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      Co-sleeping: Good or bad?

      Co-sleeping is the practice of parents sharing their room, or bed with their child, and it is very controversial in the United States.

      But in many non-western countries, it is considered strange to not share a bed with your baby.

      "It is natural for a mother and her infant to co-sleep. Why wouldn't you sleep with your baby?"

      This is the main argument of many co-sleep supporters when confronted about their reasons for practicing co-sleeping with their child.

      And according to J.J. McKenna's book, Co-sleeping and SIDS, Evolutionary Medicine (1999 London Oxford University Press), co-sleeping provides cues for infant breathing, which could prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

      "There's something unique about being a working mother, and that's a really big part of why co-sleeping works so well for us: because I don't get to see them during the day," said Jessica Thompson, a working mother of two and co-sleep supporter.

      So, is it safe?

      "The safest thing is for a baby to be in an approved crib or bassinet at the parents' bedside, but not actually in the bed with them, and all cribs should be inspected to make sure that they follow the most current safety standards," said Lori Marta, a Maternal/Infant Childcare Coordinator for the Marquette County Health Department.

      There are three types of co-sleeping. Bed sharing is when the child sleeps in bed with the parents. Another way is to use a co-sleeper bassinet or crib and attach it to the side of the parents' bed. Or, you can place a crib inside the same room as the parents.

      For the Thompson family, co-sleeping has always been the way to sleep.

      "Once it comes to sleeping, it's just a matter of where everyone's comfortable and what they need that day. And sometimes, our older daughter will just have a rough day. She's four, she's testing the world, and I think those days she just wants to snuggle at the end," Thompson said.

      Because the Thompson family members are all apart during the day; they spend their nights bonding, while sleeping.

      Bed share parents say having their child in bed with them helps the baby sleep better and creates a special bond between parent and child.

      But officials strongly advise against bed sharing, saying it poses a serious risk to the infants.

      "Most adult beds are too soft and have too many blankets, and it's not a safe situation for babies," Marta said.

      Ultimately, it is up to the parents to decided whether they will co-sleep or bed share with their child or not.

      For more information about co-sleeping, click here and here.