Bedsharing associated with longer breastfeeding, study warns of bedsharing risk

Frequent bedsharing between a mother and infant was associated with longer duration of breastfeeding, but researchers warned of the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) associated with bedsharing, in a study by Yi Huang, Ph.D., of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and colleagues.

The authors write that while some experts and professional societies advocate bedsharing to promote breastfeeding, others recommend against it to reduce the risk of SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a separate, but nearby, sleeping area for infants, according to the study background.

Researchers used data from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II, which enrolled and followed them through their infant's first year of life.

On average, the duration of breastfeeding was longest in the often bedsharing group, intermediate in the moderate bedsharing group and shortest in the rare and non-bedsharing group, according to the results. The results indicate that breastfeeding duration was longer among women who were better educated, white, had previously breastfed, planned to breastfeed and had not gone back to work in the first year after having a baby.

"This study provides strong evidence that bedsharing promotes breastfeeding by increasing duration, with the greatest effect found among frequent bedsharers. However, these benefits must be tempered by the known safety risks associated with infant-parent bedsharing," the study concludes.

More information: JAMA Pediatr. Published online September 23, 2013. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2632

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