Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
Bed Sharing in the First 6 Months
June 6, 2022

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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

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A Healthy Child Needs a Healthy Brain, A Healthy Brain Needs Healthy Sleep

If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.

Blog 82Bed Sharing in the First 6 Months


A 2021 study by Drs. Ayten Bilgin and Dieter Wolke examined babies at term (about 40 weeks gestational age), 3, 6, and 18 months.  They investigated whether bed-sharing during the first 6 months was associated with specific outcomes, shown below, at 18 months:

• Infant-mother attachment

• Infant behavioral outcomes

• Maternal bonding

• Maternal sensitivity

• Maternal depressive symptoms

• Infant night-waking and latency to sleep

• Breast feeding

Conclusion:  At 18 months of age, bed-sharing during the first 6 months is associated with none of the outcomes, shown above, except for more frequent night-waking.  

“Infants who were bed-sharing had higher frequency of night-waking consistently over the first 18 months.  Thus, these findings suggest that concurrent infant sleeping difficulties [frequent night waking at 18 months] are associated with bed-sharing rather than the influence of preexisting difficulties in sleeping.”    In other words, in this study, the direction of effects is not that early infant sleep difficulties causes bed-sharing, rather, it is early infant bed-sharing, beginning at term, that causes sleep difficulties at 3, 6, and 18 months.

“Thus, there is not yet enough evidence to support or refute the primary message of the supporters of bed-sharing, which suggests that bed sharing is an evolutionary meaningful and natural practice with several benefits to the infant and mother.”

Bed-sharing is discouraged by the American Academy of Pediatrics because it increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.


  1. How do we transition out of co-sleeping? My son is 12 weeks and won’t fall asleep unless he’s on the breast. Even in his sleep he looks to nuzzle in. I’ve tried a dummy but he won’t take it. In the day he won’t sleep unless he’s fed to sleep and then wakes if I put him in his cot or moses basket downstairs. He does sleep in his pram / in the car but wakes when the movement stops. I’ve tried rocking him to sleep which gets him to drift off, he just can’t stay asleep and wakes within 10 minutes. Grateful for any advice.

    1. First, determine exactly what is your goal.
      Second, read the Chapter on Sleep Solutions in my book and choose one that comports with your values.
      Then, I might be able to give you some individualized advice.

  2. Primary aim is to have him sleeping in his cot (which is a ‘next to me cot’ beside our bed. He also naps in My arms and wakes up after 5-20minutes after I put him down so learning to self settle is also a priority. My husband and I would choose to try Extinction.

    1. Excellent. I suggest that you start on a Friday night so there is more help during the day on the week-end. Please keep a written record and start only if you can commit to a 3-5 day trial. Because he is 12 weeks of age and night sleep rhythms begins to get organized at 6 weeks of age, focus on night sleep. Day sleep rhythms begin to develop around 4-6 months of age, so you might do whatever works during the day to maximize sleep and minimize crying, for now. Try to keep the intervals of wakefulness brief during the day to prevent presleep arousal.

      To help you succeed, please read or reread Blog Posts 25, 26, 71, 105-107, and 155.
      Please let me know how it goes.

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