Breastfeeding mothers have slept in the same room, and often on the same sleeping surface, with their infants for as long as there have been humans on this earth. Only in recent history, with so much research being done on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the safety and risks of bed sharing, and the health benefits of breast milk versus infant formula have doctors even given it a name. Breastsleeping is the newest term for breastfeeding moms and babies who co-sleep. Even though this sleeping arrangement has a long history, there are some breastsleeping risks you should be aware of.
Doctors James McKenna, director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory, and Lee Gettler, director of the Hormones, Health, and Human Behavior Laboratory, both at the University of Notre Dame, coined the term in a peer-reviewed commentary piece in the journal Acta Paediatrica titled, "There is No Such Thing as Infant Sleep, There is No Such Thing as Breastfeeding, There is Only Breastsleeping." The anthropologists argue that not only can breastsleeping be safe if the rules for bed-sharing are applied, but the nourishment a child receives while breastfeeding can help lower the risk of SIDS. But that is under the assumption that parents follow the safety guideline. Otherwise breastsleeping can come with some of these risks.