Breastfeeding rates in the United States continue to fall short of Healthy People 2020 goals. Bedsharing has been promoted as a way of increasing breastfeeding durations.
We used prospectively collected Oregon Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) and PRAMS-2 data from 2276 women to explore whether bedsharing frequency predicts age at weaning. Bedsharing was assessed at 14 weeks after birth (PRAMS), and duration of breastfeeding was assessed at 2 years after birth (PRAMS-2). Cox proportional hazards models controlled for primiparity, cesarean birth, marital status, employment status, maternal race and ethnicity, and pregravid body mass index.
Women in this sample reported high rates of bedsharing: only 15.7% of PRAMS respondents said they never shared a bed with their infant. We also observed a dose-response association between bedsharing frequency and breastfeeding duration when the analysis controlled for covariables: women who reported more frequent bedsharing at 14 weeks postpartum were more likely to wean later. Hazard ratios ranged from 1.18 (95% CI, 1.02-1.35) for “often” versus “always” bedsharing to 1.92 (95% CI, 1.66-2.24) for “never” versus “always.” In other words, at any given infant age, women who always bedshared were more likely to keep breastfeeding. Women who always bedshared at 14 weeks postpartum breastfed their infant for a median of 13 months (95% CI, 12-14), compared with 10 months (95% CI, 9-11) for women who never bedshared at 14 weeks.
Although we cannot rule out confounding by breastfeeding intention, our results suggest that bedsharing in early infancy might lead to later weaning. Regardless of infant feeding method, given the frequency of bedsharing reported by women in this and other samples, clinicians encountering pregnant and postpartum women should teach safe bedsharing practices.
Find the full text
Subscription only. To request a copy, contact us here
Bovbjerg ML, Hill JA, Uphoff AE, Rosenberg KD. Bed-sharing reported at 14 weeks is associated with breastfeeding duration over the first two years: Oregon Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health 2018 Jul; 63(4): 418-24.