Co-Sleeping

Our newborn sleeps a lot better with us than she does in her own crib. I don’t want her to cry in there for hours. Why are doctors so down on co-sleeping?

Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: Many newborns and infants enjoy sleeping with a parent. Until recently, it wasn’t clear that this was a problem. Newer studies, however, show that co-sleeping substantially increases infants’ risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related infant deaths.

Ideally, you’d put your baby to bed drowsy but awake each time, so she learns to comfort herself. You can start by soothing her every five to ten minutes and then gradually lengthening the time you wait until you pick her up. Remember that many infants need to cry for a few minutes to transition from a wakeful to a sleeping state, and that this crying will not harm them.

David L. Hill, MD, a father of three children, a pediatrician in private practice in North Carolina, and the author of the upcoming book, Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro

Q&A by Wyatt Myers