A Facebook reader writes after Thursday’s PediaBlog posts on infant bed sharing:
Ever hear of Dr. James Mackenna? Planned co-sleeping of nursing dyads in safe setups REDUCES SIDS risk.
If you don’t teach SAFE co-sleeping people will fall asleep with their babies in recliners or beds with gaps between mattress and frame and tragedies will keep happening. Co-sleeping CAN be safe and beneficial to the nursing relationship. But not everyone should do it.
“Safe” co-sleeping means parents NOT sleeping in the same bed/futon/couch/chair as an infant. Sharing a room with a young infant at night can be safe as long as the bed is not shared and the baby is sleeping on a firm mattress designed and approved for infants to sleep in. The AAP condones this (in fact, recommends it) as a way to decrease the risk of SIDS. I would guess that much of the world’s population safely shares rooms to sleep.
My personal and professional opinion is that physical separation at night (in separate bedrooms) as soon as parents are willing and able fosters better, independent sleep habits for babies and better sleep quality for parents.
Most parents want their babies to sleep (safely) through the night. Most would also like to sleep through the night uninterrupted themselves. A sleep-deprived parent is not necessarily an effective or safe parent.