Attachment Parenting

Reducing SIDS Risk?



We are expecting our first child in December. Not sure yet if AP is right for us, but I have been lurking this board A LOT lately. I have seen a lot of people say that it is recommended that you co-sleep with your child up to 6 months because of reduced SIDS risk? I do understand the difference between co-sleeping in general and bed sharing, and if anything we will only co-sleep with baby in a pnp or something.

So my question is (and forgive me, I did try to find the answer by googling, but I was having no such luck) why is co-sleeping a way to reduce the risk of SIDS?

I've heard a couple of different things, one being that it helps the baby create a normal breathing pattern...otherwise I just thought maybe that way you are close if the baby is having problems breathing or something?


Maybe I should also add that the baby's crib would only be maybe 20 feet away in an adjacent room, with no door separating (our house has a weird setup). Anyway, any insight on this would be greatly appreciated, as we haven't decided for sure whether to have baby closer to us in the beginning or not. Thanks!

Re: Reducing SIDS Risk?

  • Breathing has a lot to do with it. Babies are born at a point in their development at which their brains/heads are still small enough to fit through mom's pelvis, and they have a lot more growing and developing to do. They take their breathing cues from mama, so being within sensory distance of one another is really helpful to baby, where she can hear you breathing and match hers to yours.

    Babies sleeping in a separate room also tend to sleep more deeply, to a unnatural extent, and have more trouble rousing themselves from sleep when they need to, either to eat or to scooch away from danger, etc.

    If you would like to learn more about this, there are very good articles and other publications available written by Dr. James Mckenna, who runs the Mother Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at Notre Dame. Google him, and you'll find lots of great research on this and other sleep questions.
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  • Our LO only slept in his snuggle nest co sleeper in our actual bed for a week and that was due to me having awful complications and an emergency c section. I couldn't get up or down quickly. Then we moved the co sleeper into his PNP to make the transition easier and he likes it. We have the PNP near our bed in our room. My husband was against this idea at first and now he completely embraces it. First the SIDs risk is lower because you can hear them. Babies make a ton of noise when they sleep and you learn to tune it out but the second you hear that noise stop you're up more quickly than if you we're crying. Now 99.99 percent of the time it's nothing, they are just in a deep sleep but its that .01 percent where something could be wrong and you're right there. A more practical reason is that you're exhausted and babies need you all night. You'll be so happy he's right there. Also having the changing table attachment to a PNP is crucial. If you don't want a co sleeper look into a PnP with a bassinet attachment or also pick up a Rock N Play. Newborns like coziness and the open PnP might not be what they want and will wake up upset. Also make sure you get some kind of a baby carrier like a moby or a Mei Tai even if you're not going to do AP. newborns like to be held all the time and it makes it difficult to do anything. Both my husband and I have carriers and we just put our little guy in and we go for walks, I can do laundry or dishes and have two hands free and he naps or if he's awake he loves looking around. I personally couldn't figure out a lot of the wraps or moby so I picked up a Mei tai at BRU. It was like 35 before my 20 percent coupon and I love it. My husband has a big Bjorn and he wears little man on walks and hikes.
  • I think that it is a variety of factors.  The baby may adjust its breathing and other reflexive bodily actions (heart rate/ sugars etc.) to the other people in the room.  Baby may feel that because there are people nearby that it is more cared for and not feel alone.  I feel like there could be more research on this.  I think it would be similar to skin to skin, where they didn't know much about it and recently had a lot of studies on it showing all the benefits. 

    In addition if you are in the same room you can help make sure that other factors that contribute to SIDS are eliminated.  For example, you may wake more and check on the baby more.  If the baby does need you you are right there.  If baby is too hot, you can feel it right away and adjust (being too hot is a SIDS factor).  If the room temperature is off then you will be right there and know.  If baby is sick you will know right away.  There are a lot of thing to continually adjust to make sure baby is sleeping as safe as possible.  

  • SIDS was actually originally called crib death, because it only happened to babies in cribs, until the manufacturers protested and they changed the name. 

    In other countries, where bed sharing is the norm, they don't have SIDS.

    Being close to mom (or dad) reminds the baby's bodily functions to continue to operate effectively - stabilizing their breathing, heart rate, temperature, etc. 

    We studied it a lot in my child psychology course in college; I wish I could remember sources so I could direct you to them! All my notes/texts are packed away in a box somewhere in my parents' house. 

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