BMJ article reassesses the link between bed sharing SIDS

(39 Posts)
LikeCandy Tue 21-May-13 06:30:04

"Sharing a bed with a newborn baby increases risk of sudden infant death syndrome five-fold, research claims" (full article here)

This seems to contraindicate previous thinking that bed sharing can be done safely if baby is full term, healthy and breast fed, and if Mum abstains from tobacco/alcohol/drugs and is not over tired.

I have to admit that after reading this I have put my 8w old PFB back in her (co sleeper) cot this morning.
I am in two minds however.
I love bed sharing (we've been doing it for a week or so now) she is EBF, I don't drink/smoke/take drugs.
I also don't use a duvet/ pillows, there is no way she can fall off the bed and no where for her to get stuck.
These points aren't addressed in the article.
A month isn't long to wait in the grand scheme of things (the study also found that there is no increased risk of SIDS when bed sharing with breast-fed infants over 3months when parents do not smoke, and whose mother does not take 2 or more units of alcohol or drugs and does not cosleep on a sofa)

I would be interested to hear if anyone else will be changing their sleeping habits taking this latest evidence into consideration.

Asparagui Tue 21-May-13 06:43:16

I just read this as I woke up next to my sleeping newborn. He won't go in his Moses Basket but sleeps like a dream next to me. I do use a duvet but a single one on me only and he sleeps the other side of the bed far from the duvet or pillows (the bed is super king).

I will try extra hard to put him in his basket tonight but he screams. Controlled crying a newborn is meant to be damaging too but I see no other way likely to get him to sleep in the basket so I feel a bit stuck between a rock and a hard place.

PostladyPat Tue 21-May-13 06:43:56

I am a little confused now. I co-slept from day 1 as I just found it more natural and it helped with BF. We had a co-sleeper cot which he barely slept in. Am 2 months pregnant now and I am considering what I should do...I love co-sleeping though and always did it safely (to the point I kicked DH out!)

TwasBrillig Tue 21-May-13 06:45:24

I was really surprised as it contradicts previous evidence but is what was always said. It was just thought that if you did it 'safely' it didn't apply and now they don't think that's true.

I loved co sleeping with my first. Proper under arm, attached to boob type. Second one I used to feed and then roll into the co sleeper so I think I'd probably do that again.

Odd though. Those pro co sleeping used to talk of the fourth trimester and mums body helping regulate temperature. I guess at least if you've got the co sleeper you are 'there'. I was very aware that a small baby can't roll away and was more comfortable with it when they were sturdier.

I'll be following the case. Its quite huge news really.

mrscog Tue 21-May-13 06:48:59

Alas this study is still flawed.... analysis

Sunnysummer Tue 21-May-13 06:58:42

I'd like to see if they did anything to break out planned and organised cosleeping vs exhausted parents just tucking the baby into their bed... There also didn't seem to be a breakout tir alcohol (though there was for smoking).

However until they share more this makes me a bit nervous about even very careful sharing with our bassinet-hating baby.hmm

I posted about this in Chat - didn't know there was a Sleep section.

My reading of it is that it's one of the best analyses so far (although not perfect!), and for me, is making me review my thoughts on co-sleeping.

It's just so difficult to do without risk figures for every factor, and combination of factors.

galwaygirl Tue 21-May-13 07:23:02

I don't know - I had DD in the UK and felt so bad about co-sleeping but it was the only thing that worked. Am now in Sweden and expecting DC2 in 3 weeks and the leaflets I've got here from the MW recommend co-sleeping. And as far as I know there's a lower SIDs rate here?
They also all seem to use pillows and cot bumpers etc.

PoppadomPreach Tue 21-May-13 07:28:30

mrscog - are you seriously asking people to favour a report from the "Red Wine and Apple Sauce" website (a random "mummy-blog") over a peer reviewed journal from the BMJ??

I personally would pay a lot of attention to the 5x greater risk of death from co-sleeping. There are some however, who just can never be told, and will always feel they know better.

Tincletoes Tue 21-May-13 07:41:39

It's interesting and obviously needs to be taken seriously. As someone who did cosleep though, I think it's a shame they still don't seem to have realised there are two sorts of cosleeper - those who plan to do it and take the appropriate precautions etc, and then those where it has just "happened" - from the research article it looks as though they considered a cosleeper to be one where parents woke up with a baby next to them. So I wish they had considered a group of "planned" cosleepers.

The other thing I wish they'd considered is exclusively breastfed babies. They have counted a breastfed baby here as one who is partially breastfed. Again, I don't think that's "fair" as it's the constant waking up to feed that has stopped me (and the baby) going too deeply to sleep. In this study they would class a baby breastfed once in the morning in their "breastfed" group and that is a very different scenario.

The problem is as well, what do you do? The study says it doesn't want to stop cuddling and feeding in bed - but if you then fall asleep without planning things properly, isn't that more of a problem?

TheCountessOlenska Tue 21-May-13 07:51:30

I'm really gutted by this sad

Co-sleeping with my 9 week old and I feel soooo much better than with DD1 at this stage when I was sitting up every couple of hours to feed her then put her back in her cot (and repeat!). I'm not sleep deprived, I'm so happy and loving having a small baby again. Luckily he's only a few weeks off the three month mark as I don't think I can go back to getting "up" to feed and then re-settling. I will try however, as this has scared me sad

I was so sleep deprived by 6 months of 1 or 2 hourly feeding and resettling DD that I was feeding her before nap time, sitting on my bed and I fell asleep, she crawled off my lap and fell off the bed. I don't want to be in that state again.

gazzalw Tue 21-May-13 07:53:55

I am happy to accept the evidence but we (planned) co-slept with our DCs, DW's choice (she exclusively breastfed both), and we didn't ever have any issues. In fact it was the only way our two would settle to sleep when they were very young babies - both disliked the moses basket intensely. I seem to recall the HV recommending it for DS who was very restless

The fashion for co-sleeping seems to ebb and flow....As I'm sure the research findings will too, depending upon what they set out to prove....

I can though that if it's accidental rather than planned it would be more of a risk issue. DW reckoned that she was never very deeply asleep when the children were in bed with us and that sub-consciously she was always on 'high alert' to them....

squidgeberry Tue 21-May-13 07:54:41

Here is a response from ISIS www.dur.ac.uk/resources/isis.online/statements/Carpenteretal2013ISIScommentary1.2.pdf

Personally this won't stop me from bed sharing safely as I did with my first as for me, the benefits outweigh the very small risk.

Tincletoes Tue 21-May-13 07:57:38

Hopefully this is a bit more of a scientific response which may give comfort to some people on this thread who do choose to cosleep:

www.isisonline.org.uk/news/

Scroll down to the link to their response. It boils down to what they believe is an additional risk of 1 in 10,000 for breastfeeding non smoking parents even if everything in this research is true (which they seem sceptical of).

Now for some people any additional risk is too much risk and I totally get that. But I also think we all take risks and its important we have all the facts at our disposal.

OrlaKiely Tue 21-May-13 07:59:34

What about the previous evidence from Japan etc where co sleeping is the norm

I think I need to know what their stats are and if there's anything we're doing differently.

I have to say I'm relieved to have a 4mo baby who co sleeps, now, as I expect people having babies from now on will be told NOT to co sleep and for us it was that or no sleep.
I foresee a massive rise in the popularity of the co sleeping cot.

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 21-May-13 08:01:38

Interesting study - didn't look at whether the parents were following the safety factors though eg did they have duvets and pillows near baby? Also didn't look at level of risk where mum was in bed on her own with baby, rather than oh being there as well. In three of the nineteen studies they didn't weed out alcohol or drugs involvement.

For me the jury is still out.

DeputyDeputyChiefOfStaff Tue 21-May-13 08:08:56

Thank you for the Isis link, squidgeberry. The table on page 2 is a real eye-opener - the combined risks of formula feeding and both parents smoking seems to be huge, yet it's bed-sharing while bf that the researchers have highlighted confused

Like other posters I bf and bed-shared with mine, and I don't think I could have continued to bf without the bed sharing.

DeputyDeputyChiefOfStaff Tue 21-May-13 08:10:59

Sorry, the last line of that table included alcohol use, not just ff and smoking.

GibberTheMonkey Tue 21-May-13 08:16:49

I'm not having any more bit if I did I would co sleep again
When I compare my nights with dc1 where I didn't cosleep with dc4 when I did I definitely think cosleeping was
safer.
With dc1 there was the constant risk I would fall asleep on the sofa, he fed constantly and refused to sleep in a cot. I was an exhausted mess who used to bounce off the walls and fell down the stairs a couple of times. I ended up with pnd.
With dc4 I coslept in a king sized double in the spare room. I had a duvet on my side, he was in a grobag. I didn't have to get up to feed him and so got plenty of sleep. There was no accidentally falling asleep in dangerous situations, I felt human, he was a happier baby and my other three children didn't have the impact of an exhausted mummy caring for them. I actually look back on those days with fondness

Velve Tue 21-May-13 08:23:49

I think, despite these findings, safe co-sleeping will still be the best answer to those with babies who just won't sleep.
Obviously people will decide for themselves whether the risks are worth it but for me personally the risk of something happening to the baby was greater when no one had had any sleep.
I was in a complete daze until I started co-sleeping with my LO, who at 8 months, still won't sleep well.

ChunkyPickle Tue 21-May-13 08:26:50

Read the tables too - the risk is still unbelievably low - you're not saying that it's a 10% up to a 50% risk, you're saying it's a 0.08% risk up to 0.23%.

I had a side sleeper (from birth he could jackknife over!) and I found the little section that sleep position affects the risk of babies in cots, but not babys in parents bed was an interesting aside!

LikeCandy Tue 21-May-13 08:36:43

Ita great to read all of your responses - it's an emotive topic!
I am going to take today to read all the research and make a decision.
Thanks to those who posted the ISIS article, very interesting.

Up until I read the BMJ piece I believe what I was doing was best for us, I think she and I benefit from it greatly, the reduction in night time crying was significant and she feeds longer at night. We were both sleeping better too. Is this enough of a benefit for me to risk the increased risk (perceived to be an increase of 1 in 10,000) - that's a tough question. In going to involve DH in this too because even though I 'do nights' with baby I think he should have an opinion on how it is done as it could directly impact on her safety.

Midori1999 Tue 21-May-13 09:32:04

It seems that this 'new' study (which is based on old data) yet again, doesn't seperate planned, safe bed sharing from unplanned and therefore possibly unsafe bed sharing. It doesn't mention the sleeping position of the infant in relation to the parents, eg. We're they between the parents (which lots of people do because they believe it's safer) or next to the Mother only?

I don't really think it offers anything new at all and appears to yet again demonise bed sharing and rather oddly, singles out breastfeeding when that reduces the risk of SIDS in all sleep situations.

It wont be affecting my decision to bed share.

OrlaKiely Tue 21-May-13 09:43:38

long ago I read something about babies regulating their breathing when sleeping with an adult - making it less likely they would have apnoeic episodes.

I wish I knew where to find that data.

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 21-May-13 09:56:12

3/19 studies is approx 16% of their data didn't separate out tobacco or alcohol use.

I'm disregarding this, myself.

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