New recommendations in bedsharing debate

April 29, 2013, Murdoch University
New recommendations in bedsharing debate

Researchers from Murdoch University's School of Health Professions are urging health organisations to reconsider their attitudes to mothers and babies bedsharing.

Associate Professor Catherine Fetherston said Australian and overseas agencies' warnings against bedsharing were not well supported by evidence and did not meet the needs of mothers and babies.

"Current policies are focussed on risk elimination – 'do not sleep with your baby, because they might die' – when really there is no research that shows an inherent risk for bedsharing and (SIDS)," Professor Fetherston said.

"What we should be focusing on is minimising the known risks associated with SIDS and bedsharing, such as parents who smoke or are affected by alcohol and drugs."

She said a recent Alaskan study found that 99 per cent of bedsharing deaths involved either maternal smoking or sleeping with someone affected by substances.

Professor Fetherston said another critical risk factor was unsuitable environments, which could involve too much soft bedding, sleeping with siblings or pets and sofa-sleeping.

"Often when researchers look at bedsharing, they include sofa-sharing or armchair-sharing, which have been shown to be very dangerous, with a number of associated deaths," she said.

"In fact, when you remove deaths associated with sofa-sharing from the analysis, the rate of bedsharing deaths is lower than the rate found in babies sleeping by themselves in cots."

She added that more could be done by agencies to highlight breastfeeding's role in protecting against SIDS, saying who bedshared benefited physiologically, with more stable temperatures and , better and fewer pauses in breathing.

"While we accept the need for preventative strategies to reduce sleep-related , we believe health agencies should shift from absolute messages discouraging bedsharing to messages that address known .

"This more ethical approach will provide parents with information that minimises the risk for SIDS and still allows them to bedshare if they wish to."

'Analysis of the ethical issues in the breastfeeding and bedsharing debate' has been published in Breastfeeding Review.

Explore further: UQ researchers reject statement that co-sleeping is dangerous

More information: search.informit.com.au/browseJ … ELHEA;issn=0729-2759

Related Stories

UQ researchers reject statement that co-sleeping is dangerous

July 10, 2012
Researchers from UQ's Queensland Centre for Mothers & Babies are concerned about recent messages that parents should never sleep in the same bed as their babies.

Safe sleep environments key to preventing many infant deaths

April 19, 2012
Since 1992, the government's Back-to-Sleep Campaign has encouraged parents to place infants on their backs to sleep. Still, more than 4,500 infants die unexpectedly during sleep each year in the United States. Now, a University ...

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.