One Expert Says Co-Sleeping Not A Risk Factor For SIDS
After four babies, I am what you would call a reluctant co-sleeper.
I have never really liked bed sharing with my babies. I've found that both the baby and I would usually sleep much better once the baby was out of our bed. For some reason, I can't seem to fall into a true sleep when I know the baby is in the bed, and I end up doing an awkward balancing act on the edge of my bed out of fear of rolling over and crushing the baby.
I knew the supposed risks of co-sleeping as a factor in SIDS deaths, but I've never been one to be very anti co-sleeping either. I prescribe more to the very scientific parenting theories of 1) do what works for you and 2) sleep is king, so in my mind, if co-sleeping is the only way that anyone can get rest, so be it.
But now, for the first time in seven years of parenting, I totally get why some parents bed share. I have a daughter who just 100% refuses to sleep at night. Like, ever. She wakes up the second she is placed in a crib or playpen of any kind, and the only way I can get to sleep is in our bed. She wakes up so often (like 7-8 times a night) that I finally got desperate and simply started sleeping with her next to me. It was the only way I could function — to be able to half-sleep while I fed her.
It wasn't ideal, but I had officially become a bed sharing co-sleeper.
Of course, my initial fears right away about our new arrangement were about the risk of SIDS. Many leading parental governing agencies, like the American Academy of Pediatrics, list co-sleeping as a major risk factor of SIDS, so I worried about possibly putting my baby at risk.
The original president of the SIDS foundation, Dr. Abraham B. Bergman, however, is now saying that sharing a bed may not be the danger we have all been taught it is.
In his op-ed for Pediatrics, he says that “evidence linking bed sharing per se to the increased risk for infant death is lacking.” He also notes that, despite warnings, bed sharing and co-sleeping are actually on the rise in America, especially among black families. So instead of whisking the issue under the rug or shaking a warning finger at parents who do it, we need more studies that can tell us definitively if bed sharing is, in fact, dangerous.
What do you think? Do you think more studies are needed on co-sleeping?