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Are there benefits to co-sleeping?

At least for the first year of a baby's life, co-sleeping is NOT recommended. This is because of the risk of overheating or suffocation with blankets, pillows or soft bedding, and the chance that someone may roll over onto the baby or the baby may fall off the bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that infants should sleep in their own crib, bassinet or similar sleeping space. The sleep surface should be firm and free of pillows, blankets, stuffed animals or crib bumpers.

However, the AAP does recommend room-sharing–keeping the baby's crib in the same room where you sleep, close to your bed–or at least the first six months and ideally until the child's first birthday. There is evidence that room-sharing decreases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 
Scientific studies have demonstrated that bed sharing between baby and mother can alter sleep patterns of mother and baby. These studies have led to a speculation in the lay press that bed sharing or “co-sleeping” may also reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While bed sharing may have certain benefits, such as encouraging breastfeeding, there are no scientific studies demonstrating that bed sharing reduces SIDS. Conversely, there are studies suggesting that bed sharing, under certain conditions, may actually increase the risk of SIDS.
 
There is no basis at this time for encouraging bed sharing as a strategy to reduce SIDS risk. However, room-sharing -- keeping the baby alongside the adult bed in his own crib or bassinet -- can be protective against SIDS. Keeping the baby next to the adult bed in her own separate sleep space also provides greater proximity for parents seeking to facilitate breastfeeding and share closeness with their baby. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.