New York: Mothers of infants who continue to share the bed with their babies may please take note that while co-sleeping is good, bed-sharing may expose the babies to infections and other health risks, says a study.
The biggest risk of bed sharing is sudden infant death syndrome, the third leading cause of infant mortality in the US.
"Co-sleeping and bed-sharing are used interchangeably although they are not the same," said researcher Trina Salm Ward from the University of Georgia in the US.
Co-sleeping means sleeping in the same room as your infant in close proximity, Salm Ward explained.
"Bed sharing is when you actually sleep on the same surface as the baby. Co-sleeping is the preferred option over bed-sharing," she noted.
Bed sharing can likely be decreased if public health officials tailor messaging to their unique population.
For the study, the researcher reviewed literature on bed sharing.
In her research, Salm Ward discovered the main reasons mothers chose to bed share included breastfeeding, emotional comfort and reassurance, monitoring, better sleep for infant, family traditions and bonding.
Although bed sharing is not recommended, she said that mothers should know about infant sleeping suggestions.
"Infants should be sleeping in the supine position on their backs," she said.
"They should never be face down since they cannot lift their heads. They should also be on a firm surface without any pillows or blankets," she added.
The study appeared in the Maternal and Child Health Journal.