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.

galwaygirl Wed 22-May-13 21:26:03

Just on the EBF thing, if you FF you don't necessarily sleep more heavily or for longer. I am the lightest sleeper ever and DD was FF'd and slept worse herself than the BF babies in our group and I would wake at the slightest snuffle from her and still do two years on!

eagerbeagle Tue 21-May-13 19:20:44

I think it's also useful to read UNICEF's analysis which identifies some significant flaws in today's study.

Helsbelscm Tue 21-May-13 19:06:02

Picked up this thread with interest as saw this article on the news today. I am currently bedsharing with my DD now 5 but have been sharing for a while. Of my current new mum friends i don't think i know anyone who is managing to follow every aspect of the SIDs prevention guidance to the letter as their babies won't sleep if they do! My take on it would be that we should have all the information & be aware of the guidance but everyone needs to weigh up their own personal circumstances. SIDs is thankfully not common & if there is a very real & present danger you might crash your car due to exhaustion then maybe you do what you need to in order to sleep. I don't think people should discount this paper, it has shortcomings but then so do most, but having seen it if I have another baby who wants to spend all night at the mummy snack bar & hates sleep like this one does I would make the same decisions again.

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 21-May-13 17:26:19

Twas 15% of their data had not discounted those using drugs/taking alcohol.

LikeCandy Tue 21-May-13 15:53:53

Also TwasBrillig they didn't consider exclusive breast feeding, only partial breast feeding (ie may not exclude those who FF at night from the breastfeeding group)

mrscog Tue 21-May-13 15:20:24

Only partially, they haven't controlled for whether the baby is between both parents or just by the mother and whether there are duvets/pillows present.

TwasBrillig Tue 21-May-13 13:04:12

This study has controlled for safe sleeping though hasn't it? They're looking at those not drinking, smoking, taking drugs and breastfeeding.

mrscog Tue 21-May-13 12:50:28

Poppadompreach no, of course not but I was feeding DS and only had 1 hand and it was the first article I could find to point out the flaws in this lastest BMJ study, which are namely that they didn't control for people following safe co-sleeping guidelines, which are hugely important. The ISIS response would have much better scientific consideration.

imaginethat Tue 21-May-13 11:18:12

The data is very old.

When I had dd 10yrs ago, I had her in my bed against health professional advice. When I had 2nd child, the advice has changed and the hospital staff actively encouraged bed sharing. But soon after, a newborn died while co-sleeping in the mother's hospital bed so the advice changed again.

On the whole there is a link between infant suffocation while co-sleeping with a parent who has consumed alcohol or drugs including some prescription meds. Pillows and duvets can be easily flicked over their heads, too.

When i think back, I was pretty sure my babies were safe in my bed but possibly we were just lucky.

mrsmartin1984 Tue 21-May-13 11:10:29

I co sleep with my 3 1/2 month old. Started when she was a 7 weeks old and we went from having no sleep and being quite hysterical because of the lack of sleep and worrying about my husband driving to work with no sleep. Now I sleep well and so does my baby. I wake when she stirs and can feed her calmly. When she was in her moses basket I wouldn't wake until she was screaming and then she was a nightmare to latch on. I have been arguing with people ever since that I am doing the right thing by her.

I EBF, don't smoke, drink, and I never use my duvet above my waist. Does this just give you another thing to feel guilty of. My doctor, HV and the breast feeding network all recommended me to co sleep.

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 21-May-13 11:07:55

Excellent link ooovar. Thank you!!!

LikeCandy Tue 21-May-13 11:05:06

ooirvaar thanks so much for that fantastic link!

PaleHousewifeOfCumbriaCounty Tue 21-May-13 10:02:14

I honestly think its all about the breastfeeding. It just stops you sleeping in that sparked out way, you are somehow always aware of the baby there? Plus realistically you back awake every few hours to feed again and reassess your sleeping, covers, positiions etc. i had a basket hater so we just set up a safe cosleep, did it for six months while baby was EBF. When he went off the bewb we had a bit of a battle with the cot but he sleeps in there now. Personally i am sleeping different now hes off the bewb and to co sleep does not feel as natural or safe at all.

ooievaar Tue 21-May-13 09:58:18

To be honest I'm sceptical about all BBC-reported / headline stories based on press releases after seeing the mess made of the Weinraub et al. longitudinal sleep study at the end of last year (turning an analysis of normal waking patterns into an admonition to let babies cry it out - at an unspecified age - based on an interview given with one of the authors and dressed up as the 'results' of the study, which were none of the sort. And yes, I did read the whole study).

So for those, like me, who co-sleep (planned, if not full-time), having taken steps to minimise all risk factors, here's a measured scientific response to the Carpenter et al. study which basically says they've got the wrong end of the stick, yet again... Evolutionary parenting

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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