Background: To date few studies have examined how multiple layers of influences shape the emergence of bed-sharing practices in the first 2. years postpartum. In our report, we examined bed-sharing in a large multiethnic sample, exploring the influences of three broad classes of influence on bed-sharing at single time points and across time: (1) sociodemographic and (2) contextual factors such as breastfeeding, maternal mental health and stress, and (3) child temperament and sleep habits. Methods: Frequencies of bed-sharing were assessed at two time points, 2 and 24. months, in a population-based multiethnic (Dutch, Turkish or Moroccan, and Caribbean) sample of 6309 children born in the Netherlands. Results: In Dutch mothers, the majority of mothers did not share their beds with their child, and bed-sharing rates decreased from 2 to 24. months. Other ethnic groups showed higher bed-sharing rates, typified by both increases in bed-sharing (the Turkish and Moroccan group) and persistence of bed-sharing over time (the Caribbean group). There were few family and child characteristics associated with bed-sharing in the non-Dutch ethnic groups. In contrast, bed-sharing in Dutch mothers was associated with child temperament and sleeping problems, maternal depression, and sociodemographic variables like crowding and maternal education. Conclusions: Our results suggest that mothers with a Turkish and Moroccan or Caribbean background were more influenced by cultural values, whereas bed-sharing practices were more reactive in the Dutch group.

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Sleep Medicine
Pediatric Psychiatry

Luijk, M., Mileva-Seitz, V., Jansen, P., van IJzendoorn, R., Jaddoe, V., Raat, H., … Tiemeier, H. (2013). Ethnic differences in prevalence and determinants of mother-child bed-sharing in early childhood. Sleep Medicine, 14(11), 1092–1099. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2013.04.019