Child Sleep Expert Raises the Question: Co-Sleeping, Risk, Benefit, or Both?

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Expert Gentle Sleep Coach and founder of Sleeping Little Dreamers, Ancy Lewis, comments on the co-sleeping controversy.

Parents receive conflicting information and research on co-sleeping with their baby. (Photo credit:

Unfortunately a lot of co-sleeping happens impulsively, without full knowledge and when parents are sleep deprived.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a new parent’s worst nightmare. According to a March 5, 2014 USA Today video feature story titled ‘Co-sleeping dangers focus of new campaign,' firefighters in cities, like Milwaukee, Wisconsin, have begun a door-to-door campaign to warn parents of the risk of co-sleeping. Ancy Lewis, sleep expert of Sleeping Little Dreamers, reviews the conflicting information on the dangers and benefits of co-sleeping for parents with newborn babies.

Co-sleeping has recently been highly publicized as a danger to infants. While this month’s USA Today feature story highlights the growing concern that many parents have with the practice of co-sleeping, research on the issue provides highly conflicting information on how much risk co-sleeping imposes on a child.

Dr. William Sears, a long-time pediatrician and “Attachment Parenting” guru, reports that co-sleeping including bed-sharing, is actually beneficial for an infant. Dr. Sears argues that many more infants die when sleeping alone in a crib than when sleeping in their parents’ bed. He believes instead of eliminating the practice all together, parents should approach it safely and with best practice precautions.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has an opposing view, and feels bed-sharing poses a very high risk of SIDS. Sleep Coach Lewis acknowledges the risks and benefits of co-sleeping and believes the bottom line is parents will make an informed decision on co-sleeping even if there are risks.

“Parents need to be properly informed of all risks and benefits, and ways to minimize the co-sleeping risks,” said Lewis. “It would benefit parents to make a well-educated decision ahead of time. Unfortunately a lot of co-sleeping happens impulsively, without full knowledge and when parents are sleep deprived.”

Lewis finds most parents are desperate for a quick fix of sleep and will co-sleep re-actively when their child wakes up multiple times. In addition to education on the risks and benefits of co-sleeping, information and guidance to parents on how to enforce healthy sleep habits in children can promote healthier responses from parents.

Lewis in her most recent children’s sleep blog post, examines the pros and cons of co-sleeping and provides parents tips to ending co-sleeping:

About Sleeping Little Dreamers:

Sleeping Little Dreamers is devoted to providing Sleep Coaching services to parents of children ages 6 months to 6 years with sleep issues. Owned by a social worker, Sleeping Little Dreamers offers individualized sleep consultations that address the needs, values and parenting philosophies of each family. Sleep consultations can be done by phone with parents all over the world, or in person for those in the Westchester County, NY area. With the collaboration and support of Sleeping Little Dreamers, parents have either experienced vast improvements in their child’s sleep or a complete resolution of sleep issues.

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Ancy Lewis
since: 05/2013
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Sleeping Little Dreamers
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