I'm well aware that sometimes the way people did things was not better or preferable. Some things we've improved on (I'm a big fan of advancing medical knowledge and electricity myself) but some things we'd already figured out with just a little maternal instinct. Crazy talk, I know.
I mean, who needs instinct or common sense when our local authorities can just tell us the right thing to do, like Hennepin County has done here locally?
Now here's where I start to take issue. When parents find babies who've died in their cribs, do they start issuing statements about how you should never sleep a baby in a crib again? NO! They figure out what the cause is and try to educate the public. Put baby on it's back to sleep. Avoid using crib bumpers. Don't allow the slats of the crib to be too wide. The list goes on regarding how to make a crib safer. But when it comes to co-sleeping? No dice. With co-sleeping they say:
Parents may want to snuggle with their infant in their bed, and mothers sometimes take a baby to bed for breast-feeding. That's OK as long as the baby is returned to the crib before anyone falls asleep, she said.Hey! Big time professionals? Did any of you consider that while many of the points you make about the dangers of co-sleeping are valid, that it can be just as safe as crib sleeping if not safer if some basic safety rules are followed, just like anything else? No, you just tell people not to do it, and lose the many benefits parents may have found from sleeping with their babies out of unnecessary fear.
Here are the co-sleeping rules:
Take precautions to prevent baby from rolling out of bed, even though it is unlikely when baby is sleeping next to mother
Use a large bed, preferably a queen-size or king-size.
DON'T:This list might seem a little long, but it's mostly just common sense! Seriously, don't sleep with your baby if you've been drinking or are on certain meds. Don't wear clothes that could catch around baby's neck. That kind of thing. Just like sleeping a baby anywhere, there are things you should do to keep them safe.
Don't sleep with your baby if:
1. You are under the influence of any drug (such as alcohol or tranquilizing medications) that diminishes your sensitivity to your baby's presence. If you are drunk or drugged, these chemicals lessen your arousability from sleep.
2. You are extremely obese. Obesity itself may cause sleep apnea in the mother, in addition to the smothering danger.
3. You are exhausted from sleep deprivation. This lessens your awareness of your baby and your arousability from sleep.
4. You are breastfeeding a baby on a cushiony surface, such as a waterbed or couch. An exhausted mother could fall asleep breastfeeding and roll over on the baby.
5. You are the child's baby-sitter. A baby-sitter's awareness and arousability is unlikely to be as acute as a mother's.
6. Don't allow older siblings to sleep with a baby under nine months. Sleeping children do not have the same awareness of tiny babies as do parents, and too small or too crowded a bed space is an unsafe sleeping arrangement for a tiny baby.
7. Don't fall asleep with baby on a couch. Baby may get wedged between the back of the couch and the larger person's body, or baby's head may become buried in cushion crevices or soft cushions.
8. Do not sleep with baby on a free-floating, wavy waterbed or similar "sinky" surface in which baby could suffocate.
9. Don't overheat or overbundle baby. Be particularly aware of overbundling if baby is sleeping with a parent. Other warm bodies are an added heat source.
10. Don't wear lingerie with string ties longer than eight inches. Ditto for dangling jewelry. Baby may get caught in these entrapments.
11. Avoid pungent hair sprays, deodorants, and perfumes. Not only will these camouflage the natural maternal smells that baby is used to and attracted to, but foreign odors may irritate and clog baby's tiny nasal passages. Reserve these enticements for sleeping alone with your spouse.
Taken from Dr. Sears list here
And why is co-sleeping so good for many babies and moms too? (I'm all in favor of using whatever works best for your family, and if that's crib sleeping, good on you. No holier-than-thou here, trust me!)
Sleep more peacefullyDid you see that last one? SAFER than crib sleeping. But by all means, Hennepin county, instead of educating parents, please, fear-monger instead. Because that's so much better for babies, isn't it? Especially since many mothers are still going to cosleep, if for no other reason than convenience. And now you've missed an opportunity to educate them on how to keep their babies both safe and happy. Way to go.
Research shows that co-sleeping infants virtually never startle during sleep and rarely cry during the night, compared to solo sleepers who startle repeatedly throughout the night and spend 4 times the number of minutes crying 1. Startling and crying releases adrenaline, which increases heart rate and blood pressure, interferes with restful sleep and leads to long term sleep anxiety.
Studies show that infants who sleep near to parents have more stable temperatures 2, regular heart rhythms, and fewer long pauses in breathing compared to babies who sleep alone 3. This means baby sleeps physiologically safer.
Decreases risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Worldwide research shows that the SIDS rate is lowest (and even unheard of) in countries where co-sleeping is the norm, rather than the exception 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Babies who sleep either in or next to their parents’ bed have a fourfold decrease in the chance of SIDS 10. Co-sleeping babies actually spend more time sleeping on their back or side 1 which decreases the risk of SIDS. Further research shows that the carbon dioxide exhaled by a parent actually works to stimulate baby’s breathing 11.
Long term emotional health
Co-sleeping babies grow up with a higher self-esteem, less anxiety, become independent sooner, are better behaved in school 12, and are more comfortable with affection 13. They also have less psychiatric problems 14.
Safer than crib sleeping
The Consumer Product Safety Commission published data that described infant fatalities in adult beds. These same data, however, showed more than 3 times as many crib related infant fatalities compared to adult bed accidents 15. Another recent large study concluded that bed sharing did NOT increase the risk of SIDS, unless the mom was a smoker or abused alcohol 16.
Full article with sources, here