Is bed-sharing safe for a breastfeeding baby?

Bed-sharing carries risks, even if the mom is breastfeeding.

A study of more than 2,000 breastfeeding moms revealed that 72% of those who nursed in bed fell sound asleep with their babies. And, 44% fell asleep while nursing on a sofa or recliner.

Researchers from New Zealand found that breastfeeding moms who bed-share frequently pulled the covers over their babies nose (on average 1 hour/night) and often put their babies in an unsafe position (like the side or stomach), on average 6 hours/night.

A large SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death) research project found 64% of deaths among babies under 2 months of age occurred in a parent’s bed.

The risk was confirmed by British researchers analyzing almost 1500 infant sleep deaths. Bed-sharing increased the risk of SUID 500% for infants under 3 months of age, even if the parents didn’t smoke, drink, or have other risk factors.

Mothers are often exhausted from months of sleep deprivation. On average, new moms get 6-6.5 hours of sleep/night…and those hours are broken into many slivers of inefficient, unrestful sleep. The U.S. Highway Safety Commission reported that just one night of 6-hour sleep almost doubles the risk of a serious car accident. Other studies show that sleeping 6 hours for 10 days in a row leads to a similar mental impairment to being drunk. And, that is when subjects get 6 hours of continual sleep.

Unfortunately, bed-sharing (or sofa sleeping) creates unwanted risks, even for babies who are breastfed. If you wouldn’t bed share when you’re under the influence, you shouldn’t do it when you’re tired.




Happiest Baby does not provide medical advice. Please seek the advice of your
healthcare provider if you have questions regarding a medical issue.

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 1 found this helpful
Have more questions? Submit a request