Sleeping with children

sleeping-babyThis is a candid discussion regarding a recent review of co-sleeping and infants: “Why babies should never sleep alone: A review of the co-sleeping controversy in relation to SIDS, bedsharing and breast feeding”

This isn’t the usual hard-nose scientific discourse we have been prone to engage in haha, but a very interesting debate nonetheless, and I suppose one of many you must be interested in right now. I actually had a good discussion the other day with my pediatrics preceptor about this and also the use of pacifiers.

(http://www.cps.ca/documents/position/pacifiers – Can. Peds. Assoc. recommendations on pacifiers – seems that as with bed-sharing, there are pros and cons, and appropriate and inappropriate usage).

To be honest I never really thought too deeply about the topic before recommending against it with one my patients knowing that was the general consensus in Canada. My preceptor was quick to point out that 4/5 of the world practices bed-sharing. There were a few passages that summarized the article nicely for me:

‘The results from several bedsharing studies … are presented to illustrate that while bedsharing can never be publicly recommended due to its complexity, blanket recommendations against bedsharing and eliminating safety information for bedsharing families cannot be justified either. Indeed, forms of safe co-sleeping reduce the risks of SIDS among some infants, in some cultural groups.’

‘The findings suggest that it is not bedsharing per se that is hazardous but the particular circumstances in which bedsharing occurs.’

‘Additional adverse risk ‘factors’ associated with bedsharing in high-risk populations are maternal smoking, infants placed to sleep on pillows or under duvets, with other children and co-sleeping with infants on sofas, waterbeds or couches. Bedsharing when the infant sleeps with an adult other than the mother, maternal exhaustion, alcohol or drug use, or leaving infants unattended on an adult bed also increase SIDS risks and/or fatal accidents.’

I can appreciate the potential physiologic advantages to bed-sharing, but I don’t feel that they’re important enough developmentally to advise bed-sharing to all. However, I definitely don’t think it should be taboo. Families should make their own decisions about the practice and be armed with safety measures if they do decide to bed-share and not feel any guilt if they don’t.

In short, try not to crush your baby.

A conversation between NJCB and @eeo361

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