For most of human history, babies have slept next to their parents because it has been the practical thing to do for warmth and physical safety.  Sharing sleep with your baby, for all or part of the night, can make both breastfeeding and parenting easier.  As the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding states: “Once you can feed the baby while comfortably stretched out, you’ve eliminated much of the work of mothering for about eight of the twenty-four hours in a day.” –LLL’s Safe Sleep Tear-Off Sheet

Families who wish to bed share can choose to do so in a safely.  There is currently no evidence of risk bedsharing with breastfed babies sleeping with a sober, non-smoking mother on a safe sleep surface.

I would encourage you all to watch theis great new video from Fox6 in Milwaukee:  Is sharing a bed with your infant right or wrong?

Bedsharing is not for all families.  Some conditions that make bedsharing risky include formula feeding, a mother under the influence of drugs or alcohol, mothers who smoke (even if it’s only when the baby’s not around), other people in the bed, pets in the bed, and unsafe sleeping surfaces, including waterbeds and soft surfaces and heavy blankets and pillows near the baby.

For some fascinating in-depth reading about bedsharing, I would encourage you to look around the website of anthropologist James McKenna’s Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab.

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