I am truly frustrated at how the AAP over-simplifies the act of bed sharing. They dumb it down to the point of treating everyone as ignorant and not capable of correctly following instructions. If you are wondering whether it is bad to bed share with baby, the answer is absolutely not. However, if you don’t follow safe sleep practices it will put your baby at risk.
Bed sharing CAN be safe if you follow safe bed sharing protocols. Baby’s who bed share are more likely to breastfeed for a longer period of their life. Breastfeeding keeps them safe from infections and disease otherwise harmful to little ones.
==>more about benefits of breastfeeding<==
So if bed sharing can be safe if done correctly, and it INCREASES the amount of breastfeeding a baby is exposed to, why is the United States so opposed to this common practice around the world?
The reason in my opinion is that the AAP doesn’t believe the majority of people in the United States are capable of following safe bed sharing practices. There is also not enough of a push against their recommendations to take the time and educate families appropriately.
This is just a matter of time.
AAP Strongly Recommend Against Bed Sharing:
(from AAP’s website:)
Room share without bed sharing
- Infants should sleep in the parents’ room, close to the parents’ bed but on a separate surface (room sharing). The infant’s crib, portable crib, play yard or bassinet should be placed in the parent’s bedroom for at least 6 months but preferably a year.
- Even though it is not recommended that infants sleep on the same surface as the parents, there are times when parents may fall asleep while feeding their infant. Evidence suggests that it is less hazardous to fall asleep with the infant in the adult bed than on a sofa or armchair, should the parent fall asleep.
- Because there is evidence that the risk of bed sharing is higher with longer duration, if the parent falls asleep while feeding the infant in bed, the infant should be placed back on a separate sleep surface as soon as the parent awakens.
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine supports bed-sharing
From ABM’s website:
“The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has released new evidence-based recommendations (2019) regarding the benefits and risks of bed sharing for mother-infant pairs who have initiated breastfeeding and are in home settings. The protocol emphasizes that all parents should be educated on safe bed sharing, with the understanding that bed sharing is very common, and when bed sharing is unplanned, it carries a higher risk than planned bed sharing.”
It is really important that when reading through articles about the risks of bed sharing, to notice if the studies distinguish between bed sharing done safely or in unsafe settings. (often this is not the case). Sleeping with your baby on a sofa, chair, with a parent under the influence or sleeping with a non-breastfeeding baby is not safe.
Read more helpful posts on bed sharing here:
- 5 Products You Need when Bed Sharing with Baby
- Bed Sharing Safety Checklist + FREE Printable!
- Beginner’s Guide to Bed Sharing with Baby
- Bed Sharing With Baby Safely – 7 Amazing Facts
Why Breastfeeding Is Important When Bed Sharing
Baby’s who are fed formula are at an increased risk of SIDS if bed sharing. Formula is heavier to digest, making them eat less often and fall into a deeper sleep. Formula lowers your infant’s arousal which makes them less sensitive to their surrounding when sleeping.
It is also proven that mothers and babies who are in a breastfeeding relationship sleep in a very specific way. Breastfed babies almost always sleep with their face towards mother’s breasts. They also have their head lower down (in line with breasts) which keeps them away from mother’s pillow.
Breastfeeding mothers sleep in a cocoon shape with their knees-up against the baby. Their arm is always above baby’s head. This creates a safe sleep space for that baby throughout the night.
I think this is where many families get hung up when considering if its bad bed sharing with baby. They are worried that once a baby gets used to being in bed with their parents, they will never want to sleep on their own.
There is also a belief that babies have to be taught to sleep independently. I am here to tell you I completely disagree. Sure you can teach a baby that sleeping alone is the only way to sleep. Yes, my 3 year old would never let me just leave him in bed when he is still awake.
One thing both these scenarios have in common? Neither will need us in bed with them when they go off to college. Am I willing to have my boy in bed with us up to then? my answer doesn’t matter because he will most likely be on his own way before.
Actually- we just bought our toddler a twin size bed for our new apartment we are moving into next month, so we will find out real soon if he can adjust to sleeping alone in it.
Are You Following The Safe Sleep 7?
Bed sharing has become so taboo in the United States and the problem is policy. A more open communication among professionals needs to happen so that we can have a real conversation of what actually is dangerous. If you are wondering if it’s bad to bed share, I guarantee you that there are millions of families who bed share.
If you learn what the risks are, and modify your own sleeping circumstances accordingly, you can bed share safely too. That is why I am sharing this really helpful instant download for safe bed sharing. Its the Safe Sleep 7 checklist created by the Le Leche League International!
Use this Checklist to follow the Safe Sleep 7 Guidelines set forth by La Leche League International.
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