The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has released its updated Bedsharing and Breastfeeding Protocol. The protocol presents evidence-based recommendations synthesized by an international collaboration of authorities on the topic who conducted a rigorous review of the literature.

Aimed at physicians and other health care professionals caring for families who have initiated breastfeeding, the protocol recognizes that bedsharing promotes breastfeeding.  In contrast to recommendations by some organizations, breastfeeding mothers and infants are not advised against bedsharing, as long as no hazardous circumstances exist. The protocol emphasizes that all parents should be educated on safe bedsharing, recognizing that bedsharing is very common, and when bedsharing is unplanned, it carries a higher risk of infant death than planned bedsharing.

Hazardous circumstances include sleeping with an adult on a sofa or armchair; sleeping next to an adult impaired by alcohol, medications, or illicit drugs; tobacco exposure; preterm birth; and never having initiated breastfeeding… Read more here…

By Melissa Bartick, MD, MSc, FABM is an internist at Cambridge Health Alliance and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School.