Assumption: Newborn babies should sleep by themselves in a crib because adult beds are too dangerous for them.
A new study out of South Africa finds that babies who are 2 days old experience higher levels of stress and do not get as much beneficial sleep if they are not next to their mothers during sleep.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics has begun to encourage room sharing, they have not yet encouraged bed sharing. It is the skin to skin contact with the mother that was measured in this study. I think that too many women are scared away from bringing their babies to bed with them. The fact is that if a bed is prepared to welcome baby, it can be perfectly safe and, according to this study, saf*er* than a crib. Problems occur when moms have not been educated about how to make the bed safe and only bring the baby to bed because the mom is exhausted and has no other options. By this point, the bed is not prepared, the mom is not in good shape, and there are dangers. Sleeping with baby is normal and healthy and should be seen as a viable option in our society. For a quick list of precautions, see http://pregnancy.about.com/od/familybed/a/cosleeping.htm.