Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Breastfeed Rev. 2012 Nov;20(3):7-17.

Analysis of the ethical issues in the breastfeeding and bedsharing debate.

Author information

  • 1School of Nursing and Midwifery at Murdoch University. [corrected]

Erratum in

  • Breastfeed Rev. 2013 Mar;21(1):20.


Recommendations advising against mothers and their infants sharing a bed during sleep (bedsharing) have sparked heated debate in recent years, the effects of which are that bedsharing is now most often only considered in the polarised contexts of being either 'the norm' or 'inherently unsafe'. This has resulted in significant tensions between supporters of bedsharing and public health bodies who seek to eliminate the risks associated with SIDS. This paper considers the issues surrounding this debate by examining the evidence associated with bedsharing, SIDS and breastfeeding. This is undertaken using Baum's six-step framework for analysing potential ethical tensions in public health policy, which includes the principles of utility, evidence base and effectiveness of action, fairness, accountability, costs and burdens, and community acceptance. This framework has allowed us to examine the competing principles involved in the bedsharing and breastfeeding debate, and arrive at a position constructed using ethical considerations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk