Parents Should Sleep With Babies At Least 3 Years for Optimal Brain Development, Pediatrician Says

Babies who co-sleep in cribs have bigger brains and more secure attachment, neuroscientist says 

Like all mammals, humans have been sleeping with their babies for millions of years. Babies have an innate desire to stay in constant contact with their caregivers for survival.

In most of the world, it’s still the norm for children to sleep with their parents and/or grandparents all the way up until adolescence.

But in the Western world, parents are encouraged by doctors to let their babies “cry it out” in their cribs at as young as 2-months.

But Dr. Nils Bergman, a specialist in perinatal neuroscience and founder of the Kangaroo Mother Care movement, says being separated from their mothers all night is extremely stressful for babies and young children and stunts their brain development.

Stress and lack of sleep damages brain development

womb6Even after babies have “cried it out” and appear to be sleeping through the night, they are not getting restful sleep, which is essential for brain development.

Bergman monitored 16 infants while they slept on their mother’s chest and while they slept in a cot by her bed. Their heart rate and irregular breathing revealed they were in three times as much stress when they slept alone.

The study showed a 176 percent increase in autonomic activity and an 86 percent decrease in “quiet sleep” during maternal separation.

A baby is able to respond in a healthy way to short periods of stress, says Bergman’s website:

The stress can be quite severe, but if mother is there all the time to comfort and soothe, there is no harm to the baby’s brain. This is called “tolerable stress.”

Then there is “toxic stress.” High levels of stress hormones for long periods of time are toxic to the neurons that make the brain work. The stress hormone cortisol makes more neurons die off at a faster rate. This disrupts and disturbs developing pathways and circuits. With prolonged stress after birth, the brain is measurably smaller one year later.

The only difference between toxic and tolerable stress is the absence or presence of mother or father.

When babies are separated from their mothers for a noticeable period of time, they interpret it as a state of emergency, Bergman says. Their heart rate and blood pressure increases and they wave their arms and legs and cry to get their mom’s attention. This uses a lot of energy which the baby should be using to grow.

Babies separated by only one meter from their mothers, in a crib at the bottom of the bed, showed double the levels of cortisol. Stress hormones cause wear and tear over time, damaging cells and organs.

Insecure attachment and societal problems

“But more ominous is that the baby feels abandoned, and feels that he must learn to fend for himself,” Bergman says.  The baby’s brain wires the ‘avoid’ pathways as no one is meeting his needs.”

“If the baby’s protest signals are not heeded, the baby may go into an energy-conserving defense mode which lowers heart rate and temperature for prolonged survival,” Bergman’s wife Jill Bergman writes for an article published in Breastfeeding Today. “This state of ‘freeze’ may look like the baby is asleep, but recent neuroscience research has shown that baby can be firing avoidance pathways in the brain. A final stage of defense is called dissociation in which the baby essentially tunes out. The brain of the baby is wiring emotional pathways, adapting to cope with ‘a dangerous world, where nobody loves me.’”

A Psychology Today article argues that letting babies cry in cribs damages neuronal interconnections – or synapses – and makes them less intelligent, less heathy, more anxious, uncooperative and more alienated later in life.

The modern Western recommendations for sleep training, crying-it-out and self-soothing come from the also Western idea that children need to be taught independence. “But forcing independence on a baby leads to greater dependence,” says professor of psychology Darcia Narvaez.

In small-band hunter-gatherer societies, parents attended to every need of babies and young children immediately. As a result toddlers felt confident and competent enough to walk into the bush on their own, Narvaez pointed out.

She also pointed to a study of rats with high and low nurturing mothers – “There is a critical period for turning on genes that control anxiety for the rest of life. If for the first 10 days of life you have a low nurturing rat mother (the equivalent of the first 6 months of life in a human), the gene never gets turned on and the rat is anxious toward new situations for the rest of its life, unless drugs are administered to alleviate the anxiety.” 





102 responses to “Parents Should Sleep With Babies At Least 3 Years for Optimal Brain Development, Pediatrician Says”

  1. Beth Avatar

    Articles like this really annoy me. For a start there’s a big difference to having baby sleep in their cot and tending to their every whimper and letting them cry it out.
    As parents we have enough to worry about without articles like this scaring everybody. Especially when there’s articles saying that baby’s should and baby’s shouldn’t sleep alone all the time! No one can make up their mind.

    1. Stefan Avatar

      Bravo! Einstein:”Two things are infinite, universe and human stupidity, although I am not sure about the first one!”

    2. Ash Avatar

      Thank god you said it!! That’s exactly how I feel I’m so sick of all the shaming

      1. Jane Avatar

        Is that because your mother stress trained you in a cot away from her?

      2. Gina Avatar

        I don’t think shame comes into play here. The reader’s feelings are subjective. The article merely states the findings of some researchers. We should listen and consider every piece of research and engage with the contradictions, follow it, grow with it, and continue to do the best we can and cheer each other on. I read no shame in this.

        1. Ellen Avatar

          Research of only 16 subjects is not valid research – the finding is too small based on sample pool. Yes it is important for babies to be responded to every time however the measurement of cortisol once parents respond decreases. Bed sharing is not the only way to respond and I question the validity of this article.

          1. Jessieka Avatar

            I think you have your terms mixed up. The research is valid. It’s measuring what they intended to measure (I.e. using cortisol to measure stress in babies). I think you mean the confidence level.

      3. JJ Avatar

        Why do u take this as shaming instead of learning from the research and choosing to not co-sleep and being ok with ur choice?

      4. Amber Avatar

        if you feel shamed maybe it’s because you know you are doing something wrong

      5. Shirley Morris Avatar
        Shirley Morris

        It’s not shaming, it’s sharing real scientific information.

      6. gaya Avatar

        Its not shaming but sharing of facts from a research that was conducted. think with your brain rather than your heart

    3. corine Avatar

      This article is basically saying that no matter what, baby comes first. How is this article scaring anyone? There is nothing to be afraid from. This is the science & truth. Our entire existence is to reproduce & pass along our knowledge to the next generation. Other countries are still doing this, but we can’t seem to wrap our minds around it.

      1. Sandra Milo Avatar
        Sandra Milo

        Seems right to me since we have some of the highest rates of maladjustment and medicated children on earth.

      2. Lisa Avatar

        Well said, Corine!

      3. Pat Avatar

        We have maladjusted children BECAUSE we are giving them everything they want. Young people today lack the ability to take responsibility because they have been raised to believe there are no consequences for their actions, it has nothing to do with wether they slept with their minther or not,

        1. Fel Avatar

          Pat, if you’d every known a well-attached child from birth you’d have no doubts about what’s said in this article. I wouldn’t have believed it foci hadn’t seen it myself. Babies who’ve slept with mum and dad from birth grow into calm, happy, secure children and adults who are kind, hard-working, intelligent, insightful, responsible, confident and tuned into other people. It’s not giving children everything they want that causes “maladjusted” children but a lack of a strong emotional connection with their parents. There’s lots of research on this now because the advent of MRI technology has allowed us to look at the brain and how it develops.

        2. Jennihens Avatar

          You can not spoil a child less than 1 year . The first year is all about attachment. If their needs are met they move into the second year into more independence . That’s what is best for babies ! ( really the world)

      4. Lukas Avatar

        Short sighted self-interest seems to drive the “you’re shaming me!” crowd. Optimal parenting is quite simple really, you just have to realize that this tiny being needs a loving nurturing parent that will make him/her the priority and object of focus and attention for the 1st 3 to 6 years for optimal brain and emotional development. We have to learn to slow down and be human again or else the incidence of drug reliance for auto immune diseases and mental equilibrium will only continue to increase.

        1. Katharine Avatar


        2. Molly Avatar

          Lucas, exactly. As for those who feel that this article is shaming them? ‘If the cap fits…..’.

      5. Sarah Avatar

        I couldn’t agree more! When you decide to give life that life had no choice and you must put him/her first in every matter and form. That’s called mature and selfless parenting.

      6. Amber Avatar

        Well said, instead of being defensive people should learn from new studies

    4. Bri Avatar

      My 5 year old son has slept in the same bed as us for 5 going on 6 years. He is a very bright and independent little boy and he believes he is capable of being able to do things for himself. He also chooses to sleep in his own bed whenever he feels like it. It also made it easier for me when I had to breastfeed him at night when he was smaller. Our family bond is very strong. The only downside to this has been the decrease in my sex life but we have had to make it work when we could. Anyway, I don’t see why people feel the need to leave their babies crying. If anything it’s selfish when they are so small. The hard work pays off.

      1. Angie Avatar

        I agree with you 100%. I still remember my mother’s absence from when I was a child. I would wake up crying at 5 or 6 years old. When I saw my father my fears would vanish.

    5. Shay Avatar

      Education isn’t shaming. Just because it hurts your feelings or you disagree doesn’t mean you’re being attacked.

      1. Tracie Lee Avatar
        Tracie Lee

        Well said. That’s like saying scientists who are educating about global warming are attacking you because you drive a car. Stop whining about everything.

    6. alii scott Avatar
      alii scott

      Just consider these words, instead of automatically denying them. I was adopted and never had closeness, and have felt alienated all my life. But I was able to give my own daughters all the holding they wanted, slept with
      them, and they ate magnificently confident and adventurous and brave girls, cspable of taking on the world. Its not difficult to hold your babies, it just needs a mothers willingness to realise it is not a waste of time.

    7. Reba Avatar

      I think the point is that you should not be solely relying on someone else making up their mind about what you should do – what does your instinct tell you to do?

    8. Aimee Avatar

      You’re a cold hearted bitch, lol.. if you can’t nurture your children, cross your legs and quit having them. The article is simply pointing out why north america is full of Ativan popping white bitches, like you. ☺

      1. Megan Avatar

        I don’t think you should be having children either if you can’t clean up your words a little And singling out white woman is raciest which is also something that we don’t need to be teaching the next generation…its 2018 lady your kind is extinct by now

    9. Hulir Avatar

      You’re dumb… Just cause you don’t like or manage what the article is saying,doesn’t make it wrong. Do better. Ffs…

    10. Korissa Avatar

      I think maybe we as parent should take in all the information and make our own judgement calls for our family. I have 3 kids the youngest 8months I’ve co-slept with all of them regardless of what other people have told me. I as a mother sleep better next to my baby rather than wondering if he/she is in distress and I’m not there to help.

    11. Amber Avatar

      You would think that your baby’s brain development would be something worth worrying about and not just “having enough to worry about” your baby’s wellbeing should be all you worry about!

    12. Simona Avatar

      You hate them because you know they say the truth. I’m so sorry for your children.

    13. Cait Avatar

      I think all parents just need to listen to their heart and their gut 🙂

  2. Ahmed Samy Avatar
    Ahmed Samy

    Is that means that mothers can’t work after delivery with 3 years?

    What about kindengardens and interaction with other children to learn social skills?

    1. Sara Burrows Avatar

      I quit my job after 9 months of hell – trying to decide between meeting my baby’s needs and the demands of my job. I was able to do a few odd jobs here and there, and now work part-time from home. To each their own. Everyone’s needs are different. But ideally we could raise our babies the way they evolved to be raised – in constant contact as infants and in physical closeness for years after.

    2. Ana Maria Avatar
      Ana Maria

      You can both work and do co-sleeping, lots of parents do it, myself included.

      1. Mona Avatar

        But what about naps?

        1. becci Avatar

          I have co slept with my daughter for her entire 2.5 years of life. she would nap for about an hour at daycare but on a floor bed surrounded with other children and care givers after she turned 12 months (after I went back to work from maternity leave) and she still sleeps right next to me now and I am a teacher so work full time. the co sleeping has definitely paid off, I sleep better with her next to me and she does too, she is incredibly bright and secure in herself and we have a very close bond!

    3. Sanjee Goonetilake Avatar
      Sanjee Goonetilake

      That is why advanced Scandinavian countries pay 3 years of parental leave for the parents and either the mother or father can take it.

    4. Anna Avatar

      Children who stay at home with their mothers interact with other children at playgrounds, play dates, friends’ families etc. They don’t need kindergartens to socialize.

  3. Kora Avatar

    This article resonates with me, but I was unclear on a couple of things. Does the study suggest that if babies sleep in any way other than right on their mother, severe stress occurs? What about in a case where the baby sleeps in a “side car” just inches from the mother, where she could still be in contact almost all night, and only being placed there after having fallen asleep in her arms? Also, does this apply to naps during the day when the baby is in a bassinet in the same room as his mother, again, only after having been lulled to sleep in her arms? In both cases, never having been left to cry it out, or fall asleep alone.

    1. Sara Burrows Avatar

      From my understanding of Bergman’s research (and the research of Dr. Sears and others)… the baby’s heartbeat and breathing are regulated by the mother’s heartbeat and breathing. Dr. Sears observed with all of his babies while sleeping in contact with their mother, that their breathing came into sync with hers.

      This is especially important the first few months, where they baby is totally dependent on the mother for regulating these functions. If done properly – without drugs, alcohol, and with breastfeeding mothers who are more subconsciously in tune with their babies’ sleep and wakefulness – this can help prevent SIDs, as it is actually teaching the baby to breathe through sleep.

      So the closer together they are the better, I imagine. I notice with my own daughter that she gravitates to whomever is closer to her in the bed – her dad or myself – until she’s pressed up against one of us. She’s 5 and still does this. We love it.

  4. […] wife had me read this article on how sleeping in a crib can cause brain damage and it really stuck with me.  So much so that […]

  5. Sanjee Goonetilake Avatar
    Sanjee Goonetilake

    This also explains why syndromes like SIDS or Cot death are called Cot death. In countries where there is co-sleeping, this is very rare!

    1. Emily Avatar

      I didn’t know it was less common in other countries! And here in the US the pediatrician recommend they sleep in baby bedding “on their back”. I never could let my babies cry unless I had a sickness myself and then the older sibling would get them if dad wasn’t around

  6. Olei Avatar

    Instead of putting baby in a crib next room… Put daddy in the next room and mother co-sleeping with baby… If daddy making noise attend to his need and pacify him… Return back to baby after pacification…

    1. Mel Avatar

      Lol…. you just made my day.

      Thank you!

    2. Leigh Avatar

      That’s how we did it

    3. Christina Avatar


    4. Hillary Avatar


    5. Lee Avatar

      Lol. Well said

  7. Mel Avatar

    Hmmm… I don’t know, IMO, forcing a baby to go to sleep alone when s/he’s not ready is almost like forcing someone with arachnophobia to pet a spider. Why? That, or rushing a child to get a job, hey – they’ll have to get one at some point, might as well start ’em young, lol.

    Some arachnophobes may never get over their fear of spiders, and that’s a-ok, child sweatshops? hmmm not so much; however, babies do eventually grow up, both fortunately & unfortunately, as they do, they tend to emulate the “grown-ups” who surround them and this includes sleeping on their own. According to my nickel, “Sleep training” should be about encouraging them to sleep alone but they should never be forced to do it, unless ofcourse you’re running a boot camp; Otherwise, encouraging and forcing are not the same thing… Just as walking and talking, it’ll all happen when they’re ready in due time. Because dragging a child struggling to walk across the floor is uncool, and may be a little abusive. IMO, let babies be babies… they’re only ever so little for so long. There’s a reason why they didn’t hatch from eggs.

    No offense to anyone, its just my 2 cents.. in this case nickel…

  8. Sally Avatar

    Sorry but articles like this make me laugh… they cant be serious… ithink everyone needs to relax a little…i find this attachment parenting to be a little over the top . I would love to see the stats on how many babies have developed brain damage from sleeping in a cot

    1. Vanessa Avatar

      If this article is correct then I’m guessing everyone in their 30s has massive brain damage. We were the generation of working moms and CIO.
      My mom put me and a crib and guess what? I am a successful and happy 35 year old. And my mother was and is a fantastic mother. Articles like this are ridiculous.

      1. Aubrey Snyder Avatar
        Aubrey Snyder

        I think that the kind of brain damage they are suggesting is less evident but if studies were done behaviorally, it might distinguish in some way those that weren’t forced to separate at an early age and those that were not. Like the article said, and Ive read the same of orphans in poor countries—babies that receive no response to distress “learn” that crying doesn’t bring them the relief they seek so they give up, shut down and must cope with that stress neurologically. Stress is handled much differently by youngsters and can change how their brains develop. So it may not seem incredibly evident to you, but it may have left its mark in one way or another.

  9. Kirsten Avatar

    The only thing I would be concerned about is accidentally squashing my baby in my sleep. I toss and turn all night. Always have and most likey always will. How would I be able to safely co-sleep with my baby IF I have one some day?

    1. Marjan Avatar

      You know, I think nature has fixed this for us. I used to toss and turn. And then my baby was born and we slept together in the same bed. And I just didn’t move! Really, not at all! I woke up every now and then because I was hurting from not moving…
      Do you sleep together with a partner? Do you ever end up lying on his or her arm?

    2. Amanda Avatar

      I thought the same thing. I was always a toddler and turner in bed. So much so that as a child/teen I would wake up completely sideways in my bed. As an adult my husband was so sick of it we had to buy a bigger bed. Then I had a baby. He has slept with me from day one and with him next to me I don’t move a muscle. It’s amazing! I wake up in the exact position I was in when I fell asleep. I suspect it has to do with all the new hormones of motherhood.

    3. Aubrey Snyder Avatar
      Aubrey Snyder

      Generally, breastfeeding mothers who cosleep have a biological connection to their baby, even syncing sleep cycles so that you wake together! It will be harder to roll over on baby if you wake at the same time! I’ve experienced so many moments of uncanny intuition, waking at just the right moment because something wasn’t right! Trust your body–it does amazing things. Mother’s body against baby can raise that baby’s body temperature up or down as needed, but dad’s cannot do that! Newborn baby’s vitals like oxygen levels are stable when close to mom, but dip when away—all these things tell us to trust our biological instincts because we were designed to be attached to baby for every reason.

      1. Beki Avatar

        I love your reply. My LO sleeps so well next to me. He sleeps through most nights as I feed and change him if needed to before he had the chance to wake and get upset. He’s a very settled and happy boy 🙂

      2. Molly Avatar

        I found that when I turned in my sleep I awoke later to find that I had put baby either on my chest as I laid on my back or had turned around and held him/her in my arms and he/she was was still in my arms. I had 5 babies and never had anything happen and would many times find that they’d latched onto me themselves and were feeding away.Just a thought,I’ve never known our cats or dogs to lie on and squash their babies and they co-sleep with many offspring at the same time.

  10. chelsea Avatar

    This isn’t about a TYPE of parenting- this is about EVIDENCE based parenting. Science. Physiology. Not opinion. Science. Science that needs more attention, more, bigger studies to assess for reliably/validity, more data.


    But given the way things are going politically in the USA right now I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised that opinion now holds more weight than hard data.

  11. Nikki Avatar

    I know that babies should only share the bed next to mom for safety, but I found it interesting that in a quote from Bergman’s website, it says that “toxic stress” comes from absence of mom *OR* dad. Yet this blog post focuses solely on mom. Mom can’t do it all! Nor does she need to. While mothers biologically need to carry the burden of nighttime parenting, at least at the beginning (when that arrangement is safest) dad can calm & soothe their babies at other times. I agree with a lot of this article & with attachment parenting more generally, but the focus on maternal sacrifice is unnecessary. Research has shown that a baby needs attached caregivers. Period. Mom, dad, grandparents, babysitters will do just fine as long as they’re consistent & truly attached. Again, no disrespect to the author here, just a tiny point of disagreement.

  12. Andrea Avatar

    Inflammatory title, but the science behind it is sound. Neuroscience is proving that when patriarchal culture convinced mothers not to nurture their babies and instead let them cry it out, we are messing with nature and the limbic brain. Don’t misunderstand the science. Can older kids thrive just fine sleeping alone? Of course. My 5 month old does great because he’s very secure in his attachment. Should society be manipulating mothers into letting babies in the ‘fourth trimester’ cry it out? I’ve talked to so many mothers whose husbands wouldn’t let them act on maternal instincts, to sleep with their newborns or pick them up because they would ‘spoil’ them. Maybe it takes some science for mothers to have the courage to take back their instincts and do what feels right. This isn’t about shaming mothers, but about allowing us to be mothers again. Our culture took our right to birth and nurse and nurture our children naturally, it’s time to take it back.

  13. Anu Avatar

    This article resonates with me too, though now I’m feeling paranoid as my baby slept in her cot for the first 7 months of her life (I never let her cry and picked her up when ever she awoke) so now I’m left wondering if I had permanently damaged her??! We bedshare now so if so, is the damage caused reversible?

    1. Kivrin Avatar

      No, don’t worry, your child will be completely fine. Just like all of us, the adults who didn’t sleep with their parents.

    2. Patti Avatar

      I would say that we all do things that we regret or worry about. Forgive yourself.

      I am sure that there are babies who do just fine sleeping on their own. Sounds like you tended to your dd when she expressed a need for you so it’s unlikely that she was suffering like babies who are put under the immense stress of CIO. Even with CIO every child is unique. I doubt that it damages every child. The problem is there is no way to tell in advance which infant will do just fine & which will suffer long term damage. Worse which will be broken in terrible ways. If your child ended up with autism or a mental illness how many parents will question their choices like CIO? I knew that I would never question rather my kinder more loving style would damage my son. If only it was as easy at 9 as it was at 9 weeks or months.

      I really never got how anyone could do that. If a compleat stranger who was an adult was crying like that I would go to them. So how do people advocate ignoring a helpless infant in distress. I’ve heard mothers say that they sat outside the door crying but they wouldn’t go in. IMO that alone should tell them that they are doing something wrong. I planned to co-sleep with my son in my room in a little bed next to mine. I lost a niece to SIDS when she was 3 months old, so I had a monitor that was supposed to warn me if my son stopped breathing. My son had other ideas. He wanted to sleep snuggled up to a warm body. 🙂 I tried really hard to get him to sleep in that bed less than a foot away from me. Even with my hand on him it was a no go. He didn’t cry he just refused to sleep. I was terrified of rolling over on him or of him stopping breathing if he wasn’t on that monitor. (The alarm went off twice & once in the hospital I woke up & I swear that he wasn’t breathing. But when I picked him & unswaddled him he seemed to start back. The nurses said that I was mistaken & acted like it was just new parent paranoia.) For 2 months I wasn’t getting enough sleep because he wouldn’t sleep if he wasn’t in my arms & I believed everyone when they told me that it wasn’t safe to have your baby in your bed. I would sleep when someone else could hold him. Or I’d cat nap in our reclining couch with the nursing pillow under him, my arms around him & some hard pillows propped up around just incase I let go & he rolled. In desperation I was doing some research online when I found a wonderful group of ladies who pointed me toward research that gave me the info to feel comfortable having my son in my bed. I was nervous at first but grew more confident as time passed. The hardest part was the judgment of others. Shameful that people try to make women feel bad over doing things as natural as co-sleeping & breastfeeding past 6 months.

  14. Amy Avatar

    is it dangerous to sleep with your baby though, incase you accidentally suffocate them , or is this really rare?

  15. Amy Avatar

    is it dangerous to sleep with your baby though, is there a risk you might you accidentally suffocate them , or is this really rare?

  16. Kivrin Avatar

    Sorry, but I don’t feel fully convinced. I don’t see any academic sources with real science proof. No article on is signed by a real-person scientist. I can’t see how all this is exactly scientifically supported.

    I get it that leaving your child alone and letting it cry itself to sleep is not the best option, but on the other hand, I don’t exactly understand why not letting it sleep in my bed should be harmful for it’s brain. It’s just a huge exaggeration to me.

  17. Reone Avatar

    I have realised that there is “scientific proof” for every single thing that someone WANTS to prove on the internet.

    IMO this is nonsense. I believe our family’s state of being has a far greater impact on my baby than where he sleeps. When we are happy, calm, well rested, relaxed, focused, in control, and most importantly, have a good relationship between me and my hubby, my baby seems happiest.

    I have tried co-sleeping and sleeping alone. For us, it works best if he sleeps in his own cot. While he was sleeping with me he was awake every now and again throughout the night. My back, neck and shoulders used to ache because I slept so uncomfortably, which made me feel so miserable.

    Now he is sleeping in his own cot. He sleeps through the night (which I can imagine is also important for brain development) and hubby and I also get a good nights rest. This means that we can do all the fun and stimulating things with him during the day because we actually have the energy to do so.

    I also believe that it’s very important to also prioritize your relationship with your husband. Growing up in a home where mom and dad have a healthy relationship is one of the best gifts any child can receive.

    I guess my point is, every mother must do what works best for her ENTIRE family, which she, daddy and other kids are also part of. If your child gets enough love and attention, and he is part of a happy home, I strongly doubt that he will have brain damage because he doesnt share his parents bed.

    1. Christi Avatar

      Right answer!

    2. Donna Avatar

      Well said

  18. concerncedforyourbaby Avatar

    Meanwhile in the world of real news and science “After analyzing data on 8,207 infant deaths from 24 states that occurred between 2004 and 2012, researchers determined that nearly 74 percent of deaths in babies younger than 4 months occurred in a bed-sharing situation, according to the study published Monday in Pediatrics.”

    Are cortisone levels more important than your baby surviving. 75% of infant deaths are caused form co-sleeping? I don’t understand why anyone would risk suffocating their baby versus the “stress to the baby”. I’m sure you all think that vaccines are bad and based on real science. I wish people knew how to distinguish between real science and real articles. Please, just look at this site? At the typing? Does this really feel like an article you should be trusting versus all of the true sources out there?

    1. Holly Smith Avatar
      Holly Smith

      That article is interesting about the co-sleeping deaths – does it elaborate on the causes for that 74%? I doubt that the majority were unknown factors, probably such things as tummy sleeping, dad squashed (it’s well known that fathers don’t have those same instincts as mums when it comes to co-sleeping), duvet covered etc.

    2. Francesca Avatar

      100% agree this article is rediculous and honestly just confusing for new parents. It doesnt fit todays society at least in

    3. Laura Avatar

      Please beware, throwing some numbers in there doesn’t necessarily make it ‘real news’! You didn’t link to the article but I tried to find it online (closest I could get was this piece This study *crucially*, didn’t separate out *known* risk factors for dangerous cosleeping such as smoking, alcohol, sleeping on a sofa. Nor did it situate the deaths (each and every one awful and tragic) within a context of total number of babies born in those 24 states and 8 year period – the study author admits these deaths remain very rare – inflammatory headlines aside!

      UNICEF, a global authority on infant care, advise that approximately 50% of SIDS deaths occur in cots, and 50% while cosleeping. However within the cosleeping deaths, 90% of those occurred in what are known to be unsafe environments (again smoking, alcohol, sofa etc). Therefore safe cosleeping, adhering to the simple guidelines, is actually protective of the infant. (Because only 5% of the total SIDS deaths occurred when baby was safely cosleeping, 50% occurred in cots).

      Here’s the unicef guidance:

  19. wellinever Avatar

    I slept in my own cot from day one, so did my brother and most if my cousins. We have a graphic designer, a scientist, a teacher, an accountant, I could go on. We are all fine and none of us are on any firm of medication to help us emotionally or mentally. Both my boys slept in their own cots from day one as well. I fed them and they fell asleep in my arms and then I would put them in their cots. Both started sleeping through at 12 weeks. And they slept deeply and comfortably. If they woke up, I was there before they could cry out more than twice. Both my boys are confident and happy. So is the rest of my family. I believe that every child is different, their need, their wants etc. I don’t judge anyone on how they bring up their children, you know your child best. This article is bullshit and is just causing unnecessary fear mongering. You know your child, you do what’s best for your child. Screw articles like this.

    1. Mama of 1 yr old baby boy who sleeps beautifully in his bed, through the night and growing and thriving!! Avatar
      Mama of 1 yr old baby boy who sleeps beautifully in his bed, through the night and growing and thriving!!


  20. Francesca Avatar

    what a lot of rubbish! measurably smaller brains and less intelligence. Ludicrous article that only creates more guilt and fear for mums. The reality is that we have to combine parenthood and a working job to earn enough money to get by in western society copmaring to tribe s and such other completely different structures is absurd…do we just go backwards to our humble beginnings and live tribal again? This is not how society is set up today and that is just the reality. encouraging parents to find a balance and trust their own intelligence and common sense is far more helpful. Yes tend to your child when distressed, nurture and care for them but encouraging contstant attention to thr childs every demand is not required nor does it make their brain smaller yes u will have sleepless nights and feel exhausted, support is the key. Allow yourself to safely place the baby down. a mums sanity is just as if not essential to the proper care of the child. im well past baby stage of my two kids but articles like this were not helpful just confused the heck out of new mums as realistically how do they actually acheieve this attached parenting theory exactly? I was priveleged to hhave the first year off with my babies with much support financially from my husband and family/ friends and even then this notion wouldnt have been sustainable. More to the point there are a large number of single mums that simply have to return to work and dont have a partner as back up. sooner or later life keeps giing and bills need to be paid. dont even get me started on government centrelink payslips its a joke! other peoples taxes covering a centrelink paycheck for people that cant do it themselves. I get there are disabilities and genuine cases where people need assistance., but there are a whole lots of bluggers with no work ethic that sponge the system and chiose to have kids for benefits. how rediculous. It takes much sacrifice to balance work and parenthood and im proud Ive found a way to do both. I provide financially for my kids along with my husband and not centrelink. Australia needs a big reality check as other countries around the world dont have these privileges. It would people more careful when considering family planning. oops got a bit off topic there but the reality of attached parenting in Australia with our living expenses and evonomic climate do nit go together! and I work hard to both balance parenting and a real job and so should all parents. Its the basics of life. Doesnt need to be a career everyone needs to earn their keep and others shouldnt have to pay for others iresponsible life choices.

  21. Jane Avatar

    Those bed-sharing situations have been shown to involve sofas, parents under the influence of alcohol or smoke or formula fed babies. It has been shown that having a formula-fed baby sleep with its parents can be dangerous as they sleep deeper and struggle to rouse themselves out of dangerous situations. Also they don’t sleep in the safe position with their head at the breast and mother’s body protecting them from pillows etc. And vaccines do have a valid place in society.

  22. […] proposed “research” offered in the specific article that this response is based on, that compares co-sleeping babies to cot-sleeping babies, was […]

  23. […] proposed “research” offered in the specific article that this response is based on, that compares co-sleeping babies to cot-sleeping babies, was […]

  24. Claire Avatar

    our baby slept in a cot in the next room and we had the baby phone on all the time and were very attentive to any noises we heard. We never did anything remotely like letting him cry out out and always went to him immediately when he cried or made any noises that made us think he needed us. our baby was very peaceful and a good sleeper with regular waking up for feeding.I believe it is the love you have for your baby that is the most important and of course to be attentive to his needs. We found that our baby slept more peacefully in his own room and that is way he went to sleep there. As parents we found this a peaceful way of doing things. i be
    leive that the baby can feel his parents confidence and this makes him relaxed too.

  25. Diane Avatar

    Are babies, who after birth are in icu, according to this logic, are doomed for unhappiness.

  26. Justin M Avatar
    Justin M

    Interesting read. Would you be able to provide reference links back to the study that the information is sourced from?

  27. Katie Lloyd Martin Avatar
    Katie Lloyd Martin

    There is a huge difference between sleeping with a baby and sleeping with a three year old (which the article mentions is ideal). Please! Sleeping with a 3 year old is just about the stupidest family advice I’ve ever heard. No wonder everyone is scared to have kids. I have a 3 yr old a 2 yr old and a baby. I adore them all, but hell no are the older two in my bedroom. Also, the reason why “most of the world” sleeps all together even through adolescence (if that’s even true,) is probably because in many countries everyone lives in 1 room. (Aka they’re really poor.)
    Just use your best judgement. Co sleeping and not letting a tiny baby cry it out are just common sense. No need to turn either into an ideology.

  28. Jen Avatar

    My mom was in icu for several months as a baby and she Definately has issues with touching and showing emotions and affection. All 3 of my kids slept with me and I heard nothing but crap about how they’d be there till they were 14. 5 years old seemed to be when they self transitioned. It was rough sometimes, but it was my choice. Just as its every parent’s choice to do what is best for them in spite of what others think and sometimes even over what might be optimal for the child. Its hard. Real hard. Life happens. So if you care, you try, and you are actually raising your own children; I say release the shame, forget the guilt, and show them and yourself love now. Its the only thing you truly have power over.

  29. Shannon Avatar

    Sleep deprivation is also very unhealthy, for baby and parents. My baby was chronically overtired when we coslept for the first few months. I wanted to cosleep until he was a few years old, but it was terrible to have him so unhappy. He’s learned to sleep on his own with some crying and now his happy, glowing personality is finally shining forth. I just don’t think it’s fair or honest to make sweeping generalizations on either side. Sleep deprivation and separation can each cause excessive cortisol release and you’ve got to do what’s best for your baby. It’d be nice if we’d be gentle with each other.

  30. Shelley Avatar

    My mother always recommended the CIO method to me .
    I never ever applied it , it just felt wrong to not pick up a distressed baby or child. I trusted my instincts .

  31. Janel Avatar

    Here is my question for all you haters….

    If you don’t like it why did you take the time to read the article and to respond? You could have just kept scrolling. Why waste your time?

  32. Nicole Avatar

    For me personally I have always felt an instinct to keep my kids in bed with me. Especially as babies. My kids slept with me until about 5. My two yr old sleeps with my husband and I every night. This lifestyle works for us. I have zero desire to put him in his own crib. I don’t have attachment issues nor does he. We function very well this way. It’s a constant in our crazy daily lives.

  33. Dwaine Hohne Avatar
    Dwaine Hohne

    I’m just going to say – you CANNOT get conclusive research result from a study group of SIXTEEN subjects. The referenced study is hogwash – have they taken genetic variance into consideration? NO. And I will say no more about this because as a parent who does not subscribe to attachment parenting, and still has a well developed little girl, who continues to reach her mental developmental milestones on time and in some cases early, I find these types of articles INSULTING and completely unhelpful. Parents second-guess their decisions constantly, we don’t need doctors heaping on the condemnation and confusion.

    1. Peter Avatar

      OK Dwaine we get it.
      You don’t believe a newborn baby needs the same care and attention a newborn ape or kitten would receive, because this particular method hasn’t been studied for an entire lifespan involving 10% of all ethnic, regional and economic populations.

      Continue to use your ‘Let her learn to fend for herself” method. I’m sure she’ll be fine.

      I hear the best way to teach kids to swim is tossing them into the deep end and walk away.

  34. Janice salmon Avatar
    Janice salmon

    This is scary advice in the case of mom’s or dads that use drugs or alcohol, sleeping pills.

  35. Natalie Avatar

    It rings true for me and my baby. She needed me, I co-slept with her. I could never imagine letting her cry as an infant like that. I would work with her by witting with her while using touch to let her know I was there while she did tummy time or was on her own. Now, she is the most independent child. She still likes to sleep with me or her dad but she does sleep in her crib. She is 16 months old now! She seems to be better at this than most of my friends children who from what I know did not co-sleep. Just saying!

  36. Jasmine Avatar

    Totally agree. My little one is turning 8m. I breastfeed him. It was very hard at the beginning but totally worthy. At 5 months and half he put him self in his butt and at 6 months and half he was standing (also he took a lot of calcium from breastfeeding) by himself supported by anything in the way. I was stunned by his will to do so much things and so soon. I can’t sleep if he is not next to me. I just love to smell him and keep him in my arms, and his eyes looking at me when his breastfeeding.
    Lucky I have the luxury to have /2y leave maternity so I dedicate myself to him, because that’s maternity for me.
    I couldn’t bear to here him crying so it’s difficult for me to understand cry out. But, I don’t shame no one, every body knows his ways and it’s theyre call.
    I’m just to emotional to want other way

  37. Jill Dobis Avatar
    Jill Dobis

    This ONE “study” consisted if SIXTEEN babies, was not in any kind of controlled experiment, and the findings are all subjective and subject to interpretation. Infinitesimally small test group, so small that no findings could be claimed. Has it been subjected to peer review? And how the hell would anyone know that young children’s needs we’re “immediately” met 10,000 years ago??! Parents were busy gathering food or hunting, and working hard at bare survival from sunup to sundown. No one can say with ANY surety exactly how they raised their children. And no one can say that those exhausted parents ever woke up in the night to immediately tend to their young kids. Seriously flawed article on more levels than I can even count.

    Yes, I agree with others: STOP SHAMIMG and GUILTING PARENTS for doing what they need to do to survive in TODAY’S world.

    Humans have been evolving for many thousands of years, and continue to do so. We are extremely adaptable and no child is going to be permanently broken due to their parents getting a much needed full night’s sleep!


  38. Brittany Avatar

    I’m just going to point out that every child is different. We co-slapt with our baby until he was 4 mos old, put him in a basinette until he was 8 mos old, and then put him in his own room. He is one of the happiest babies I’ve ever seen. He is always smiling and playful and loves interacting with new people. He loves challenges such as trying to find a way to climb onto the couch and how to get down and whatnot. Different things work with different children.
    On the other hand, my mother made me cry it out because she followed the advice of her care manager. I was not like my son at all when I was his age. I have anxiety and depression now. Don’t know if they’re related, but based on THIS ARTICLE ALONE and not outlying factors, they are. It didn’t work for me. It didn’t affect my son to the degree this article mentions though. Everyone is different.

  39. Amber Avatar

    I love this article and those who read it as shaming are idiots. The western world and our beliefs here are totally wrong.