Every new parent has heard the dire warning: Never sleep with your baby. It all comes from the official recommendations of the influential American Academy of Pediatrics published in 2011.
Melissa Bartick, M.D., M.Sc, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and internist at Cambridge Health Alliance, writes:
Unfortunately, we also know that parents who try to avoid bed sharing with their infants are far more likely to feed their babies at night on chairs and couches in futile attempts to stay awake, which actually markedly increases their infants’ risk of suffocation.
According to a 2010 study of nearly 5,000 US mothers, “in a possible attempt to avoid bed sharing, 55% of mothers feed their babies at night on chairs, recliners or sofas. Forty–four percent (25% of the sample) admit that they [are] falling asleep with their babies in these locations.” Rather than prompting an immediate review of its original 2005 infant sleep recommendations, the AAP chose to completely ignore this data when it rewrote its sleep recommendations it published in 2011.