Michael Dawson, M.D.
While bed-sharing or co-sleeping is prevalent in some countries and cultures, bed-sharing remains relatively uncommon in the United States. Boys Town Pediatrics along with the American Academy of Pediatrics do not recommend bed-sharing due to safety risks associated with
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and sleep-related infant mortality.
During the first year of life, it can be harmful to sleep with your baby because bed-sharing can result in suffocation due to loose blankets, a soft mattress, rolling over your baby, and other factors. It is recommended that infants sleep on their backs, in their own cribs with firm mattresses, and without loose blankets or soft toys.
Bed-sharing with a toddler sometimes becomes a comforting or nurturing act for parents, however, many discover it can cause sleeping habits that are difficult to break. Bed-sharing with your toddler is not recommended because it hinders healthy sleep patterns. Studies have shown more than half of children who sleep with parents resist going to bed, awaken multiple times and are restless sleepers, resulting in both parties not getting adequate sleep.
Breaking the bed-sharing habit can be emotional for you and your toddler. Keep in mind that if you do not give in, eventually your toddler will learn to go to sleep on his own and everyone will finally get some much needed sleep!