family bed

Sleeping Arrangements

Dear Mr. Dad: Everyone I ask has a different opinion about whether it’s okay to share a bed with a baby. My biggest concern is safety. What’s the bottom line?

A: The short answer to your question is a resounding “It depends.” For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended against bed sharing (sometimes called “the family bed”) because of the risks to the baby: typically, being injured (or worse) by a parent rolling over the baby or of being smothered by bedding. But given that about 60% of parents admit to bed sharing with their baby at least some time, the AAP has modified its position. They, like you, are mostly concerned about safety.

First, a little background. On one side of the debate are people who believe that babies should get used to sleeping by themselves as soon after birth as possible. The reasoning is that in American culture, we emphasize early independence, so babies should adapt quickly to being away from their parents, especially if both parents work and the children are in daycare.

On the other side are those who say that babies should sleep in the same bed as their parents (an idea shared by about 80 percent of the world’s population). The rationale is that human evolution simply can’t keep pace with what culture demands. “Proximity to parental sounds, smells, heat, and movement during the night is precisely what the human infant’s immature system expects—and needs,” says James McKenna, an anthropologist and sleep researcher.

Read the rest of this story on Armin’s blog.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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