Mother Infant Bedsharing FYIs

Researchers discuss effects of mother-infant bedsharing.

Recommendations by doctor groups to prevent bedsharing among moms as well as their infants are thought to lessen sleep-related infant deaths. But evidence implies the dangers of bedsharing have been overemphasized, guidance never to bedshare is unrealistic, and avoiding bedsharing may interfere with breastfeeding, based on an article in Breastfeeding Medicine, the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine released by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The post is accessible free on the Breastfeeding Medicine web site   until January 4, 2015.

In “Speaking Out on Safe Slumber: Signs-Based Baby Sleep Recommendations, Melissa Bartick, MD, MSC, Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School (Cambridge, MA), and Linda Smith, MPH, IBCLC, Boonshoft School of Medicine, Wright State University (Dayton, OH), discuss the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) recommendations against all bedsharing for slumber, the leading modifiable risk factors for preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), as well as the possibility of the AAP’s bedsharing recommendations to interfere together with the frequency, length, and exclusivity of breastfeeding.

“The options to feeding an infant in bed, like on a sofa, lounge chair, or rocking chair are much greater dangers for SIDS,” says Ruth Lawrence, MD, Editor in Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine. “Bed-sharing increases the risk of SIDS when the baby is bottle fed or the mother is overweight or impaired by smoking, alcohol, or illegal substances. These are correctable dangers of SIDS. Breastfeeding is protective, as well as the editors of Breastfeeding Medicine are delighted that the AAP Task Force on SIDS is firmly supporting breastfeeding.”