The objective of this study was to investigate whether bed-sharing during the first 6 months of life is associated with infant's attachment and behavioral outcomes and mother's bonding and sensitive parenting at 18 months of age.
The sample with complete longitudinal data comprised 178 infants and their caretakers. Bed-sharing was assessed with maternal report at term, 3, 6, and 18 months. Infant attachment was measured at 18 months using the strange situation procedure. Infant behavioral outcomes (i.e., poor attention/hyperactivity and task persistence) were assessed with 2 observational measures at 18 months. Maternal sensitivity was observed at 3 and 18 months, and mothers reported on bonding to their infant at term, 3, and 18 months.
Bed-sharing was common at term (41.2%), which decreased at 3 months (22.6%) followed by a slight increase at 6 (27.5%) and 18 months of age (31.3%). No associations between bed-sharing during the first 6 months and infant-mother attachment and infant behavioral outcomes at 18 months were found. Similarly, there were no associations between bed-sharing during the first 6 months and maternal bonding and sensitivity at consequent assessment points (i.e., 3 and 18 months).
Bed-sharing during the first 6 months is not associated with positive or negative outcomes about infant-mother attachment, infant behavior, maternal bonding, or sensitive parenting.