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Bed Sharing Linked to Longer Breastfeeding, Study

Update Date: Sep 23, 2013 05:48 PM EDT

Mothers who sleep with their babies tend to breastfeed for longer, a new study reveals.

However, researchers warned that bed sharing is also associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

While some experts and professionals encourage bed sharing to promote breastfeeding, others recommend against it to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, according to researchers.

Experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that babies sleep in a separate, but nearby, sleep area for infants.

The latest study used data from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II, which enrolled expectant mothers and followed them through their infant's first year of life.

Researchers found that mothers in the often bed sharing, intermediate and moderate bed sharing groups breastfed the longest, whereas mothers in the non-bed sharing group breastfed the shortest amount of time.

Researchers said the study also found that breastfeeding duration was longer among women who were better educated, white, had previously breastfed, planned to breastfeed and had not gone back to work in the first year after having a baby.

"This study provides strong evidence that bed sharing promotes breastfeeding by increasing breastfeeding duration, with the greatest effect found among frequent bed sharers. However, these benefits must be tempered by the known safety risks associated with infant-parent bed sharing," researchers concluded.

The findings are published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics

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