Bed-sharing carries risks, even if the mom is breastfeeding.
A study of more than 2,000 breastfeeding moms revealed that 72% of those who nursed in bed fell sound asleep with their babies. And, 44% fell asleep while nursing on a sofa or recliner.
Researchers from New Zealand found that breastfeeding moms who bed-share frequently pulled the covers over their babies nose (on average 1 hour/night) and often put their babies in an unsafe position (like the side or stomach), on average 6 hours/night.
A large SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death) research project found 64% of deaths among babies under 2 months of age occurred in a parent’s bed.
The risk was confirmed by British researchers analyzing almost 1500 infant sleep deaths. Bed-sharing increased the risk of SUID 500% for infants under 3 months of age, even if the parents didn’t smoke, drink, or have other risk factors.
Mothers are often exhausted from months of sleep deprivation. On average, new moms get 6-6.5 hours of sleep/night…and those hours are broken into many slivers of inefficient, unrestful sleep. The U.S. Highway Safety Commission reported that just one night of 6-hour sleep almost doubles the risk of a serious car accident. Other studies show that sleeping 6 hours for 10 days in a row leads to a similar mental impairment to being drunk. And, that is when subjects get 6 hours of continual sleep.
Unfortunately, bed-sharing (or sofa sleeping) creates unwanted risks, even for babies who are breastfed. If you wouldn’t bed share when you’re under the influence, you shouldn’t do it when you’re tired.