Have you slept with your baby in bed with you and do you think that's the right thing to do? Parents who sleep alongside their baby in bed or on the sofa could be putting the newborn at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the health advisory body has warned.
But the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) stopped short of telling parents to stop the practice, admitting that health professionals are "stuck between a rock and a hard place" because of conflicts over breastfeeding.
Instead, updated guidance published today intends only to make parents aware of an association between co-sleeping with their baby in a bed, on a sofa or on a chair - even occasionally - and an increased risk of SIDS up to the age of one year.
The link is greater when a parent, including a partner, smokes, drinks alcohol or take drugs prior to co-sleeping or if the baby was born prematurely or with a low birthweight.
More than 200 babies in England and Wales die unexpectedly in their sleep every year for no apparent reason, most commonly between the ages of four weeks and 12 weeks.
Professor Mark Baker, Nice's clinical practice director, said he understood the new guidance could be confusing but believed it was better for parents to make individual decisions about co-sleeping.
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