Study author Dr. Fern Hauck from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville said, 'My bottom line is that yes, we now see with more evidence that breastfeeding is supported by bed-sharing, however we don't recommend it, because the risk of SIDS and sudden death is still there.'
About 2,500 babies die from SIDS each year in the United States. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies sleep close to their parents such as in a crib or bassinet in their room, but not in the same bed.
Low breastfeeding rates are also a problem in the U.S. According to the CDC, one is six U.S. babies is breastfed exclusively for the first six months which is the age the World Health Organization recommends for exclusive breastfeeding.
1,800 mothers were surveyed 10 times during their infant's first year about whether and when they stopped breastfeeding. They were also asked seven times whether or not they were sharing a bed with their baby.
Approximately 42 percent of new mothers were bed-sharing at two-weeks of age and 27 percent were still doing so at one year.
The average time any amount of breastfeeding was stopped was about seven months. Breastfeeding exclusively on average lasted about 10 weeks.
The study showed that the mothers who bed-shared tended to breastfeed their child longer. More than half of the mothers who were bed-sharing were still breastfeeding at one year.
Pete Blair, who studies SIDS at the University of Bristol in the UK, said some hazards such as when parents recently drink alcohol, are smokers, or sleep with their infant on the sofa increase the risk of SIDS.
'The logical decision is to breastfeed and have the baby sleep in the same room with the parent - but on a safe sleep surface and NOT in the same bed, Weese-Mayer, a professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, added in an email.
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