From my local paper today:
The report blamed another 188 deaths on sudden infant death syndrome. More than half of those deaths were attributed to such risky behaviors as adults sharing beds with infants or mothers who smoke.
Fuck. I’m too lazy to write a letter to the editor and too pissed off to not. For the record, safely co-sleeping REDUCES the risk of SIDS. Safely means keeping pillows and covers away from the boo, and being sober when you crash with the baby. The carbon dioxide mamas exhale helps regulate baby’s breathing and breastfeeding (often linked to cosleeping) reduces the risk further.
Edit: Here is the link to the article. So, I wrote an email and sent it. Here is the text:
The article that appears in the Friday edition of the Gazette refers to deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and cautions against risky behaviors known to increase the incidence of SIDS. The risky behaviors cited include adults sharing beds with infants. In fact, there are ways for parents to safely share their beds with their babies and these practices have been shown to reduce- not increase- the prevalence of infant deaths. Parenting advisors and pediatricians are increasingly supporting their patients’ wishes to cosleep. Having the newborn in bed with her or his mother can be a wonderful way for the two to bond emotionally, and can help ease the anxiety many new moms experience Cosleeping contributes to longer and more successful breastfeeding as well, which is also a factor in reducing SIDS risk. Pediatric expert Dr. Sears enthusiastically supports cosleeping and writes that the carbon dioxide that a mother breathes out actually helps to trigger better respiration in the infant.
To safely share a family bed, parents should keep pillows and heavy blankets away from the baby. Feathery or soft mattress pads or other soft materials could cause smothering- it’s best to use a firm mattress. Parents who smoke, use drugs or alcohol, or suffer from sleep apnea or sever obesity should not sleep with their infants. Just like in a crib, the baby should sleep on her or his back until able to roll over. Many experts caution against leaving a baby alone in an adult bed, but we have added rails to our bed so I can leave my daughter for an hour or two after her early bedtime.
I’m always upset to read condemnations of bed sharing. When done safely it can be so beneficial, and my own experience has been so positive. As a working mother, I really cherish the quiet time I have spent nursing and snuggling with my baby at night. Many moms intuitively seek out this connection with their child but are scared by misinformation or incomplete information like that in the Gazette article. Education about safe sleeping certainly saves infant lives. (The Back To Sleep campaign has prevented a great number of SIDS deaths.) I’d love to see more thorough explanations about the advantages as well as the risks of cosleeping.
Thank you sincerely,
Daisy (only y’know, my real name.)