Cosleeping or Cribs: Where Babies Should Sleep
The American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement presenting guidelines to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The medical and legally responsible answer has to be that your baby (from birth to 12 months) should sleep in your room in a separate bed.
The reason the AAP believes your baby should be in a separate bed is to prevent an adult from inadvertently suffocating the baby with his or her body or with the bedding. One of the reasons they want the baby in the same room as the parents is to promote breastfeeding.
Having said that, there continues to be a lot of opinions on this issue. First of all, it's important to remember that the need to sleep is biological, but the way you sleep is learned. It's very cultural. You don't put your baby in a crib if you cannot afford a crib. You don't put your baby in a separate room if you cannot afford a separate bedroom. And nobody put their babies in a separate cave thousands of years ago. The family shared a cave. So in many ways, putting baby outside of the parents' bed is a cultural issue. It's not bad or good; it's a learned behavior.
While this important AAP policy statement is the result of much research on the best ways to prevent SIDS, there is some controversy surrounding these recommendations. Some experts are concerned about how these guidelines might negatively affect the baby's and the parents' quality of sleep. But in the end, during that first year, safety does come first and the easy-to-read AAP guidelines are the safest.