The NHS recommends exclusive breastfeeding for around the first six months. It has been associated with less chance of diarrhea and vomiting, fewer chest and ear infections, less likelihood of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses later in life. The longer breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits.
Sleeping with babies can boost breastfeeding, suggests a new study by the Durham University. The study also suggested that mothers who share the bed with their babies for at least an hour a week are more likely to carry on breastfeeding for longer, but those who go to the baby's cot are more likely to stop breastfeeding before six months.
Researcher Helen Ball said, "In this paper we showed that mothers with the strongest intent to breastfeed are the ones who sleep with their babies the most. These mothers therefore need information on how to make bed-sharing while breastfeeding as safe as possible. Given the complex relationship between bed-sharing and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) appropriate guidance balancing risk minimization with support for breastfeeding mothers is crucial."