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Co-sleeping 'less harmful than thought'

A new study has cast doubt on the view that sharing a bed with a baby increases the chances of cot death.
Many mothers and fathers find that allowing their baby to sleep with them in their bed is the only thing that seems to comfort them when they are crying at night.

But parents have been put off this technique of putting a baby to sleep due to an apparent link with cot death.

However, the new British study, which is to be presented to a conference of the charity Unicef in Glasgow this week, suggests that other factors bear a stronger link to cot death and that once these factors are stripped away, the act of sharing a bed itself presents no increased risk to the baby.

The study found that sharing a bed with a baby is no more dangerous than putting them in a cot provided that the parents do not drink, smoke or take drugs, that the bedding is not heavy and does not contain adult pillows, that the mattress is not soft and that the parents are not "excessively tired".

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, said: "We are really pleased to see that evidence about the safety of co-sleeping is building, because we know it improves breastfeeding rates.

"We also know a lot of parents prefer to do it but feel guilty because they are unsure about the risks."

Nevertheless, the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths advised that further research was needed and stood by their guidelines that the safest place for a baby under six months to sleep is a cot in the same room as their parents.

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This is my third baby and I find sharing my bed with my baby easier and it also helps me to bond more with my baby. I always start getting them use to their cot at around 5-6mths, and I never have a problem,so fingers cross my little lady follows suit when its her time.
by lattybee 30th Nov 2010, 8:51am
I am a first time mother and am finding the do's & don't (s) very confusing - i found that going with my instincts worked best and althougth it has taken the best part of 8 months to get my daughter to settle through most of the night in her own cot, my partner & i compromised with the bed sharing, and now allow her into our bed with us before work usually from 6am - 8am, this allows us to have cuddles etc and extra special time before the day begins. This seems to have worked well for us as now she knows that as long as she put's in a full night sleep she can cuddle in the morning when she wakes!
by Max1205 19th Nov 2009, 9:24am
I am a new first time mother. We had our newborn sleep in a large bassinet in a pram in our room for the first four months during the night. Though we were blessed with a little one that only woke once during the night we still kept her in our room. During the day she napped in her own room in her cot so she is familiar with the room, which will come in handy when she is a toddler and needs to be in her own bed. As Caitlins daddy works nights, and as she is now 7 months old I have had her sleeping in my queen bed. I so far have had no problems with me rolling on her, I do follow all the rules, I do not drink or smoke, nor do i take sleeping pills and there is no large doona on the bed, I adjust the temperature with our heating system and have a small thin waffle blanket that is breathable. There are no large toys or pillows near her and I have ensured that the edges of the bed are enclosed to prevent her from rolling out. I find that Caitlin is extremely settled after one bottle, and I hate to boast but she sleeps soundly from between 10pm to 8 am with me only waking her for one nappy change and a very sleepy feed in the early hours. I am often awoken in the morning to little giggles and tiny hands tickling my face. Sometimes its a foot in my back, but I love having her near me. Another tip is to try to sleep with your arms and head lower down the bed (place the baby higher in the bed) to ensure you do not accidently bring an elbow down on the babies body. (Almost did that one!) But like babies, each situation is individual. I must stress I have a very placid good baby and a very quiet night with not much to do so please take all the safety precautions into account... but it works for me and I dont feel the least bit guilty!
by Masterninja 8th Dec 2008, 8:35am