I don’t often discuss co-sleeping; I consider it a topic best left for individual families to decide. For many who breastfeed, co-sleeping is the easiest way to get some rest, accomplish nighttime feedings with a minimum of fuss, and help baby feel comforted and loved. But for those who are deciding whether or not to co-sleep, I do feel that it’s important to have all the information to hand.
A new study, recently published in BMJ Open with lead authors from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, is the largest in history to be undertaken regarding this issue. The research team pored through individual records in 1,472 cases of SIDS and 4,679 control cases in a meta-analysis of five major studies. For breastfed babies under three months, deaths increased with bed sharing, even without the existence of usual complicating factors. Room sharing, in which a baby slept in a cot in the parents’ bedroom, was used as a control measure against co-sleeping instances of SIDS.
According to the research, 81 percent of cot deaths could be prevented in babies under three months if they don’t sleep in the same bed with their parents. That risk decreases as babies age, and the peak period for SIDS cases in co-sleeping instances was between 7 and 10 weeks of age. The authors recommend that babies be brought into bed for comfort and feeding if desired at night, but placed into a cot beside the parents’ bed to sleep in order to protect them from smothering or crushing complications once parents fall asleep.
So what do you think? Would the most recent study change your thoughts on co-sleeping?