Sleeping With The Parents: Infants
During the first year of life, it can be harmful to sleep with your baby. If the adult mattress is soft, the infant can suffocate. In fact, the SIDS rate is 20 times higher sleeping in an adult bed compared to a crib. In addition, there are about 100 deaths per year in our country from parent overlay leading to suffocation. The risk is highest if one of the parents has a deep sleep disorder or drinks excessively.
In addition, consider the following:
- First: Your child does not need this arrangement to be secure and happy.
- Second: This is not quality time. If your child is asleep it is neutral time and if your child is keeping you awake, it is aggravating time. So there is really no quality time here.
- Third: Over 50% of children who sleep with parents resist bedtime and awaken several times at night. So most parents who sleep with kids do not get a good night's sleep.
In general, we don't recommend bed sharing. Your child can do fine either way, but most parents sleep badly. Let's turn to preventing it:
- First: Place your child in the crib drowsy but awake. In this way he will learn to put himself back to sleep following normal awakenings during the night.
- Second: Make middle of the night feedings brief and boring. This is hard to do if you are sleeping with your child.
- Third: Put your child in his own room by 3 or 4 months of age. Have a rule that he does not leave the crib at night, and after age 2, that he does not leave his bedroom. Most children in our country follow these guidelines and do just fine.
If you have other questions about sleep problems, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 7/1/2005
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.