3 1 discussion co sleeping and sids

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Child-rearing presents as a set of culturally bound practices that can complement or conflict with research and health promotional practices. The practice of co-sleeping and the risk reduction practices for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) have become conflictual in recent years. In preparation for this discussion, review Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory and SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment for information on each side of this argument. You may locate resources on this topic on your own.

In your initial post for this discussion, formulate a research-supported position on co-sleeping regarding risks versus benefits. Should co-sleeping be discouraged? Are there specific developmental advantages supported by research for co-sleeping? What are the cultural considerations for co-sleeping practices? Are the risks for co-sleeping (either social, emotional, or health-related) significantly supported by research to take a position against co-sleeping? Consider what you would advise as a professional in the promotion of optimal development.

In response to your peers, utilize your own position to respectfully debate, question evidence, and encourage your peers to clarify their position.

To complete this assignment, review the Discussion Rubric document.



Risks versus benefits for co-sleeping

Co-sleeping can be dangerous if done improperly. If infants are placed on their stomachs, sleep with siblings, are bottle feed, or are in unsafe sleeping environments (sofas, chairs, gaps between furniture, etc.) their risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and SUID (Sudden Unknown Infant Death) increases, however according to professor McKenna eliminating these threats can make co-sleeping very beneficial. McKenna & Gettler (2010) discovered that co-sleeping can increase oxygen intake, nutritional intake by breastfeeding more often, body temperature, and arousal times subsequently minimizing deep sleeping, all of which can minimize the risk of SIDS and SUID. Co-sleeping creates an important bond between caregiver and child, resulting in decreased infant stress levels.

Should co-sleeping be discouraged?

It is very dangerous to discourage co-sleeping due its natural and often occurrence. 21% of all mothers and over 25% of Hispanic mothers reported bed-sharing either purposely for cultural, religious, or breastfeeding reasons or accidently due to falling asleep while breastfeeding. These numbers make it crucial to educate caregivers on how to keep their infant safe (Marinelli, Ball, McKenna, Blair, 2019). Regardless of professional recommendations caregivers will often do what they feel is right for their child, making educating and providing workable solutions to the problem more beneficial for reducing SIDS and SUID during co-sleeping (McKenna & Gettler, 2010).

Research supported developmental advantages for co-sleeping

Baddock et al. (2019) performed an analysis on 27 papers containing objective data and 32 papers containing subjective data to conclude that bed-sharing increased behavioral arousal, body temperature, breastfeeding duration, sleep architecture, cardiorespiratory control, and cortisol responses to stress. The advantages discussed above provide valuable benefits to infants which solitary sleeping infants may not receive. Lacking these benefits is one way in which SIDS and SUID is known to occur (McKenna & Gettler, 2010).

Cultural considerations for co-sleeping

Co-sleeping varies among cultures with bed-sharing numbers commonly higher in foreign countries. Some cultural considerations to take into consideration when discussing co-sleeping is environmental safety, sleep environment, bonding, and feeding convenience (Task Force on SIDS, 2011). Each variable can cause the likelihood and circumstance around co-sleeping to vary. A common occurrence in other countries is the need to protect ones infant from environmental threats making co-sleeping a practical and safer option.

Are the risks for co-sleeping significantly supported by research to take a position against co-sleeping?

The American Academy of Pediatrics provides evidence that indicates a 50% decrease in SIDS when caregivers choose to room-share without bed-share (Task Force on SIDS, 2011). The Task Force on SIDS (2011) analyzed 11 studies surrounding the connection of SIDS to bed-sharing and detected a 95% confidence interval. Based on these results the American Academy of Pediatrics has enough data to support a position against co-sleeping.

What would you advise as a professional in the promotion of optimal development?

As a profession in the promotion of optimal development I would encourage co-sleeping with the proper safety precautions in place however, if these precautions were not able to be implemented then separate surface co-sleeping is another beneficial option (McKenna & Gettler, 2010). Separate surface co-sleeping can provide the proximity element that is crucial for the infant’s development and comfort while also satisfying the caregivers needs as well.


Baddock, S. A., Purnell, M. T., Blair, P. S., Pease, A. A., Elder, D. E., & Galland, B. C. (2019). The Influence of Bed-sharing on Infant Physiology, Breastfeeding and Behavior: A Systematic Review. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 43, 106-117. htts://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1016/j.smrv.2018.10.007

Marinelli, K. A., Ball, H. L., McKenna, J. J., & Blair, P. S. (2019). An Integrated Analysis of Maternal-Infant Sleep, Breastfeeding, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Research Supporting a Balanced Discourse. Journal of Human Lactation, 35 (3), 510-520. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1177/089033441…

McKenna, J. & Gettler, L. (2010). Co-Sleeping, Breastfeeding and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. Retrieved from https://cosleeping.nd.edu/assets/33678/mckenna_gettlerangxp.pdf

The Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (2011). SIDS and Other Sleep Related Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. PEDIATRICS. Retrieved from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/5/e1341.full#sec-19


In your initial post for this discussion, formulate a research-supported position on co-sleeping regarding risks versus benefits. Should co-sleeping be discouraged? Are the risks for co-sleeping (either social, emotional, or health-related) significantly supported by research to take a position against co-sleeping?

After looking up several articles on the topic of co-sleeping, it has become apparent that no matter how much information one provides to a parent, the decision to co-sleep is completely up to them. There are also several forms of co-sleeping, some having advantages and disadvantages, whereas others only have disadvantages. According to McKenna (2019), co-sleeping can be broken down into different types: bed-sleeping, armchair-sleeping, couch-sleeping, and room-sharing. Both armchair sleeping and couch-sleeping should be avoided because they are associated with higher levels of SIDS. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is defined as “the unexplained death of a sleeping infant who suddenly stops breathing” and currently affects around “5,000 to 6,000 infants a year” (Shaffer & Kipp, 2014, p. 135-136). The main thing that parents need to remember, non-dependent on if they are choosing to share a room or a bed, is that the “infants should always sleep on their backs, on firm surfaces, on clean surfaces, in the absence of (secondhand) smoke, under light (comfortable) blanketing, and their heads should never be covered” (McKenna, 2019). Thus, the real debate is not whether or not co-sleeping should be discouraged. Instead, the debate should be centered around what form of co-sleeping the parents are interested in and the environment surrounding the infant (e.g., smoke vs non-smoke, clutter vs clean, etc.). Thus, I would not discourage co-sleeping, but instead provide more information to parents about co-sleeping. This has recently been done by the Bedtime Basics for Babies project that was created in order to “distribute cribs to high-risk families and to provide education about safe sleep and how to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths” (Hauck, Tanabe, McMurry, & Moon, 2014, p. 458). This project demonstrated how educating parents about safe sleeping for babies advanced the parents understanding of co-sleeping as well as breast feeding, and pacifier use after birth.

Are there specific developmental advantages supported by research for co-sleeping?

There have been developmental advantages supported by research regarding co-sleeping; however, there is still much debate about the reliability of the data. Taylor, Donovan, and Leavitt (2008) presented research that showed co-sleeping positively affected breast-feeding instances and a mother’s ability to breast feed; could be “protective against SIDS;” positively affects emotional stability of infant and could potentially lessen maternal depression; and co-sleeping could also be associated with higher intelligence functioning and lower association with personality disorders later in life (p. 79-80). Although this research is still being debated, it is interesting to see how much co-sleeping could affect the development of the infant even into adolescence.

What are the cultural considerations for co-sleeping practices?

Many cultures different in their opinions regarding bed-sharing or room-sharing. Hauck, Tanabe, McMurry and Moon (2014) found in a postnatal survey that “25% of white non-Hispanic parents, 41% of Black parents, 57% of White Hispanic parents, and 50% of other mothers bedshared” (p. 461). However, this data was taken from a relatively small study that only took place in three cities within the United States, so even though there were some racial differences between preference on bed-sharing, this does not truly show any cultural differences for co-sleeping practices.

McKenna (2019) noted in his video that co-sleeping practices mean different things to different cultures. He pointed out that in some cultures this means that the baby sleeps with the parent, in other cultures it means that the baby and the mother sleep in a hammock together, or in other cultures the baby is in a co-sleeping apparatus beside the bed, but not in the same bed as the mother (McKenna, 2019). Co-sleeping practices differ depending on the culture, and it is important to truly understand what kind of practice is being used in order to see the potential hazards for the child.

Consider what you would advise as a professional in the promotion of optimal development

As a professional, I would advise parents to do a lot of research on the advantages and disadvantages of co-sleeping; however, I would provide them with the resources so as to prevent them from using a poor resource (e.g., Wikipedia or blog). As a woman, I think that it is solely up to the parent how they choose to approach co-sleeping, but it is important for the parents to understand the different forms of co-sleeping, as well as the different effects it can pose on their child. I would also advise the parents to talk to their parents and their friends who have children about it to see what experiences they have had. However, if the parents were smokers, drank alcohol, or used different drugs or medications, I would definitely advise them to not co-sleep seeing as how that has been shown to be dangerous for the infant (Fleming & Blair, 2015; American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011). The best co-sleeping advice is to be well informed!


American Academy of Pediatrics. (2011). SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. Pediatrics, 128(5), 1030–1036. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-2285

Fleming, P. J., & Blair, P. S. (2015). Making informed choices on co-sleeping with your baby. British Medical Journal, 350. doi: 10.1136/bmj.h563

Hauck, F. R., Tanabe, K. O., Mcmurry, T., & Moon, R. Y. (2014). Evaluation of Bedtime Basics for Babies: A National Crib Distribution Program to Reduce the Risk of Sleep-Related Sudden Infant Deaths. Journal of Community Health, 40(3), 457–463. doi: 10.1007/s10900-014-9957-0

McKenna, J. (2019). Safe Cosleeping Guidelines. Retrieved from https://cosleeping.nd.edu/.

Shaffer, D.R., & Kipp, K. (2014). Developmental psychology: childhood and adolescence (9th ed.). Boston, MA, United States: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Taylor, N., Donovan, W., & Leavitt, L. (2008). Consistency in infant sleeping arrangements and mother–infant interaction. Infant Mental Health Journal, 29(2), 77–94. doi: 10.1002/imhj.20170


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