate each others’ hearts, leading to LESS chance of SIDS…so why wouldn’t the mother’s heartbeat do the same thing?

  • Rosalie

    It’s ridiculous to say that babies have evolved to be perfectly adapted to their mothers bodies, since co sleeping has been done a lot longer than it’s been warned against. I can’t take these experts seriously if that’s what they believe. Babies are born to be near their mothers, they have not evolved to be close to them. If anything, they have to adapt to being separated from them, since that’s what we do now by putting them in their cribs and their daycare and their 14 hour schedules away from home.

    • Alicia

      If you understand evolution, it happens over a long long period of time. Adapting and evolving are two different things. Humans have evolved to have large heads because of our brain size. therefore we are pretty much born prematurely relative to other species. That is why there such a long period of time when the child is in need of a care giver.. Many other mammals are more or less independent days or even hours after birth. Humans have evolved to be in sync with thier mothers bodies as infants. It’s physiological. Yes, Babies do have to adapt to being seperated, that’s speaking on an individual basis. The quote was speaking as the evolution of a species. Just like the suckling reflex is a result of evolution. Even if we started feeding our babies in a manner that didnt require suckling, babies would still have that reflex.

      • robpatrob

        Yes for the reasons that you state, a human baby is in effect about 6 months premature. In traditional societies they are kept close to their mother’s body at all times night and day. They do not “adapt” well to separation at this vulnerable point – it is not how humans have been for all but maybe a century in large numbers. I say all of this as an old man who was brought up in a nursery and who was adamant about separating as a result. I have learned a lot since then and have many regrets. My now kids have been much more attuned with their own kids

  • Laughing at you

    “But just as using a message of abstinence in place of sex education has been shown to be ineffective” Name your source for this outlandish statement. Did you just make it up off the top of your head to help prove your point? That one statement made you look like an idiot and in my mind pretty much took all the air out of the effectiveness of your argument.

    • Sarah Kerrigan

      There is an embedded link in the article to the research supporting this statement.

    • Ke

      The author listed a link in the article for that source. Perhaps if you weren’t so busy laughing at, and insulting, someone you don’t know, you may wish to reroute your energies to paying attention and acting like an adult. Unless you are 12. If you are 12, than this is age appropriate behavior, and you get a pass on your ignorant and, frankly, embarrassing comment.

  • TED

    It just seems natural and make sense to co-sleep, I don’t see how it could be seen otherwise.

  • peaches44

    I didn’t even know it had a name. “Co-sleeping?” I thought that was what you did when your child was sick or miserable or had a nightmare or just needed that extra closeness….or wouldn’t go back to sleep after midnight feeding. I must have been a very bad parent indeed.

  • rosesryellow

    Both my children slept with me as infants, never had any problems. My first was in a crib for a short time and none of us slept well until he was moved to our bed. I don’t know anyone who didn’t have their baby sleep with them. The USA is the only country where co-sleeping is frowned upon. Putting a tiny, helpless infant off to be alone is cruel.

  • kat

    THANK YOU. Finally some reason from a main stream source. Who in their right mind would think that putting an infant in a cold, scary place nowhere near their parents is a good idea? It’s one thing to have a little bed attached to the side of your bed so you can still be near each other while being “safer,” but to place an infant in another room entirely? And then pay (sometimes exorbitant prices) for a baby monitor? Really? When you could be right next to your child and not even have to leave the bed to feed him or her? I don’t know about you but if I stand up and walk around in the middle of the night, it’s 10x harder to get back to sleep. We’ve forced a few generations of parents to be grumpy, tired, depressed, and thus inattentive to their children’s needs as well as forcing innocent defenseless infants into quite horrifying situations for their age, and we wonder why our children have behavioral and developmental problems?

    The lack of logic in these stupid societal norms is astounding.

  • Pam

    Finally a wise main stream article. If you search through old “Pediatrics” (the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) right after they came out with the no co-sleeping guidelines you’ll see an uproar of physicians against the guideline in the letters to the editor section. You’ll also learn the guideline was written by 5, yes only 5, physicians and at least one of them had ties to the infant mattress manufacturers. Can you say “for profit physician.” Co-sleeping needs to be done safely, but if it is it is safer than cribs. How many infants die of SIDS or other causes in cribs. Here are good guidelines on safe co-sleeping.

  • Andrew Keeton

    the chick in the picture has really nice boobs. i didn’t read the article….just wanted to check out her boobs. METALLICA RULES!

  • Restedparent

    If co-sleeping was/is so bad explain that to the other half of the world who have always shared their beds with their babies/infants/children. As a mum of three I never had sleep deprivation, why? Because all three slept with me, when they were hungry, I rolled over gave them a breast and we all went back to sleep. Did I ever ‘roll over’ on one of my kids, no, sorry paediatricians every where, but no I did not. I think mothers have a built in sense that their child is right beside them. Anti co-sleeping is most likely driven by a bunch of middle aged white men. Give it up already.

    • ms_anthro

      I agree with your larger point but why would you throw in that anti-White jab at the end? Not cool.

      • mcaroline


      • MidwestPagan

        It wasn’t anti-white. It was stating the obvious. Most of the people who make these decisions are middle-aged to older white men.

        • deliciousironing

          I know my middle-aged white male husband is a big factor for getting the kids out of the bed. I co-slept with all of my kids despite him griping about it after the first 3 months or so. Seriously, with babies, a good nights sleep is worth so much more than what he wanted…

        • ms_anthro

          Again, what does their race have to do with it? Further, can you even prove your statement?

    • Patrick

      Middle aged white men? Public health messaging is notoriously lacking in nuance. Go visit your local or state health department. Two thirds or more of the employees are women.

      • ms_anthro

        And about as White as the employment roster at your local post office or DMV. Give us a break.

    • Webjundub

      I did exactly the same with all five of mine, but at the time my first was born there was what I suspect to be a local urban legend about a woman who had smothered four consecutive babies by nursing in bed ( what idiot would try it again after killing the first?) I think that most mothers develop very light sleep style and are, in the absence of drugs/ medications very aware of the child beside them. All it takes is a little common sense. I’m sure my children were safer in bed with me than in the rocking chair if I dosed off from exhaustion.

    • Laylias

      keep in mind too, women who co-sleep also have just came off a very long stretch of pregnancy in which we didn’t roll over too well. I was quite conditioned to picking a spot and staying with it…and I had a sense of where the baby was. I co-slept for a little while. I would have liked to have longer but my husband was not confident that he was always aware of our babies’ presence in the bed and would sleep on the couch. I eventually had to let him back in the bed so the baby had to go to the crib.

  • Kelley

    There are SIDS studies that associate higher infant mortality rates with co-sleeping. HOWEVER, if you actually go through the data and remove any cases where drugs or alcohol were involved, the rate for SIDS is not higher with co-sleeping. In fact, it is lower.

    • wanderwoman2000

      Please provide citations for those studies. I would like to read them.

    • crickett_4jc

      Bottle feeding is the biggest control area:

      • Jill

        STOP. We can watch this video you’ve linked a hundred times now one of the other 99 times you’ve posted it. We get it. Video.

        • crickett_4jc

          Well, Jill, defender and enforcer of the internets, unlike you I don’t think most people here are spending their lives reading EVERY comment, so me posting it in response to various people’s posts probably didn’t break the internet…I’m pretty sure. At least my posts are attempting to be helpful. Maybe work on your counting skills instead of running around policing what others post…? Just a thought. You must be a ton of fun to live with.

          • Jill

            i’ve been reading 5 minutes. clearly you’ve been lurking for quite a bit longer than me.

          • crickett_4jc

            Um, I get email notifications when someone responds, oh brilliant one.

          • Gloria Sawyer

            I don’t mind you posting this. I haven’t seen it and I’ll be sure to watch it, thank you :)

  • Brenda Stevens

    I think it is irresponsible to conflate the terms bed-sharing and co-sleeping. I understand that bed-sharing is a form of co-sleeping, but co-sleeping without bed-sharing has all the benefits and none of the risks. Most people commenting on places like Facebook seem to be skimming the article or reading just the headline and you could be part of educating everyone about the differences by using the proper, specific terminology in the headline and throughout the article, not just at the end.

  • Anonnymouse

    Can we be clear on one thing? An infant who has been rolled over on, or got wedged into the crevice of a sofa, or the like, died of SUFFOCATION, *not* of SIDS.

    There was nothing ‘sudden and inexplicable’ about it. Suffocation has causes, and can be prevented.

    Co-sleeping does not cause SIDS, and it’s incredibly irresponsible of the media and health organizations to keep framing it as if it does – or for medical examiners to put SIDS as a cause of death when clearly the child was accidentally suffocated instead.

    • Shane

      I think this every time I hear that!

    • laylias

      not disagreeing with you on the suffocation part but there are ways that co-sleeping could explain sids… it has to do with why they also recommend not having a bumper pad and no blankets even ones with wholes. the lack of air flow could affect how much oxygen the baby is getting. also, they recommend pacifiers while sleeping early on because babies that get into a deep sleep sometimes can’t wake up again and suckling helps. where nursing during cosleeping would help, the fact that babies sleep better next to their moms could also cause them to sleep to deep. these are somewhere between fact and theory. I don’t know how much of this is proven but its coming out in research. anyway, because they can’t pinpoint the exact cause of death in these situations, they still call it sids. hope this helps…

      • BFinBK

        This is factually incorrect – research is proving that co-sleeping actually reduces these concerns because sleeping close to their mothers synchronizes babies’ breathing and sleeping patterns. It is the reason we are now encouraged to have infants sleep in the same room. One of the theories of SIDS is that babies go so deeply into sleep & cant regulate their own breathing, that they essentially go to deep and never come out. Mothers, while enjoying good rest, also continue to be responsive to their co-sleeping babies in a way that there is anecdotal evidence of them waking up at the moment their child stopped breathing – I know several parents who co-sleep for this reason. Further, new research is connecting SIDS to ear infections & other problems which are minimized by breastfeeding.

        • Stephanie Birdsall Lippman

          Thank you!

        • P

          SIDA is completely unrelated to ear infections. Please do accurate literature searches and not post false statements.

          • Eva

            Incorrect, a recent study HAS linked SIDS and issues with the inner ear. It made national news a week or two ago.

          • HZ

            Ear infections involve the middle ear space, not the inner ear. Research at Seattle Children’s Hospital has suggested a potential association between inner ear nerve dysfunction (CN VIII) and SIDS, which is an intriguing theory that is still largely unproven. The recent study reported animal study results supporting the theory. This is a long way from being definitive, however.

      • Anonnymouse

        ” it has to do with why they also recommend not having a bumper pad and no blankets even ones with wholes. the lack of air flow could affect how much oxygen the baby is getting”

        …..which is *suffocation*. That’s the *definition* of suffocation. No air = suffocation. No air DOES NOT = SIDS.

    • flexiest

      i have two little dogs that are the size of infants. they both sleep with me and in 12 years I have yet to roll over and squish either one of them… and thats with TWO little guys in the bed with me at the same time…. and I sleep like a log. Waking me up is near impossible so I am most definitely in a deep sleep.

      I guess if you’re the type that thrashes around at night it might be dangerous but for a normal sleeper, I believe we are unconsciously aware of the energy of another creature beside us even in a deep sleep.

      • P

        First, dogs have much more muscle tone than a newborn and could claw, scratch and bite you if you rolled over on them. Second, I have taken care of 20-30 anoxic brain injured infants over the past 10 years and their injuries are easily traced back to co-sleeping.

        Newborns are not safe in most co-sleeping situations. I agree that more can be done to make things safer, but until then I fully recommend not making a dangerous choice that could harm a newborn. BTW, while those 20-30 patients may be a very small proportion of the kids I have treated in 10 years, ask their parents about how they feel about co-sleeping.

    • Emily Francis

      Wow that’s so true, ur smart yo

    • sherryO

      absolutely right! my son slept with me as an infant. it was good for BOTH of us. he slept MUCH more soundly than he did when we put him in a crib.

  • Jack

    I think this article missed a great teaching opportunity. Where are these methods of “resonsible” co-sleeping?

  • Serene

    Both of my siblings and I shared a bed with our mom when we were babies and we all turned out okay. She even had home births for all of us and those were all fine as well, even without a midwife in my case.

  • izzi

    Worked for my three: always keep baby inside of parents, no pillow, and really who drinks or smokes when nursing?

  • Teri Kesti

    Just a quick comment…co-sleeping might not always create a more
    restful environment and parents can respond to babies needs even when
    not in immediate vicinity…when we moved our baby out of our room, I
    finally got some sleep…and still nursed every 3 hours around the
    clock. Co sleeping was stressful and I couldn’t ever sleep because he
    was a “noisy” baby…lots of coos, noises, grunts and groans. Just a
    reminder that it isn’t THE answer…

    That being said…I’m a doula and always encourage my clients to do safe
    co-sleeping if they at all can…it CAN be easier…and certainly is
    important for the first few weeks, at least.

    Most GOOD research (i.e. well done, large populations, funded by non-biased organizations) have shown that babies that do not have risk factors (pre-term, birth defects, heart conditions, etc) and aren’t sleeping with parents that have risk factors (alcohol or drug use, including tobacco, sleep disorders, etc…) have no higher risk of SIDS than those that are not cosleeping.

    The bottom line is…don’t share a bed with a baby that is in a risk group, and don’t consume alchohol or drugs if you intend on sleeping with your baby. If bedsharing freaks you out, don’t do it….find a different sleeping surface for baby in the same room until you feel that baby can sleep in a room on his/her own.

    There have also been some studies showing the benefits of co-sleeping…creating a positive relationship between babies and parents by assisting mom and dad in responding to newborns cues for hunger…this builds trust and increases bonding…most breastfeeding mamas I know sleep with or next to their babies… it’s not rocket-science…it’s human nature.

    • Beverly Diehl

      Thanks for weighing in here with 1) Common sense and 2) practical experience and advice. No parent/parenting pair is EXACTLY the same as any other, even if they’ve/she’s had previous experience, and no baby is exactly the same as any other. What works for Baby F may not work for Baby Q; there are no fast and hard rules that suit every single possible situation.

    • NewMomAt40

      I too am hesitant about co-sleeping with our soon-to-be-born-daughter because my husband is a VERY heavy sleeper who does not wake up even when shaken or yelled at. We are planning on having our girl sleeping in the same room with us but I worry about any harm coming to her if she was in the same bed….

      • cosleepingmommy

        Baby should never be next to dad bc men lack the inherant instincts that mothers possess. If you want to try bed sharing, just make sure your baby is next to you and only you.

    • Andrea

      Thank you for sharing. My daughter grunted loudly in her sleep, waking us up when she wasn’t even hungry, and then pooped every time she ate for about the first five months of her life. it worked really well for me to just leave the room and let my husband sleep or him to go get her and take her back and change her after eating. We had her in the next room and with both doors open, heard her fine when she woke up hungry.

  • MockingbirdDont

    There are a lot of co-sleeping options these days. There are little bassinets designed for infants that sit right beside or between the mother(s), with one or both sides that fold down to allow easy access to feeding in the middle of the night. I co-slept with our daughter using one of those and it was amazing for us. When she awoke from feeding, she was right beside me, I brought the little “gate” down, pulled her close, fed her, and once she fell asleep after feeding, softly scooted her back in and lifted the little gate again. She stayed warm, protected, well fed, and we all slept so well. My husband, myself, and our daughter were well-slept, very bonded, and happy as could be. There are options. There are always options.

  • Grannie Cool

    About time !!

  • robpatrob

    My old friend Urban Carmichael once told me that – “The only time a Carmichael slept alone when after we were married!” A Catholic Rural PEI Family with more than 8 kids

  • robpatrob

    I wonder where babies and children slept before modern times? I bet that for millions of years we slept with our mothers

    • And babies died more often…

      • kristen

        usually because of diseases in which medicine wasn’t invented yet…

      • ms_anthro

        Yes, hard to imagine why in a world without antibiotics, easy food sources, and convenient nearby trauma centers…

      • robpatrob

        Yes they did but for all sorts of reasons – infant mortality was massive – but few would make the case that this was because parents slept with their kids. My point is attachment. Babies need high touch for optimal development. Mums need to be close to attach too. It’s also highly convenient for breast feeding which is also the optimal way to start your baby. We are primates. Touch is central for our wellbeing

  • Sara McCutcheon

    @Liz Gomez (quoted in the article): Then why didn’t you just put the crib in your room or your bed in the baby’s room?

    • EDVA

      Perhaps the rooms would not accommodate another bed?

  • Kivy

    My understanding was that if a SIDS death occurred in a bed-sharing situation, frequently the investigation stopped there and that reason was given as the contributing factor to the death regardless if a link could be clearly demonstrated in other ways (ex. autopsy). Basically a situation of guilt by association. Perhaps things have changed? If not, it seems a situation of correlation with no conclusive causation. Clearly sometimes it is a dangerous practice, such as when one is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but is it as dangerous as doctors use statistics to tell us?

    • EDVA

      A death of anyone outside of the hospital should require an autopsy for cause.

      • Kivy

        Yes, but when they aren’t conclusive to the cause of death, my understanding is that cause is pinned on known risk factors, such as bed sharing, even if it can’t be shown that the risks actually contributed to the death.

    • Sarah Kerrigan

      Thnak you for sharing this point. This is a point that Dr. McKenna made at the conference I attended. When a baby dies of unexplained causes in a bed with an adult, the bedsharing and adult body is blamed. When a baby dies of mysterious causes in a crib, neither the crib nor the *lack* of adult presence are blamed.

    • robpatrob

      I ask the same question – what is the risk? What are the statistics that support this as a high risk activity?

  • mrsL

    I slept with all six of my babies for a year or more, and they are all doing just fine. Most of the rest of the world co- sleeps. It just makes sense!

  • aaaa

    NO NO No! I have been to homes too many times because babies have died like this. It’s not worth the risk. There a better,safer ways to bond with your baby. Please don’t co sleep

    • Allison

      Correlation does not equal causation. Most babies outside of the US co-sleep with their parents at one time or another and the US (non-co-sharers) have a HIGHER SIDS rate per capita.

  • Jimijames

    Turkey’s done!

  • Bevie

    Good grief! What could be more natural than a mom having her baby safe with her in bed. People just need to stop and think how to do it safely and then educate new moms :D
    kisses y’all

  • alexafleckensteinmd

    The article gives room to venting ideologies about co-sleeping instead of giving plain advice. If the baby is placed between the parents pillows, with her own blankets, it is unlikely that the parent rolls over the baby inadvertently. The position in your photo – under the parent’s arm – is dangerous. Co-sleeping helps bonding. As does breastfeeding.

    Alexa Fleckenstein M.D., physician, author.

    • crickett_4jc

      Wow, between pillows?? SO not what the research states! And the research DOES state that under the arm is a safe place! You need to do your homework, doctor! Start with James McKenna, the leading researcher on the topic. And this can give you the cliff notes version:

      • Susanna Harper

        wow you are arrogant and disrespectful.

    • Sarah Kerrigan

      Thank you for your comment. There is a link to Dr. McKenna’s “Safe Cosleeping Guidelines” in the article. The presence of pillows and blankets is not recommended.

      • crickett_4jc

        Sarah, I really enjoyed the article, but I’m curious about the decision to leave out the information on breast and bottle feeding, and how they impact the recommendation to bed share or not. It seems that McKenna emphasizes this as the MAIN consideration in the debate, so I’m curious about why it wasn’t highlighted?

        I did appreciate the article, even without that aspect being represented, though!

        • Sarah Kerrigan

          Thank you crickett! In the embedded link to Dr. McKenna’s “Safe Cosleeping Guidelines,” it is made very clear that only breastfeeding babies can safely share a bed with their mother. I do hope that readers will acces that link to learn more about safe bedsharing and risk factors.

          • crickett_4jc

            Ah!I missed that part…reading with a toddler climbing all over me is not the best way to practice close reading! haha

    • Dana J. Pownall

      Dr. McKenna actually says that this position, under the mother’s arm, is preferred. Mostly because is limits where the child can go, either towards or away from the mother. And if the baby usually wakes because they are hungry or wet or dirty, rolling towards the mother would be their first thought. Also, if the mother’s arm is out like this, she would have to lower it in order to roll over, herself. She couldn’t do that without encountering her baby, which (if she weren’t passed out or in some other way chemically influenced) would stop her. This is how I co-slept with my son while I was nursing, and we never had any problems with it at all.

    • ms_anthro

      Are you really a doctor? This is terrible advice, completely irresponsible. Cosleeping in the mother’s arms is the safe way to do it. Putting an infant between two pillows is a great way to suffocate your baby, which is why crib manufacturers all have that huge warning that tells parents not to put soft things in the crib with the baby unattended…

      Please educate yourself about cosleeping and other attachment parenting techniques before condescending to lecture the rest of us about it.

  • Boxer36

    I find some responses rather glib and cavalier. If you would have been with me as a law enforcement officer, responding to several calls for dead infants who had been sleeping with an adult and smothered, you might be more cautious in your responses.

    • alicia9938

      Isn’t it also true that the majority of the time it wasn’t just co-sleeping, but also other contributing factors such as intoxication or sleeping on a couch? I am trying to think of one story that didn’t have additional contributing factors besides the simple act of sleeping with your child. Sorry, but I disagree with it being criminal to sleep with your child.

    • EDVA

      The question is this, were the infants in a large bed with their parents? Was the person they were sleeping with drunk or otherwise? There are safe ways to co-sleep and unsafe ways to do it also. Wouldn’t it be best to give the option to parents. I for one did with our second and last child, our first died in a neonatal intensive care unit. I think I did my research. My last child nursed every hour on the hour through the night for the first 4 months. We removed bedding, we were very careful about pillows and aware his location at all times.

    • crickett_4jc

      I’d be willing to bet that every single instance had one factor in common, just like all of the ones in Milwaukee. Check out this Fox news investigative report and see if it opens your mind a little

  • AnnMc

    What exactly is “safe” bedsharing? Your article covers only a partial list because, if we’re all honest here, it would be nearly impossible for adults to make bedsharing safer. Just one example – a pro-bedsharing researcher found risk in over tiredness to be a risk factor, defined as less than 4 hours since the babies last feed. How many newborn nurslings have you known that don’t nurse every two to three hours in the early weeks? Also – you may want to change out photos. The one above shows loose bedding, pillows and an adult mattress – all well established modes of death for an infant.

    • EDVA

      Loose beddings and others can also be in an infant’s crib.

    • Sarah Kerrigan

      There is an embedded link in the article to “Safe Cosleeping Guidelines.”

  • AnnMc

    Ms. Kerrigan, there are a number of factual problems with your article, among them the pervasive myth that Jim McKenna has found protective benefits when, in fact, he has not. He’s been looking; he’s been hoping; he’s been promoting – but in nearly 30 years he has yet to demonstrate any reduction in SIDS or sleep related deaths in bedsharing babies. Conversely, more than two dozen studies show they are much more likely to die and is perhaps the reason why we are still seeing 70 babies die each week in the US.

    • crickett_4jc

      Jim McKenna makes it abundantly clear that it has been found to be safe to bedshare IF THE MOTHER IS BREASTFEEDING. I’d be willing to bet that 99%+ of those deaths you quoted were bottle fed babies, and McKenna clearly states that bottle feeding precludes a mother and baby from safe bedsharing

      • crickett_4jc
      • kristen

        Relax yourself. My first was bottle fed and slept with me. Guess what, she’s still here. Calm your britches.

        My niece and 2 nephews, YOU GUESSED IT! Bottle fed and slept with the parents. WHOAAAAAAA. People like you make me friggin laugh.

        • crickett_4jc

          You can make whatever choices you want as a parent. we’re talking about people who seek the knowledge and research and want to know what may or may not put their kids at risk. The research is conclusive, but of course you’re free to ignore it and do as you see fit. When 100% of all bed sharing deaths in Milwaukee over a 2 year period are bottle fed and when all educated authorities involved in the debate agree that the key factor in safe bed sharing is not bottle feeding, then you can ignore that and roll the dice if you want. But other people should know about it to make an educated decision.

          • Heather

            I breast fed my daughter the first day she was born she had some issues and after that first day she refused the breast ..she never would go back to it..i did all icould and finally I started pumping for her ..when my milk came in and the supply could not keep up I started supplementing her with organic formula. It wasnt ideal but it is what it is. She is six weeks old and healthy and happy and I still pump for her. I stay at home so I am able to pump thru out the day. I say all this to say.. that I think your heart is in a good place..but no one knows what is better for MY baby then me and she has slept with me since birth. She gets both breast milk and formula from a bottle and we are still deeply connected..i wake with every move she makes..we sleep turned into each other she lays in the crook of my arm.. we sleep in snyc and it is very satisfying for us both. My girl is healthy and happy. Just because she eats from a bottle doesn’t i’m ignoring research (that I did while I was pregnant at length) it just means that I..being her mother..know what is best and right for my daughter. I think as mothers we need to start supporting each other and encouraging mothers to form these deep connections and bonds with their babies. Co sleeping is NOT for everyone..but it is for some. And the only person who can determine if it’s for my me.

    • Sarah Kerrigan

      Dr. McKenna is a prolific researcher whose work has been published in reputable journals since the 1970′s. In this article, his thoughtful perspective on what science tells us about the protective factors of close proximity between mothers and infants during sleep were presented. Dr. McKenna is not out to promote bedsharing, but to dispel the myth that it is an inherent risk factor for SIDS when it is practiced safely.

  • Lurchie

    This is a great story – the word is pronounced “Yamaka”

  • KT

    I co-slept and shared a bed with both my infants, neither slept in a crib at all. I allowed them to wean themselves from my bed and/or room when they were older. We were very careful to follow safe sleep guidelines etc. Not only did I bed share with infants, I co-slept with toddlers, preschoolers and – gasp – elementary age kiddos. I absolutely think it was the best thing for my family. If I could change anything about those precious years, I would choose only to be more relaxed and comfortable with our choices.

    But looking at this issue here and now, I have to wonder why there doesn’t seem to be more supporting evidence for the safety of bed sharing than there was when my youngest was born almost 13 years ago. At that time James McKenna was the expert everyone was quoting. His was up and coming science 13 years ago. Shouldn’t there be someone else to quote by now? Why is the rest of the scientific and medical establishment is still, “coming down hard” on bed sharing while acknowledging that co-sleeping is important? I have to wonder if it’s simply inertia or is it that the preponderance of the scientific evidence – as it stands today – is still on their side? Occasionally the lone dissenting voice in the scientific wilderness is correct, but far more often he’s just wrong.

    Without some evidence that the number of deaths caused by bed sharing would be significanly less than the number prevented by bed sharing, I wouldn’t expect many in public health to advocate for the practice. Unless the benefits clearly outweigh the risks, recommending a practice known to be lethal for any percentage of infants is unethical for a medical professional.

  • Amelia Oliver

    Thank goodness the scientific community is finally considering moving away from trying to scare people out of bed-sharing and co-sleeping. The comparison with the policy of advocating abstinence instead of sex-ed is strikingly appropriate. ince almost everyone does it but we are all afraid to talk about it, let’s start teaching the safe way to do it.

  • MamaAnon

    An article about the family bed without reference to Dr. Sears’ groundbreaking work? I shared a bed with all three of my babies. All three nursed to the WHO standard of “at least for the first two years and afterwards for as long as mutually beneficial”. I long ago learned to ignore pediatricians who were trained using terribly outdated research aimed at putting distance between mother and baby. In our family healthy attachment is the guiding principle. It’s nice to finally see a (mostly) balanced article in the mainstream media addressing what we attached Mamas have long known.

    • Mom

      Dr sears references Dr McKenna in his books.

    • ke

      As I stated earlier:

      Well, Dr. McKenna started his research work on co-sleeping before Dr
      Sears promoted the practice. In fact, Dr Sears references Dr McKenna’s
      work in his literature on co-sleeping. I do think Dr Sears is great,
      and as he is a massively successful practicing pediatrician and writer,
      he is able to communicate to many people. We are thankful for that.
      However, a lot of the research work into dispelling the myths of
      co-sleeping was performed by Dr McKenna. Dr Sears has done some research work into this, but no close to as much as Dr Mckenna.

  • Caitlin Roberts

    I’m so happy to see an article questioning the myths around bed sharing. I am a proud parent who has bed shared with my child and it’s sanity saving, and promotes amazing family bonding. Thank you for this. I hope people read the article and realize how very common it is and how positive it is for the family dynamic. It’s got a long history, is cross cultural, even universal. Yes, let’s focus on safe practices rather than publicly maligning families for this age old practice. We may even do ourselves a favor and increase successful breastfeeding rates in the meantime.

  • gramakathy5

    Where is the information on “how to cosleep safely”?. As a nurse I can atest to the fact that too many babies die when put in a sleeping situation on, around and with their parents/adults. There is a ‘cosleeper’ bassinette type bed that hooks up to the parents bed that my daughter had with their son. Baby is in his/her own little ‘area’ away from adults but still within a foot or two of the parents, who cannot move into the babies ‘area’.

    • kris

      It seems that you may have missed the message a little. Yeah, there are infant death with bedsharing, but the majority of those are because of pills or alcohol or even drug abusing parents that are not conscience enough to wake if and when something happens. The do have those co-sleeper attachments which are great, but in no way is it any better than responsible bedsharing. It is a comfort thing.

      • a

        Baby deaths do not just occur with parents using drugs and alcohol. A as far as a ” comfort thing” – safety should out weight parents comfort.

        • EDVA

          So a sleep deprived parent is a good thing? Bevie, your comments are all over and it appears you are a TROLL.

      • Jack

        I’m pretty sure you missed the message of gramakathy5′s reply: babies do die due to co-sleeping and the article does not really offer any methods of “responsible” co-sleeping (if such a thing actually exists). Sleeping with them is a comfort thing, but I think it’s more of a comfort thing for the parent than for the baby, which is selfish. The baby will never remember cuddling mommy, however if baby dies then she will never remember anything.

        • Peter

          More of a comfort for the parent than the baby? My daughter was comforted 6 or 8 times a night by my wife in our bed, and hence, they both slept better and were better human beings in the morning. Choosing to co-sleep usually has nothing to do with the parent’s emotional needs, and everything to do with supporting breastfeeding and getting a good night’s sleep, which is important for all humans.

          That said, many families choose not to co-sleep and get a better night’s sleep that way. Power to them.

      • Matthew Harrington

        I can attest to this. My wife and I shared our bed with our baby girl. My wife was incredibly aware of her all through the night, and would wake at the slightest noise or movement she made. It was pretty amazing.

    • crickett_4jc

      Here is an investigative report that helps identify the MAIN factor to consider when deciding to bedshare or not:

      • kris

        Is this really the only information you can post?

        • crickett_4jc

          Nope, I just figure anyone competent can use it as a starting point because it gives a good overview. Was there something you cared to add to the discussion? Or would you rather use your time criticizing how I choose to help, instead of helping yourself?

    • Sarah Kerrigan

      There is an embedded link in the article to “Safe Cosleeping Guidelines.” Co-sleeper bassinets are a wonderful option for many families!

  • Memme

    As a mother of three children I followed the instructions of my pediatrician with my first and put him to bed in his own room, in his own bed. I stumbled down the hall, brought hot water and soap, washed and changed him and nursed him. It took at least half an hour or more to accomplish all this and both of us lost considerable sleep. With my second and third, I double diapered and dressed them in warm sleepers (of course, sensing when a soiled diaper needed changing). We slept nestled together, nursing when they stirred, and enjoyed an incredible tender and intimate nesting. Although I was always aware of them next to me, and their safety, I enjoyed restful sleep and beautiful intimacy with them. I don’t think they were in danger at all and I awoke much more refreshed and I think there was incredible emotional bonding between us in that experience.

    • Jill Raleigh Fischer

      I can attest to the same experience. It was years before it was an issue with a name. We used common sense and all got some sleep!

    • sweatpoo

      I did the same and LOVED it. However; now my son is 8 years old and I cannot get him to sleep in his own bed. ;(

      • MidwestPagan

        My parents had the same issue with me. I went to sleep in their bed and then woke up in mine. Eventually, I started going to sleep in my own room.

        • JakeJ413

          I slept with my mom as a baby but, unfortunately, now I can only sleep when my mom is in the bed. My wife isn’t thrilled with the situation but you have to compromise when you’re married.

          • cosleeping mommy of 1

            Hilarious. And Clearly Your Wife Is A Keeper For Putting Up With Your Mother Issues. ;)

          • sherryO

            ROFLOL. Too funny.

      • Mammaof4boys

        Sadly, he will sleep in his own bed, said by the mother of 4 grown boys who never would sleep in their own beds until they were about that age and who will now not snuggle in bed for nothing! You will miss it one day! And my guess, it will be in the next year or two. :(. Enjoy it, they grow up waaaaayyyyy too fast.

    • Susan Daniels

      Exactly my experience. Perhaps we need to speak up about this.

  • PilgrimOnTheJames

    We shared our bed with each of our seven babies (each in his turn, of course) for the first several months of their post-partum lives (again, we obviously share our bed with each of them for the nine months of their pre-partum lives) – practically, because it allowed my wife to breast-feed them without her having to greatly disturb her much needed rest, and also, because the little tikes smelled so good and were so cute to watch sleeping. We moved them into a separate bed in our room once they were able to consistently sleep through the night. The bonds that were begun then have only grown and strengthened over the past 30+ years of family life (our oldest is 30, our youngest, almost 13). I thank God that we ignored the advice of many well-meaning, but totally scandalized, family members and friends.

  • Molly

    This article is atrocious. It conflates the issues of cosleeping in bed sharing, which are not the same thing. Cosleeping is risk free, end of story. Bed sharing does have risks if not done carefully and correctly. Get your terminology right before you write an article about something.

    • Sarah Kerrigan

      Thank you for pointing out this difference. It is true that in the scientific community, cosleeping is a generic term for a parent and infant sharing close proximity while sleeping. That could be in the same room, but different bed surfaces, or in the same room on the same surface. It is an overarching term that includes bedsharing, but it is the term most commonly understood by the general public as meaning a parent and child sharing an adult bed. Bedsharing is the specific term for a parent and child sleeping on the same surface. I chose not to point out the difference in the scientific terms, in order to get to the more essential points of the article. I think this article did a good job of pointing out both the benefits of close proximity during sleep, and the risks that can be associated with bedsharing.

      • Ellen

        Gracious response to a nasty comment! Both of my babies slept with their father and I in our bed, and it was perfect–and safe–for our family.

        • Layla

          There you go, your mission has been accomplished, you’ve started the troll. Congratulations for leading the conversation off topic…

      • Rebekah Cordova

        Yes – very kind in your response! I appreciate your work here and thank you for it…

      • Jack

        What is the rate of a co-sleeping baby dying not due to SIDS, but due to suffocation?

        • Ckb

          Those numbers aren’t possible since the baby would have died from suffocation, not SIDS. Two separate issues.

      • Laura

        Semantic difference does not equal atrocious article. If you read it, there is no question as to what is meant.

    • Kate

      I could not believe what I was reading in this article. The problem is not room-sharing/co-sleeping (which would fix the issues of personal examples given in this article) but BED-SHARING, of which the concern is having a SOFT SURFACE and LOOSE BEDDING and PILLOWS – see list of SIDS risk factors actually provided in this article. Breastfeeding is great and reduces SIDS, but has nothing to do with the concerns about bed-sharing. Authors completely disregarded this concern in their explanations – if they argue for compromises around this issue, how could they not include a discussion how to breastfeed and co-sleep in the same room without introducing an infant to soft surfaces, loose bedding and pillows. Very weak, ill-informed article.

      • Bill

        Bed sharing is a type of co-sleeping, the terms are not mutually exclusive, but the term cosleeping is very often used interchangeably to describe the practice of bedsharing, whether it be public health messages, baby books, or the like. So I didn’t have a big problem with the term being used as is in the article. Many people and organizations consider co-speeping and bed sharing as meaning the same thing. You are right, it’s not technically correct, but I don’t think the purpose of this article was to address the terminology contradiction.

        A direct link to the guidelines developed by Dr. McKenna was in the article. This guideline does address your concern over soft surfaces, loose bedding and pillows. Did you not read that? Here it is for you:

        I don’t think the article is calling for any compromise at all. Where did you get that? The article is simply calling for public policy to recognize the correct and professionally recommended method to practice bed-sharing (whether or not people call it co-sleeping), and to communicate these protocols to the public in order to reduce risk factors. People are doing it anyway, they should all be educated to do it correctly. I’m afraid you haven’t made a convincing case as to why this is a “very weak, ill informed article”.

      • Susanna Harper

        I think bedsharing can be done safely. My husband and I shared a bed with our daughter when she was a newborn and then off and on for years after. Bedsharing was fairly common in rural areas of the south when my father was an infant in the 1930s and 20 years ago among my peers. I remember older southern ladies telling me (In response to my fretting, I was very worried about SIDS) SIDS was some fairy tale because they never knew anyone who had a child who died of it. Despite the classes, and a college education, when my husband and I brought my daughter home from the hospital, we just could not leave her alone as we were all snuggled up. So my husband put a “speed bump around our daughter in the bed. She is alive and well and well adjusted. I think classes should be offered on how to properly and safely bedshare and I think that was the point of the article.

        • Ann C.

          I like this “Speed Bump” idea! What did you make it out of?

          • Susanna Harper

            A king sized flat sheet twisted tightly and then secured with 550 cord. No slack in the cord, No strings left dangling. Then laid in a teardrop to horseshoe shape on the bed in between us at head and shoulder.

    • Bill

      That was a rude comment Molly. Really, go somewhere else if you are not able to provide feedback in a constructive and professional manner. Atrocious? Just because you didn’t agree with the labeling of the practice (which is often interpreted differently whether it’s the scientific community or the public)? Uncalled for.

      When I read the article, I recognized that the term was being used as it is understood in the general public. The article was referring to public health campaigns and recommendations that are made to the public. The public health messages, along with books, guides etc, usually use the term cosleeping to mean bedsharing. I agree there is a discrepancy in the terminology, but it really doesn’t matter with respect to the content in this article. Certainly not worthy of having one work referred to as atrocious.

  • Kelly Harshfield

    My husband and I fully support co-sleeping. All three of our children shared our bed when each of them was an infant. Co-sleeping makes for more restful sleep for the parents. If the baby need to breastfeed the baby is right there and there is no stumbling around in a half asleep mode. I worry about the parents who get up groggy and feed their babies with a bottle, if they fall asleep, they might drop the baby. Co-sleeping is a cultural tradition in many societies, what are the SIDS rates in those countries?

    • Weary Warrior

      You might be surprised, and surely alarmed, by the number of young mothers who prop a bottle up next to their baby and leave the child unattended.

  • TJtruthandjustice

    I guess everything old is new again. Dr. Bill Sears has been talking about the benefits of co-sleeping since my 16-year-old was a newborn, pointing out that SIDS is more common among infants left in cribs and that in many other societies around the world, co-sleeping is the norm, not the exception.

    • Amanda

      I’m 31, and Dr. Sears was my pediatrician who encouraged my mom to co-sleep. :)

    • ke

      Well, Dr. McKenna started his research work on co-sleeping before Dr Sears promoted the practice. In fact, Dr Sears references Dr McKenna’s work in his literature on co-sleeping. I do think Dr Sears is great, and as he is a massively successful practicing pediatrician and writer, he is able to communicate to many people. We are thankful for that. However, a lot of the research work into dispelling the myths of co-sleeping was performed by Dr McKenna

      • TJtruthandjustice

        The headline is misleading, as if this is some sort of new debate. It’s been going on for decades as you point out.

        • ke

          I think we are in agreement here; in that this topic that has been researched and put into proper practice for some time (whether it’s Sears, McKenna etc). However, many people are still skeptical, includng govt entities, and aren’t up to speed on the data. It’s unfortunate that this is still so, but that was the point of the article. There still is more work to do. The examples given in the article show that this issue has not been resolved, so I think the title is ok.

          You, I and many people here probably did read the article and were thinking, “what the heck, wasn’t this solved a long time ago?”

          The analogy to abstinence was a good one. Ignorance, misconceptions, and poor data have prevented the practice from being properly understood and promoted.

    • Raymond Davis

      And ignoring accounts of mothers accidently rolling over on infants that goes back to hundreds of cases over hundreds of years. At one point the housefly was considered a symbol of domestic content, now we know it carries disease but HAY it was revered in the Dark Ages and should be good enough for us.

      • anonymous123456

        Actually, accidentally rolling over on infants is extremely rare because the mother rarely ever falls into a deep sleep. This usually happens because alcohol or other substances affecting the parent’s ability to rouse are involved. Co-sleeping is the norm in just about every other part of the world, particularly in Asia, and their SIDS and infant mortality rates are dramatically lower than ours.

        • Nancy

          Yes co-sleeping is much more common in every other part of the world except the U.S. But, we have a considerably lower infant mortality rate (U.S. is 5.9 per 1000) compared to Asia (China for instance: 15.2 per 1000) and other parts of the world according to this:

          I’m not disputing the sleeping with infants logic. I’m just pointing out that if we’re trying to prove a point, don’t throw out erroneous claims about other statistics if you don’t had your facts. It just confuses people.

          • Nancy


          • Shava Nerad

            Don’t throw out misleading stats. The infant mortality rate in China starts at birth. It is not high due to SIDS. It is high due to a lack of rural immunizations, western China’s horrible disasters lately, and any number of other causes. Lord.

          • Hrundi

            Where is the stat for SIDS? That is infant mortality overall and not really a comparison of SIDS rates. Apples and oranges….

      • Mammaof4boys

        And it is next to impossible to roll over an infant that is crocked in his/her mother’s arm in a nursing position…just try it…I would bet money you couldn’t roll over on the baby. I slept with all four of my boys and not once did I ever roll over on them.

      • CW

        No one here is ignoring those accounts.

        Those events happen almost exclusively due to *unsafe* bed-sharing, and it is the *unsafe* part, not the *bed-sharing* part, that makes them potentially deadly. If a mother is on medications that induce drowsiness, is under the influence of alcohol, is excessively sleep-deprived or has some other sleep issue that makes it hard for her to awaken, then bed-sharing under those conditions is not safe. That doesn’t mean bed-sharing in general is unsafe.

      • TJtruthandjustice

        The researchers don’t ignore those deaths. People 100 years ago drank roughly twice as much per capita as they do now. In past centuries, fresh drinking water was often scarce: families, including children, would drink beer instead, morning noon and night. Usually deaths due to parents rolling over their infants is the result of intoxication. In addition, you must also factor in the the higher rate of SIDS among infants left alone in their cribs.

      • deliciousironing

        I also read recently that smothering in the family bed was a very effective excuse for ridding parents of infants they couldn’t afford to care for around the turn of the century. All the family had to do was bring the baby to the church and call it an accident and nobody would question it. So the recorded numbers are higher than reality.

      • Guest

        i have two little dogs that are the size of infants. they both sleep with me and in 12 years I have yet to roll over and squish either one of them… and thats with TWO little guys in the bed with me at the same time.

    • Ashley

      I’m married to a Peruvian and currently live in Peru. I, being from the U.S., always heard that co-sleeping is bad. Here, the pressures that society puts on you are the opposite. My in-laws were shocked when I suggested that I would have my newborn baby sleep in a bassinet next to the bed. The way they do it here, is that the father sleeps on the couch or another bed for the first few weeks, allowing time for the mother to get used to sharing the bed with her baby. My baby is not born yet, but I’m thinking that co-sleeping will probably happen. I’m just still struggling to imagine how to sleep two adults and a baby safely on a double bed.

      • sherryO

        first – baby goes in the middle, so baby won’t roll off the bed (when old enough to roll). both parents WILL quickly adjust, as long as there is NO alcohol before bed. (DON’T risk THAT!)
        second – don’t imagine it, just DO IT. Both parents bond more with baby.
        third – best of luck! be BLESSED!