The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has taken a strong stance against any form of co-sleeping or bed sharing with infants. Most medical authorities warn against a child under one or even two years sharing a bed with a parent or sibling. In 2014 the AAP reinforced this opinion by highlighting the risk of sharing a family bed with respect to suffocation and strangulation, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
Essentially, parents are being told that co-sleeping is a cause of unexpected infant death. But some experts are beginning to question the basis of expert advice to separate children from parents and siblings. Even studies that purport to show a link between bed sharing and infant death are seen by some scientists as flawed.
Data is sometimes skewed or incomplete. Parents are not always asked about sleeping arrangements and since many are afraid to talk openly about co-sleeping, they may not reveal that they are bed sharing with a baby. And when a child is found dead where she had been asleep with a parent, the situation is determined to be a case of co-sleeping – even if the parent had simply fallen asleep in a chair during feeding time.
Co-sleeping is the norm in many other cultures, and was also very common in the West until about the 19th century. Between the rise of an affluent middle class and the advent of parenting experts who prescribe solitary sleeping and sleep training for infants, it's become the norm to kick baby out of the parents' bed and just expect him to cry it out if he can't get to sleep on his own. The AAP is even recommending the use of a pacifier at bedtime , despite the fact that pacifiers and bottles are recognized as interfering with a mother's efforts to breastfeed.
Is co-sleeping the norm in your culture? Have you ever shared a bed with a parent, child, or sibling? Have your say in the bed sharing poll !
This is my Parenting entry for Dawnwriter 's A-W Category Challenge . This 18th post means I am finally starting to catch up! I am now halfway there!
Image credit: Safe Sleep for Babies campaign poster by US CPSC/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Image Credit » https://www.flickr.com/photos/uscpsc/13783734993/