New Research on Bedsharing and Infant Breathing

Berthe Morisot [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A study published online last week [1] in the journal Pediatrics gives new information on the breathing environment for bedsharing and crib-sleeping infants. Dr. Sally Baddock and colleagues from the University of Otago in New Zealand conducted the study.

This study included 40 routinely bedsharing infants and 40 routinely crib-sleeping infants, all of which were healthy and between 0 and 6 months old. Few mothers in the study were smokers, and most of them breastfed.

The infants and mothers were videotaped on two consecutive nights. On the second night, the babies were also fitted with several sensors for physiological measurements. Their blood oxygen was measured by pulse oximetry. Other sensors measured breathing rate, and thermometers measured body temperature during the night. The air in the space directly around the infant was also sampled periodically through a small tube attached to the infant’s face. Although these measurements bring to mind a picture of lots of tubes and wires, the authors say, “All leads were secured to allow mothers to handle infants freely during the night.”

The purpose of the study was to better understand the breathing environment for bedsharing and crib-sleeping infants. Specifically, the study reported two main measures: Continue reading