@momlogic WARNING: Co-sleeping with your baby can be deadly http://tinyurl.com/cqkffbI wanted to scream.
First of all co-sleeping is when a parent sleeps in the same room or a close distance from their baby in a separate sleeping area such as a crib, bassinet, or "co-sleeper." Bed sharing, on the other hand is exactly what it sounds like: a parent and infant share a bed.
Secondly, infant deaths by smothering, are most commonly attributed to unsafe bed sharing practices. Not simply by sharing a bed. For instance, smoking, drinking, and using drugs by the parents increases the chances of infant death. Having unsafe bedding, mattress firmness, and bed position also increase chances of a tragic accident. On top of all that, you have to be careful of what the baby's wearing: are there ties and strings? Is she going to over heat?? And only the parents should sleep with baby. Not grandma or Uncle Brad.
And lastly, it gets me really going to see hundreds of titles of research, articles, etc. stating that sharing a bed is what has caused higher levels of infant deaths by smothering. Because the truth is experts have altered the definition of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), clarified it, and therefore have begun to count what would have been a SIDS death 10 years ago as a death by smothering due to bed sharing. Yet again another example of shifting data that no one seems to care to point out.
The Mom Logic article is inflammatory, sensational, and deliberately trying to scare parents out of doing something that is, when done responsibly, a safe, loving, and bonding experience. Parents sleep with their infants for many different reasons, from helping to prevent SIDS to economic and space reasons (no money or space for a separate sleeping area) to cultural preferences. Since the "rise" in bed sharing deaths lately, parents who are trying to protect their little ones or simply be closer to them are being frightened into placing their babies in a crib.
I want to freaking puke sometimes when I think about how goddamned muddled we've made everything about parenting and birthing. Who the hell are these people who say you aren't supposed to comfort your child when he cries? Who say breastfeeding isn't critical? Who say breastfeeding is obscene? Who say that birth is better controlled than allowed to run its course? Who say your baby is spoiled because you answer her cries?
And I know the article didn't mention any of those things, but in my mind, they're all tied up together with this pregnancy-birth-and-parenting-should-be-orderly-tidy-easy-and-predictable-stinking-bow. We are practically brainwashed from the time we know what a baby is that they should be independent, not "spoiled", self-soothing, and whatever else we want in an ADULT.
God forbid that you want to be close to your tiny little baby who was JUST INSIDE OF YOU. And now we have the freaking American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) telling everyone to not bed share becauase it's dangerous!
Anthropologist James McKenna, director of Notre Dame’s Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory and a renowned expert on infant co-sleeping, breast-feeding and (SIDS) says, “Without a full understanding of what it meant to dismantle an age-old integrated biological system … that is, infants sleeping on their backs, to breastfeed, next to their mothers, Western medical science created the conditions within which hundreds of thousands of babies died from SIDS. The AAP now seems set on perpetuating aspects of this tragedy by assuming that American parents, in contrast to mothers everywhere in the world, are uneducable as to how to lay safely next to their infants to successfully breastfeed, nurture and sleep with their infants. It is not bed-sharing that is dangerous but how it is practiced. The AAP chose not to be forthcoming about this important distinction.”
Right on, dude! I couldn't have said it better myself.
In almost every single article I've read about a smothering incident the babies have been on a couch, a recliner, or in an unsafe bed situation. I've never read, "A baby died yesterday in what can only be described as an extremely safe sleeping area, wearing appropriate clothing, and whose parents are sober and non-smoking." Never.
Peggy O'Mara of Mothering Magazine writes,
And yet, the gold standard for infant sleep is an approved crib. According to controversial research conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year 60 babies die in adult beds—but most of these babies are alone. On the other hand, 900 babies die each year in cribs, and in the last 25 years there have been 36 recalls of cribs. Does this mean that cribs are unsafe? No. It means that babies sometimes die at night.And please don't think I blame the parents whose babies were lost. It breaks my heart to hear a baby has died due to smothering or unsafe sleeping conditions. I can't imagine the pain and remorse that man or woman must feel, the gut wrenching, awful sight before them. It's truly horrific.
The media and experts attempting to scare the rest of us out of bed sharing are doing a disservice to natural parenting, to the gut instinct of a plugged-in parent who can offer a kind touch, monitor their baby throughout the night, and who can tend to his needs with ease. And they're doing a disservice to the millions of parents out there who need to be better educated about better bed sharing practices because they're unable to do anything but share a sleeping space with their infant.
These articles are stripping away a parent's intuition down to a sum of its parts, and like the nutrients in an apple, they are each crucial and mysterious. We can't simply say, "Here eat some vitamin C, it's as good as an apple," and so we also can't say, "Separate from your baby, it's as good as sleeping together."
I think it's cruel and unfair to use the loss of other people's children to advocate for something that goes against the mothering and fathering practices of most of this planet for most of humankind. I don't think anyone should be scaring parents out of a practice which may come very naturally to them, such as bed sharing. It may not be something some parents even want to try, so bully for them, but for those parents who do, they should be supported, not dissuaded.
And for the record, I bed-shared and co-slept with Hawk and moved him into his own room at 6-months where he began sleeping more soundly than he did next to me. Until he was in his own room, he was always by my side or an arm's reach away in the co-sleeper. Now that he's in his own room, the baby monitor is always turned up and I am an extremely light sleeper and can hear every tremor, exhalation, and rustle. I'm neither a bed-sharer-till-the-next-baby-arrives, nor a baby-down-the-hall type, but sorta in the middle.