There is little published research regarding co-sleeping and bed sharing in maternity units. As primary carers of mothers and infants, midwives' knowledge and practice may influence cosleeping and bed sharing.AIM:
To assess clinical midwives' knowledge and practice surrounding co-sleeping and bed sharing in maternity units in the initial postpartum period.METHODS:
A nationwide electronic survey assessed clinical knowledge and self-reported clinical practice and personal experiences of co-sleeping and bed sharing.FINDINGS:
Eighty-six registered midwives from 48 hospitals responded to the survey. The majority responded with best practice to hypothetical scenarios. Mother-infant co-sleeping/bed sharing in maternity units was observed by 64% of midwives. All midwives reported providing some education to parents and most (80%) had received education on co-sleeping/bed sharing.CONCLUSION:
Co-sleeping and bed sharing are relatively common in postnatal maternity units. Clinical practice documents should be consistent with the UNICEF guidelines, and midwives should be supported to implement best practice.