Co-Sleeping: Is it Right for You?

Filed under: Feeding & Sleeping

Co-sleeping occurs when parents and children share the same bed. This has become popular among parents who practice attachment parenting, a parenting style advocated by William Sears, M.D.

Opponents of co-sleeping say the practice interferes with parents' intimate relationships and delays a child's ability to sleep alone. Additionally, some cite a 2003 study published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that showed that "the risk of suffocation was approximately 40 times higher for infants in adult beds compared to those in cribs."

The same AAP study showed that the increase remained high even when overlying deaths -- those that occur when parents fall asleep on top of or roll over their children while sleeping -- are discounted.
Recommendations now state that adults should never co-sleep with their children.

Some, like Dr. Sears, feel those recommendations go too far.

According to, those who should not sleep with infants include other children and parents who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Both of these groups might not be aware of the baby. Parents who smoke should avoid sleeping with their children because there is an increased likelihood that the children might die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Adults also need to realize that their beds can pose hazards for children. Infants can suffocate when they get trapped or wedged between a mattress and headboard, wall or other object. Strangulation in a bed frame is also possible.

, three-sided bassinets that attach to adult beds, are believed to be a safer alternative for parents who wish to sleep with their baby but are worried about the child's health and safety.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.