November 19, 2011

the co-sleeping debate

I'm not a mom yet. And while my job gives me opportunities to advise others based on empirically supported research on pediatric snoozing, I don't claim to be a know-it-all of sleep. So I can say this: I am not anti-co sleeping. I am not pro co-sleeping. I am pro healthy babies and safe environments. But the ads from the Milwaukee anti co-sleeping campaing this week, in my opinion, have gone too far. If you don't know what I'm talking about, click on over here: anti-co sleeping campaign. and get the basic gist of it.

I don't like the concept of photos with knives next to babies. Nor do I like the accusation and assumption that comes along with this: Sleeping with your baby will kill them. It makes me uncomfortable and it makes me feel like all those mom decisions are being judged. Yes, do not put your tiny tiny infant next to you when you are exhausted and had 3 glasses of wine (a lot of SIDS cases result post parents using alcohol or drugs and then co-sleeping). But if it is your culture to sleep with your baby close by, and you have a safe arrangement, I am not going to step in and tell you that you might as well knife your child. This just for some reason gets under my skin.

I have a number of other blogs I follow. And sometimes the most sarcastic are the best. Take a wander over to Raising Colorado, a self-proclaimed hippy mama who is fond of co-sleeping. Her "response to the ad" cracks me up.

Now I am 100% all for babies being safe. And the truth is, I probably won't co-sleep in the very basic term of the word. Baby will be in our room, near us. But not in our bed. Mostly because Jamie tosses and turns and moves his legs like he is running from a monster in a dream and often kicks our cats off- so why not baby? But, also because to me my bed is ours. Baby will have her (gorgeous) crib to sleep in. But on nights when she is sick or unconsolable, I'm sure I'll give in a few times.

My point here is, let's watch how strongly we suggest something with butcher- like ads. And Milwaukee has one of the highest SIDS rates, so sure, do something about it. But maybe don't do this. Moms who co-sleep are not monsters. It won't be my first choice, but it works for some people.

So educate yourself on the American Academy of Pediatric Sleep Guidelines. And, here is the SIDS policy statement.OH HEY MILWAUKEE, the AAP told me if I see media with a baby not sleeping on their back to report it. Should I report you? Just saying. Also if you read this carefully,  the AAP's stance is sleep in same room, not same bed. But, there is rarely mention of avoiding co-sleeping specifically. Clearly baby on back with his/her own space, and on an appropriate surface is "best". But let's not attack the co-sleepers of the world. Because, you know, it's most of the world.

Safe babies. Less judgement. Sleepy time.


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