Influence of bedsharing activity on breastfeeding duration among US mothers

JAMA Pediatr. 2013 Nov;167(11):1038-44. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2632.


Importance: Some professional associations advocate bedsharing to facilitate breastfeeding, while others recommend against it to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and suffocation deaths. A better understanding of the quantitative influence of bedsharing on breastfeeding duration is needed to guide policy.

Objective: To quantify the influence of bedsharing on breastfeeding duration.

Design, setting, and participants: Longitudinal data were from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II, which enrolled mothers while pregnant and followed them through the first year of infant life. Questionnaires were sent at infant ages 1 to 7, 9, 10, and 12 months, and 1846 mothers answered at least 1 question regarding bedsharing and were breastfeeding at infant age 2 weeks.

Exposures: Bedsharing, defined as the mother lying down and sleeping with her infant on the same bed or other sleeping surfaces for nighttime sleep or during the major sleep period.

Main outcomes and measures: Survival analysis to investigate the effect of bedsharing on duration of any and exclusive breastfeeding.

Results: Longer duration of bedsharing, indicated by a larger cumulative bedsharing score, was associated with a longer duration of any breastfeeding but not exclusive breastfeeding, after adjusting for covariates. Breastfeeding duration was longer among women who were better educated, were white, had previously breastfed, had planned to breastfeed, and had not returned to work in the first year postpartum.

Conclusions and relevance: Multiple factors were associated with breastfeeding, including bedsharing. Given the risk of sudden infant death syndrome related to bedsharing, multipronged strategies to promote breastfeeding should be developed and tested.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beds
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care* / trends
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Sleep*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • United States