Sunday, June 10, 2007

co-sleeping safely

all week, thanks to Ontario's coroner's report, we've been bombarded with headlines like this:

Does co-sleeping kill?
Dangers of 'co-sleeping
Every parent should know: Co-sleeping kills
Coroner Warns Parents: Don't Take Baby To Bed

first my mother mentioned it - then my husband came home asking me if this stuff is true. i'm at the point where i want to scream! let's examine this a bit closer; the coroner says that co-sleeping is unsafe because last year co-sleeping was attributed to 11 out of 21 "sudden unexpected death syndrome". What the media HASN'T picked up on is that the vast majority of those deaths were ACTUALLY attributed to the co-sleeping parent being intoxicated, heavily medicated, using drugs or other unsafe practises. the act of co-sleeping is not the problem, it's a practise considered normal in most of the world.

Let's just go back to the numbers for a minute. 11 of 21 deaths. so just over 50% right? and where, you might ask were the other deaths? most of them were in a CRIB. so is anyone saying that a crib is unsafe? of course not. because those crib deaths were attributed to unsafe crib practises. having an overcrowded crib is as dangerous as falling asleep drunk with your baby in your arms.

i co-sleep with my babies for the first 6 months. i believe it's not only better for my children's emotional and mental health but i strongly believe that it's safer. i believe in instinctual parenting and my instincts tell me to keep my babies close. and research agrees. studies have shown that co-sleeping babies gain more weight, have lower SIDS rates and that mom ends up with better mental health.

here is a site with great links about co-sleeping:

Guidelines for Sleeping With Your Baby

  • Always place baby to sleep on their back.
  • Baby should sleep next to mother, rather than between mother and father.
  • Take precautions to prevent baby from rolling out of bed. Use a mesh guardrail and be sure the guardrail is flush against the mattress and fill in any crevice with a rolled-up baby blanket or towel.
  • Use a large bed with a mattress that fits snugly against the rail or is flush up against a wall.
  • Don't use fluffy bedding or cover baby with comforters, etc.
  • Do not sleep with your baby if you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or sleep-inducing over-the-counter medications or if you are overly exhausted from sleep deprivation
  • Do not allow baby-sitters or older siblings to sleep with baby.
  • Don't fall asleep with baby on a couch, bean bag chair or waterbed.
  • Do not let baby sleep unattended on an adult bed.
  • Don't overly bundle baby, because they get additional warmth from the mother's body. Overheating can be dangerous to infants.

No comments: