Encourage breastfeeding with baby-parent bed sharing

Tuesday, December 07, 2010 by: Dr. Randall Neustaedter, OMD
Tags: breastfeeding, parents, health news

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
CDC issues flu vaccine apology: this year's vaccine doesn't work!
The five biggest lies about Ebola being pushed by government and mass media
Ultraviolet light robot kills Ebola in two minutes; why doesn't every hospital have one of these?
Tetanus vaccines found spiked with sterilization chemical to carry out race-based genocide against Africans
Biologist explains how marijuana causes tumor cells to commit suicide
Companies begin planting microchips under employees' skin
The best way to help your body protect itself against Ebola (or any virus or bacteria)
NJ cops bust teenagers shoveling snow without a permit
Russia throws down the gauntlet: energy supply to Europe cut off; petrodollar abandoned as currency war escalates
McDonald's in global profit free fall as people everywhere increasingly reject chemically-altered toxic fast food
W.H.O. contradicts CDC, admits Ebola can spread via coughing, sneezing and by touching contaminated surfaces
Top ten things you need to do NOW to protect yourself from an uncontrolled Ebola outbreak
Chemotherapy kills cancer patients faster than no treatment at all
FDA targets Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps for sharing health benefits of coconut oil
U2's Bono partners with Monsanto to destroy African agriculture with GMOs
Why flu shots are the greatest medical fraud in history
Governments seize colloidal silver being used to treat Ebola patients, says advocate
Flu vaccine kills 13 in Italy; death toll rises

(NaturalNews) It seems obvious that babies who sleep with their parents are likely to breastfeed more than babies who sleep in a separate room. They will probably nurse more often and nurse for a longer duration of their lives. A study published in the November 2010 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, has verified this assumption, showing that breastfeeding is more prevalent in families where babies share a bed with their parents (Blair, 2010).

Protective Effects

Breast milk confers many advantages compared to formula feeding including less infections, less allergies and asthma, and higher intelligence (Oddy, 2004). And the duration of breastfeeding is associated with higher intelligence and higher academic achievement in childhood (Horwood, 1998). This effect persists even into adulthood. A longer duration of breastfeeding is associated with higher intelligence during adult life (Mortensen, 2002).

Bed sharing (or cosleeping) itself is also beneficial to babies. The close contact of parents and their babies through the night is associated with less crying, fewer apnea spells, lower stress levels, and greater daily growth (Field, 1995). Bed sharing is also protective for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). A study in South Africa showed that bed sharing babies have higher survival rates than solitary sleeping babies (Kibel, 2000). In cultures where bed sharing is the norm (Japan, Hong Kong) SIDS rates are among the lowest in the world (Fukai, 2000; Lee, 1999).

The British Study

The study published in Pediatrics included 14,000 babies evaluated at five time points from birth to four years of age. This study found that the prevalence of breastfeeding was significantly higher for babies that shared a bed with their parents during the first 15 months after birth. The authors discovered that approximately one-third of English parents share beds with their infants or children on a regular basis: some just during the infancy period, some when the child is somewhat older, and six percent from birth until the child reaches school age (Blair, 2010).
The authors pose the question: "Do mothers share beds because they are breastfeeding or does bed sharing make breastfeeding more likely to be successful?" They acknowledge the benefits of breastfeeding and they suggest that bed sharing does make breastfeeding easier. They also recognize that eight out of eleven previous studies showed a positive association between breastfeeding and sharing the bed (Buswell, 2007).

Safety of Bed Sharing

Concerns have arisen about the possible hazards to babies who sleep in their parents' beds. Many pediatric professionals counsel parents to leave babies in their own rooms during the night. Others have protested this advice as unsafe, emphasizing that with proper safety precautions the parents' bed or an attached cosleeper is the ideal place for babies to sleep. The association between bed sharing and infant deaths occurs primarily when parents are unresponsive to their babies due to the use of alcohol, drugs, or sleeping medications. In normal situations parents who sleep with their babies are responsive to their baby's signals and attentive to their needs through the night. Simple precautions, such as using a mesh guardrail with a rolled up blanket in any crevices, using a firm mattress without fluffy bedding, and avoiding alcohol, smoking, drugs or sleep medications, will keep babies safe in their parents' beds.

Renowned anthropologist and infant sleep expert James McKenna PhD has eloquently shared his perspective on bed sharing. "When practiced safely, cosleeping with breastfeeding... represents a highly effective, adaptive, integrated childcare system that can enhance attachment, communication, nutrition, and infant immune efficiency thanks to the increased breastfeeding and the increased parental supervision and mutual affection that accompany this practice" (McKenna, 2002).


Blair PS, Heron J, Fleming PJ. Relationship Between Bed Sharing and Breastfeeding: Longitudinal, Population-Based Analysis. Pediatrics Vol. 126 No. 5 November 2010, pp. e1119-e1126 (doi:10.1542/peds.2010-1277).

Buswell SD and Spatz DL. Parent-Infant Co-sleeping and Its Relationship to Breastfeeding. Journal of Pediatric Health Care 2007; 21 (1): 22-28.

Field T, ed. Touch in Early Development. Mahway, New Jersey: Lawrence Earlbaum and Assoc., 1995.
Fukai S and Hiroshi F. 1999 Annual Report, Japan SIDS Family Association," Sixth SIDS International Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, 2000.

Horwood LJ, Fergusson DM. Breastfeeding and later cognitive and academic outcomes. Pediatrics 1998; 101:1-7.

Kibel MA and Davies MF. Should the Infant Sleep in Mother's Bed? Program and Abstracts, Sixth SIDS International Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, February 8-11, 2000.

Lee NP, et al., Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Hong Kong: Confirmation of Low Incidence, British Medical Journal 298 (1999): 72.

McKenna JJ. Breastfeeding and Bedsharing Still Useful (and Important) After All These Years. Mothering Magazine 2002; 114.

Mortensen EL, et al. The association between duration of breastfeeding and adult intelligence. JAMA 2002; 287:2365-71.

Oddy WH, et al. The relation of breastfeeding and body mass index to asthma and atopy in children: A prospective cohort study to age 6 years. American Journal Public Health 2004; 94(9):1531-7.

About the author

Dr. Randall Neustaedter, OMD, has practiced and taught holistic medicine for more than thirty years in the San Francisco Bay area, specializing in child health care. He is a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of Chinese medicine, author of The Holistic Baby Guide, Child Health Guide and The Vaccine Guide. Visit his website,, to register for a free newsletter with pediatric specialty articles and follow him on Facebook, username cureguide1 or Dr. Randall Neustaedter, OMD.

Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...


Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.