Are There Health Benefits to Co-Bedding?

Co-bedding of premature multiple-birth babies is a practice being implemented in many neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Co-bedding is based on the idea that babies who grow and develop together in the mother’s womb become used to having each other nearby. When these multiple babies are born and placed in separate beds, they may be difficult to comfort and settle without the presence of the other baby or babies.

Co-bedding gives the babies back the comfort of the other multiples and may help them develop similar sleep and wake patterns. Studies are currently underway with premature multiples to show whether co-bedding has a positive effect on their growth and recovery.

Multiple-birth babies in the NICU may be co-bedded in the same incubator or open warmer bed once they are stable and without infection. All the equipment and medications must be carefully labeled and checked. Caregiving can be timed when both/all babies are ready.

Consult your babies’ physician for more information about co-bedding in the NICU and safe-sleep practices for infants at home. Thus far, no research has supported the practice of co-bedding multiples at home. There may in fact be an increased risk of SIDS with this practice.


Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Jovino, DO

Date Last Reviewed: 4/2/2010

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