Is Bedsharing Safe? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone want to discuss this? Someone brought it up on another thread and I thought it would be better to start our own thread to discuss the data on safe bedsharing.

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#2 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Safe bedsharing guidelines... http://www.safebedsharing.org/safetyguidelines.html

 

Sids: A Parent's Guide to Understanding and Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome -

This book is OOP but is a good read if you come across a copy - http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/0316779539

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#3 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Here is Dr. McKenna's website with information on his work at the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory - http://cosleeping.nd.edu/

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#4 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 09:54 AM
 
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I do know who Dr. McKenna is, I looking into bedsharing studies and the risks and benefits when I was in college for early childhood education and again when I started my doula training. I'm not de-valuing the benefits and I know there are many many benefits. I also see no problem having a baby sleep with you as long as you are awake to monitor them. But, once again, I draw the line at actually sleeping with baby as being safe. If a pillow, sheet or blanket is moved just enough toward baby he/she could turn/roll/lean into it enough to suffocate. It is a fact that it happens and it just does more so than I am comfortable with. When I originally posted I just wanted to state an opinion that hadn't been expressed yet, not start a super debate.

I know this website and thus forums are more natural and holistic in nature but I often feel like other opinions are simply disregarded as ridiculous myths even thu they had solid evidence to back them up. You cannot say a baby dying from suffocating in a bedsharing environment is not do to the bedsharing. I don't think there are enough deaths a year to call it an epidemic or to judge those who do it. But there are enough for my point to be valid and not questioned as simple mindedness. I have a good point and facts to back me up. Just as I know you have a good point in the multiple benefits of bedsharing and the facts to support them.

All I'm asking for is acknowledgement that my points are valid. I'm not asking anyone to agree with me just to understand why I feel the way I feel on the subject.
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#5 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 10:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by FlintDoula View Post

I do know who Dr. McKenna is, I looking into bedsharing studies and the risks and benefits when I was in college for early childhood education and again when I started my doula training. I'm not de-valuing the benefits and I know there are many many benefits. I also see no problem having a baby sleep with you as long as you are awake to monitor them. But, once again, I draw the line at actually sleeping with baby as being safe. If a pillow, sheet or blanket is moved just enough toward baby he/she could turn/roll/lean into it enough to suffocate. It is a fact that it happens and it just does more so than I am comfortable with. When I originally posted I just wanted to state an opinion that hadn't been expressed yet, not start a super debate.

I know this website and thus forums are more natural and holistic in nature but I often feel like other opinions are simply disregarded as ridiculous myths even thu they had solid evidence to back them up. You cannot say a baby dying from suffocating in a bedsharing environment is not do to the bedsharing. I don't think there are enough deaths a year to call it an epidemic or to judge those who do it. But there are enough for my point to be valid and not questioned as simple mindedness. I have a good point and facts to back me up. Just as I know you have a good point in the multiple benefits of bedsharing and the facts to support them.

All I'm asking for is acknowledgement that my points are valid. I'm not asking anyone to agree with me just to understand why I feel the way I feel on the subject.

 

I don't think your points are going to be acknowledged as valid w/o something to back them up.  Do you have any links you want to share?

 

Sus


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#6 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am not aware of anyone saying that babies don't die in bedsharing situations, so I am not really sure what you are asking acknowledgement for. Yes, babies die in bedsharing situations. The question is why and what can we do to make the bedsharing situation safest for the baby. If babies never died from suffocation in cribs, then maybe it wouldn't even be a question of which is safer. But they do.

 

You stated that 50 children a year die every year in bedsharing accidents. I would like to see a source for that number if you have it.

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#7 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#9 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 10:24 AM
 
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Like I said I'm not interested in debate so I'll give you a few links that explain things in copious detail and some that are more clef-notes versions, the most informative being the SIDS research done by the AAP. But then I will let other people comment on the subject, I'm sure 98-99% of them will agree with you Sus winky.gif But it was a fun discussion and I enjoyed hearing (seeing? reading?) your passion on the subject. 

 

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/10/12/peds.2011-2285.full.pdf+html

 

http://www.familypracticenews.com/news/more-top-news/single-view/aap-s-new-sids-stoppers-cleared-cribs-no-cosleeping/a7e304621a4446ce12e62ae40c2e1e35.html

 

http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sleep/cosleeping.html

 

http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2011.300613?prevSearch=%5BContrib%3A+Schnitzer%5D&searchHistoryKey=&&

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#10 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 10:30 AM
 
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I love a good thread that discusses the available research we have on an NFL/AP subject!  We bed share and have for both our kids. Unlike homebirth,  vaccinations, discipline, and education, bed sharing isn't something I've done a whole lot of research on. It felt in the realm of breastfeeding to me in that it seems so logical that I didn't ever question it. I'd like to read along. 

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#11 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 10:48 AM
 
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I just had a quick look at one of these articles... and am wondering if the person quoted here has any knowledge care of an infant?  No wonder they don't support cosleeping... they don't even support sofas and arm chairs. 

Quote:
"Because of the extremely high risk of SIDS and suffocation on couches and armchairs, infants should never be fed on a couch or armchair when there is a high risk that the parent might fall asleep,"

The reality of this article in particular is that they are lumping co-sleeping with unsupported cosleeping habits AND dangerous crib sleeping situations along with safe cosleeping. Here they even quote something that is just odd phrasing: 

Quote:
In fact, cosleeping can put the infant at risk of smothering under heavy covers, airway obstruction if an adult limb falls across its face, and even overheating – a recognized SIDS risk factor.

What I would want to know is, "Can it or does it?"  Why not tell us the stats here? Why not give us a number of safe co-sleeping incidents of children with SIDS in this article? 

 

All proponents of co-sleeping discuss antidotes to the above concerns. 

 

And this: 

Quote:
The AAP policy stresses the protective influence of breastfeeding, but notes that infants who come to the adults’ bed for nighttime nursing should go back to their own crib after feeding.

:headscratch. So we can nurse in bed but not on a sofa? Cuz we may fall asleep on the sofa? #confusing. 

 

And this: 

Quote:
Immunizations also protect against SIDS, so it’s critical to keep babies up to date with vaccinations, she said.

Really?  

 

My opinion on this article in particular (I haven't read the others yet) is that it's just really not enough information for a parent to make a decision. The lack of data and links make me feel a bit disrespected as a reader. Like, "Hey, this is written by a doctor so you just read and listen."  Though maybe it is intended for other doctors?  I can't imagine there is enough information for a doctor to advise patients off of though...?  


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#12 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 10:55 AM
 
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Jumping on here to say that my post above comes off as sarcastic. If you are reading that tone, I admit that there is a bit but it is 100% directed at the article, not to any members and not to those who have researched and found cosleeping not to be right for their family. I do take issue with public health giving advice that is as jumbled as the above article seemed to me but I absolutely support any families choices to sleep safely, however that works for them!  

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#13 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 12:45 PM
 
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good grief, how do vaccines help prevent SIDS?  Last I checked the association went the other direction.  I suppose they also make you taller, smarter, and better looking, too?

 

Yeah, I get a little annoyed with the superficial and logically flawed arguments I typically see against bed sharing.  I have three kids and have slept with all of them as babies, and will do so again with my fourth.  I do it in part as a protective measure because I feel like a new LO is too vulnerable sleeping alone without their mother's body to help regulate things.  I do want to try a cosleeper this time around because we have big 2 yo DS in the bed with us and I don't see that changing anytime soon. 


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Of any parenting issue, this is one I feel perhaps the most conflicted about. I'm not going to link to studies; there isn't great data out there, but the lowest infant mortality rates tend towards being in breastfeeding babies of nonsmokers sleeping in the same room but in their own bed/crib. I got an Arms Reach CoSleeper for my baby and very quickly realized that even side carred close wasn't enough. DS nursed about every 2 hrs minimum for 30-40 min at a time and just wouldn't settle at night when he wasn't right against me. I would have lost my mind if I hadn't taken him into bed with me. So that's what I did. I woke quickly at any sound from DS. Kept a pillow and a sheet. I can't 100% justify it by all the current research but the current research is not real persuasive either way. I know bedsharing made sleep and nursing possible in my family. The most recent meta analysis had to massage that data _hard_ to come to the conclusion that bed sharing was linked to SIDS in breastfef infants with no other risk factors.

I don't see what's so hard to believe about the higher risk of sleeping with your infant in an armchair, though. All those nooks and crannies.

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#15 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 01:49 PM
 
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I don't see what's so hard to believe about the higher risk of sleeping with your infant in an armchair, though. All those nooks and crannies.

If you're talking about my post, it's not that I don't think armchair or sofa sleeping isn't risky (you won't find any co-sleeping advocate recommend that), it's the phrasing the article used. 

 

Here's the wording I found funny: 

Quote:
"Because of the extremely high risk of SIDS and suffocation on couches and armchairs, infants should never be fed on a couch or armchair when there is a high risk that the parent might fall asleep,"

The reason I find it funny is two fold. For one, sorry, but all moms of newborns are at risk of falling asleep. We're tired. And the article acknowledges that mothers will tend to want to nurse in bed, which they seemed to endorse so long as the mom put the baby back in the crib after nursing.  

 

This getting to what I suspect is really going on here - a public health warning that wants to come out STRONGLY against unsafe bed sharing...that doesn't trust families to be able to hear that message so they just come out against all bed/surface sleep sharing. 

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#16 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Regarding the armchairs and couches, this is one of the reasons I am so in favor of teaching parents safe bedsharing practices. I believe that the anti-bedsharing message forces exhausted mothers into situations where the child is in more danger because mom fell asleep while sitting up on the couch, recliner, armchair, whatever. These are not safe bedsharing surfaces and the risk of the child slipping down between the cracks is why it is not safe.

 

From Dr. McKenna's FAQs - "To be sure, infants should never sleep on recliners, couches or sofas, with or without adults wherein they can slip down (face first) into the crevice or get wedged against the back of a couch, or fall between pillow seats." http://cosleeping.nd.edu/frequently-asked-questions/

 

 

Eta: Agree with you Identity that it was worded funny. If a momma is in danger of falling asleep on the couch, she is just as much in danger of falling asleep on the bed. So I am not sure why the discrepancy unless they are admitting that they know the bed is a safer place to be.

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#17 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 01:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

If you're talking about my post, it's not that I don't think armchair or sofa sleeping isn't risky (you won't find any co-sleeping advocate recommend that), it's the phrasing the article used. 

Here's the wording I found funny: 
The reason I find it funny is two fold. For one, sorry, but all moms of newborns are at risk of falling asleep. We're tired. And the article acknowledges that mothers will tend to want to nurse in bed, which they seemed to endorse so long as the mom put the baby back in the crib after nursing.  

This getting to what I suspect is really going on here - a public health warning that wants to come out STRONGLY against unsafe bed sharing...that doesn't trust families to be able to hear that message so they just come out against all bed/surface sleep sharing. 

I see what you mean. That was a ridiculous statement. I guess he's recommending we only nurse our newborns on armless wooden chairs?
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#18 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Of any parenting issue, this is one I feel perhaps the most conflicted about.

 

It is. Shortly after my youngest was born there were reports in our local newspaper that several children had died recently in our county and the one over, during bedsharing accidents. At least one of these was occurred on a couch but there wasn't enough data given to really analyze the situation further. But it forced me to go digging into the research again too. And my decision was that when safe bedsharing guidelines are followed, bedsharing deaths are rare and for us it meant enough sleep, and therefore sanity, for me which is what my own child needed.

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#19 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dr McKenna has a great response to the one-size fits all anti-bedsharing campaigns - http://cosleeping.nd.edu/frequently-asked-questions/#40

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#20 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Regarding the links above... I don't take medical organizations advice or statements as authoritative and I don't believe they should speak as though it is. Their point may be to reach as large an audience as possible in as brief of time as possible, but that kind of talk doesn't work for me.

 

The American Journal of Public Health - not enough info in the abstract to know what exactly they studied or concluded. But here are some brief thoughts on what was there...


 

Quote:

 

Only 25% of infants were sleeping in a crib or on their back when found;

 

What do they mean by this? Only 25% of infants were both in a crib *and* on their back? There was a total of 25% of infants that were either in their crib in either position or not in their crib but on their back??? If the latter, hopefully they separated that data in the study.

 

 

Quote:
70% were on a surface not intended for infant sleep (e.g., adult bed).

 

Were all 70% in an adult bed or were some of them on other surfaces? Would be nice to see a breakdown but I am not paying to read the whole thing.

 

 

Quote:
Importantly, 64% of infants were sharing a sleep surface, and almost half of these infants were sleeping with an adult.

 

Again, what sleep surface? And were the parents following safe bedsharing guidelines?It doesn't appear so... If almost half of these infants were sleeping with an adult, that means more than half were sleeping with another child, which is against safe bedsharing guidelines.

 

Other children are not safe bed companions for an infant. They do not have the same instincts as momma and we have never allowed this to take place. If we have two children in bed, the older one is always way on the other side of my hubby with the newborn and me on the opposite side.


 

Quote:

 

Infants whose deaths were classified as suffocation or undetermined cause were significantly more likely than were infants whose deaths were classified as SIDS to be found on a surface not intended for infant sleep and to be sharing that sleep surface.

 

This is interesting because didn't the other article state that bedsharing was a risk factor for SIDS? Yet it appeared to have occured far more often in cribs than in bedsharing.

 

It isn't surprising to me that bedsharing deaths were usually the result of suffocation. That is the primary risk of bedsharing and is what safe bedsharing guidelines meant to prevent or greatly reduce the incidence of. According to the above statistic, it appears to me that at least half of these children were not in situations where safe bedsharing guidelines were being followed.

 



 

 
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#21 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Regarding the AAP link... I am just skimming, but I am seeing a lot of good info, along with the message that because certain situations make bedsharing more dangerous then we need to just make a blanket recommendation against it. I don't like to make decisions for my family based on that kind of method.

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#22 of 82 Old 06-25-2013, 02:57 PM
 
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We are all coming here with love for our children and want to do what is best for them and our families' various situations. I think a lot of us have the question, "How can we most safely bedshare" in mind. I suppose that would be a whole 'nother thread, though.

 

I know that my frustration is based on the fact that so many government campaigns are releasing these blanket statements to never sleep with your children, when, if done safely lends lots of benefits, especially to breastfeeding mothers.

 

Thanks, fruitfulmomma, for making a new thread here. (Oh, and I am new...how can I link your user name into the body of this message?)

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Quote:
Thanks, fruitfulmomma, for making a new thread here. (Oh, and I am new...how can I link your user name into the body of this message?)

You're welcome and I have no idea on the link issue, sorry.

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#24 of 82 Old 06-26-2013, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is good... http://babycalm.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/sids-risks-and-realities-a-response-to-recent-findings-on-bedsharing-and-sids-risk-the-carpenter-research/

 

The author is discussing problems with the latest meta-analysis on bedsharing.

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#25 of 82 Old 06-26-2013, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
"How can we most safely bedshare" in mind. I suppose that would be a whole 'nother thread, though.

You are welcome to discuss that here. Posts #2 and #3 have links to basic safe bedsharing guidelines for anyone who wants to review or hasn't yet become familiar with.

 

One thing I am really seeing in the numbers of these studies is the importance of sleep position. I have not always been consistent with the back to sleep thing, sometimes preferring a side-lying position, which while it doesn't appear to raise the risks as high as tummy sleeping, does still have some increased risks it appears. I think I will be more diligent in keeping any future babes on their backs until they can roll over themselves.

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#26 of 82 Old 06-26-2013, 08:18 AM
 
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As a mother of a victim of SIDS, I have done a ton of research on the issue and I have come to the conclusion that I believe bedsharing to be as safe as anything else. That being said, my infants sleep in cribs- mainly because they are monitored.

 

SIDS happens anywhere and everywhere- babies die in cribs, babies die in mama's bed, babies die in carseats, in bassinets, paci or no paci, breastfeeding, eating formula, not vaccinated, vaccinated, with fans on and without fans on. There are things that can help prevent it, according to studies and statistics, but in the research I've done it seems that has only been one major thing in the past two decades that we have seen conclusive research proving that it reduces SIDS: put your baby to sleep on his back. 

 

Personally, the thing that I hear and see mom's doing all the time that I think is way more unsafe than bedsharing is swaddling a baby that is old enough to roll over on his belly and get stuck. 


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#27 of 82 Old 06-26-2013, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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One questions I have about back-to-sleep, if anyone has come across any info, is what about nap time? I often will sit at the computer to do work while baby is having a nap, which sometimes means baby is chest to chest with me in an upright position. Same with if we are in the store and baby falls asleep in the sling. Does this go against back-to-sleep guidelines?

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#28 of 82 Old 06-26-2013, 09:27 AM
 
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Adeline's Mama, YES, back to sleep. I didn't find that it conflicted with bed sharing at all. Side lying to nurse, then rolled baby onto his back.

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One pet peeve of mine is that NO ONE ever discusses the fact that there is NO organization who states that putting your baby to sleep in another room is @ all a safe choice. However, socially, if I were to lose a baby to SIDS in a crib down the hall, I wouldn't face the scrutiny that I would if the baby was in my bed. That is not science, it is US Cultural Bias, which is about as valid to me as a McDonald's Hamburger with a side of GMO Fries. No one writes articles about the Formula Feeding factor when a baby dies of SIDS either, even tho the risk is increased 70%.

 

I have looked @ all the science and it seems clear to me that the absolute safest spot is on a separate surface, right next to the mother's bed. However Breastfeeding is a HUGE SIDS reducer, so many allowances must be made to allow Breastfeeding to no only occur but succeed greatly. 

 

With my next baby I am going to try the Finnish Box, in my room, next to my side of the bed.

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#30 of 82 Old 06-26-2013, 12:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dinahx View Post

One pet peeve of mine is that NO ONE ever discusses the fact that there is NO organization who states that putting your baby to sleep in another room is @ all a safe choice. However, socially, if I were to lose a baby to SIDS in a crib down the hall, I wouldn't face the scrutiny that I would if the baby was in my bed. That is not science, it is US Cultural Bias,

I really agree with this!  Great point. 


Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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Co Sleepers , Co Sleeping And The Family Bed , Co Sleeping With Older Kids , Family Bed

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