Sharing Mom's Bed Isn't So Bad, Study Says

Bed-sharing causes no psychological effects, study says.

Bed-sharing with children is one of those topics that gets a lot of lip service.  You’re messing your kid up, it’s good family time, it’s creepy…  I’ve heard arguments from all sides.

Now, a new study brings good news to those sporting a Family Bed in the master bedroom.

Reuters reports parents who bed-share shouldn’t worry about harming their toddler’s intellectual or social development.  That’s after the baby has turned one – when SIDS is no longer considered a risk.

Researcher, Lauren Hale of Stony Brook University School of Medicine says, “Parents can do what works best for their family and not feel guilty if they choose to bed-share, because there probably aren’t lasting impacts”.

Experts say bed-sharing is not very common in the U.S., the main worry with small babies being SIDS, which killed nearly 2,300 children in 2008, according Dr. Fern Hauck of the AAP.

But there hasn’t been much research into the health or psychological effects of bed-sharing after age one so Lauren Hale and a group of researchers studied data on 944 poor U.S. mothers, who reported whether they shared their bed with their toddlers at ages one, two and three.

Almost half said they bed-share at some point, with Hispanic and black women doing so more often than whites.

When the kids’ behavior and intellectual development were tested at age five, initially those who slept with their moms appeared to be worse off than the rest.  But that didn’t hold up, once the researchers had accounted for other characteristics of the mothers and children.

“It’s just reassuring to know that it doesn’t appear to be dangerous” in terms of the psychological impact, Hauck said.

Still, she said, “we have concerns about children up to two to three years because there have been deaths occurring in that age group.”

Do you bed-share?  Why or why not?  Does this study make your more likely to open the bed to your toddler?

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