156570 Infant feeding practices and mother-infant bedsharing: Is there an association? Results from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II

Monday, November 5, 2007: 5:10 PM

Fern R. Hauck, MD, MS , Department of Family Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA
Caroline Signore, MD, MPH , Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch, NICHD, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
Sara B. Fein, PhD , Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, College Park, MD
Tonse N. K. Raju, MD , Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch, NICHD, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
Mother-infant bedsharing (sleeping together at night in the same bed) is becoming more prevalent. While some encourage the practice to facilitate breastfeeding, others discourage it as a potential risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome and infant suffocation. To better characterize these practices, we evaluated the association between bedsharing and infant feeding among 2,450 participants in the national Infant Feeding Practices Study II. Also, we examined infant sleep positions and mothers' reasons for choosing to bedshare or not to bedshare. 62% of the mothers breastfed their infants at three months and 60% of the nursing mothers exclusively breastfed. 892 (44%) mothers reported bedsharing for some amount of time; 52% of them bedshared every night, 44% slept all night with their infant when they bedshared, and 40% for the last part of the night only. Bedsharing was more common among breastfeeding mothers (50%) than among exclusive formula-feeders (34%, P<.0001). Among those who bedshared, breastfeeding was more common than formula-feeding (71% versus 29%, P<.0001). The reasons given for bedsharing by breastfeeders versus formula-feeders, respectively, were: to comfort a fussy infant, 62% and 74%; for feeding, 82% and 24%; to help both sleep better, 66% and 62%; and for bonding, 49% and 50%.The most common reasons for not bedsharing by breastfeeders and formula-feeders, respectively, included: safety concerns, 89% and 85% and difficulty getting the baby to sleep in a crib when older, 54% and 52%. In conclusion, bedsharing and breastfeeding are strongly associated. The policy implications of these findings will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the sleeping arrangements women choose for their infants. This includes where the infant is put to bed at night, whether or not bedsharing occurs, and if so, with whom, and why women choose to bedshare or not to bedshare. 2. Assess the association between breastfeeding and bedsharing. 3. Recognize the proportion of women who follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for infant sleep positioning. 4. Identify differences in feeding, sleeping, and positioning practices by race-ethnicity and other sociodemographic characteristics. 5. Evaluate policy implications and practice guidelines in relation to infant feeding and sleeping arrangements.

Keywords: Breast Feeding, Infant Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.