Thursday, August 19, 2010

Co sleeping dangers.

I just read in the news of a baby dying due to cosleeping with his mother. The parents said they've always coslept and thought they were safe because they were such light sleepers and very aware of their child in bed with them. But tragedy struck them when the baby was accidentally suffocated.

How horrible. This poor family. They are going to have to live with the fact they killed their child for the rest of their lives.

Cribs are the best place for sleeping babies. Its beyond me why parents risk it just because its easier for them to breastfeed. I can't imagine the guilt this family will feel forever. It can happen in the blink of an eye. I seriously don't understand why anyone would cosleep.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Elana said...

That is so very sad. I have no idea why people co-sleep. If you're going to do something like that, get a safe co-sleeper don't just put the baby in your bed. *sigh*

Rachel said...

Argh. How many news stories have there been in the past month about the dangers of cribs? How do we know that this wasn't a case of SIDs where the baby happened to be in bed? I never wanted to co-sleep but my husband is from a country where they don't do cribs or let children sleep alone until they are at least a couple of years old. Compared to the few times I fell asleep rocking the baby to sleep or nursing on the couch, our bed has always been the safest option for our daughter. I really don't understand why people are so judgmental of where babies sleep. Horrible crib/blanket/falling poster disasters happen, so why do we always attack the group who is doing something slightly different from us?

Hollie said...

I have to say that we do co-sleep. We tried to let baby sleep in his bed, but he wakes up about 10 times a night. When I was putting him in his bed, I was getting NO sleep. I could not function. I needed sleep to live. So at 6 months old, he started sleeping with us. I think kids are all different and parents sometimes have to do what works, within reason.

maresi said...

Yes, this post is quite judgmental. I bet they feel bad enough without so many [because I'm sure this isn't the only reflection on the article expressing the same opinion] telling them it *could* have been their sleeping arrangements that caused their baby's tragic death. Poor things.

Robin said...

Tragic, and I agree with you totally. It's like homebirths. Who the heck would do that? Craziness!

Amanda said...

I agree completely. cosleeping may be for some but the dangers out-weigh the benefits so we decided it was not for us!

Logical Mommy said...

The dangers of co-sleeping are very obvious, when the setting for the baby isn't a safe one. Instead of spending so much time telling families that co-sleeping is wrong (despite the fact that in most other countries it is normal), people need to be told how to share a bed with their children safely and when they should NOT.

Basic rules: no co-sleeping when someone in the house smokes, no co-sleeping with an adult who is on medication that affects sleep, no co-sleeping with an infant UNLESS that infant is breastfed, if multiple children share the family bed, an adult should separate the children if one or both is under 9 months.

An infant in an adult bed must be on a firm mattress with pillows out of the way and blankets away from them.

Far more children have been injured or have died in cribs and, for that matter, in carseats that are being used as sleeping spaces, but we don't see people being told not to use those.

If a child dies alone in a crib, through an equipment failure or as a result of SIDS, no one blames the parents.

Christina said...

I agree. Babies will sleep in a crib if you get them use to it from the start. I hate when people make excuses about their baby not wanting to sleep in their crib, how do you know that? They can't tell you, right?

nancy said...

It is hard not to be judgmental when it is over something so serious as dead babies. I will be the first one to admit it. I'm quite opinionated and this is a topic I feel quite strongly about.

Sarah R said...

I cosleep but only with the baby. The hubby sleeps elsewhere and the toddler sleeps in his own bed.

The U.S. has the highest rate of infant mortalities, yet the countries with the highest rate of co-sleeping (in Asia) have the lowest rates of infant mortalities due to co-sleeping.

It's all about being safe.

Babies who are breastfed have a much lower risk of SIDS, and in fact a study done in Milwaukee found that 100% of the babies who died while cosleeping were formula fed. 100% of them.

Sarah R said...

Here's a link to one of the news stories:

mommybird said...

I feel so bad for these parents. I don't feel there is really a right answer for where babies sleep. Accidents do happen when babies co-sleep, but they happen just as frequently when the baby is in a crib so it's hard to say.

Logical Mommy said...

Babies are born to want to be close to their mothers, and some babies are more opinionated about that than others.

I feel bad for anyone who loses a child, but I don't know the specifics of the circumstances in the original post. Was the baby breastfed, were the parents taking a medication that they didn't normally take, did the parents neglect to ensure that the sleeping space was safe?

I'm going to go ahead and say it--forcing parents to believe that they have to put their children to bed alone puts money in the pockets of formula company executives.

nancy said...

Logical mommy, I don't understand your last comment. Why does putting a baby alone in bed put money into the pockets of formula companies? I breastfed all of my babies and they slept alone in their beds. I just simply didn't nurse them in my bed.

Logical Mommy said...

The pressure to put babies in bed alone and get them sleeping through the night makes more women doubt their ability to breastfeed, particularly when their doctors tell them to wean or "sleep train" in order to get their babies sleeping. Or they are told to give a bottle or put cereal in the bottle. It is healthier for them to wake at night, to prevent apnea and SIDS. My older son would take maybe two bottles of pumped milk during the day when I worked, then reverse cycle and nurse all night. If I had him separate from me, I probably couldn't function at work. And giving him formula wasn't an option because I predicted a major intolerance.

But then, my second son is a happy crib sleeper, having gone from a bedside cosleeper bassinet, and I still drag myself out of bed to nurse him. I'm also still without a job now, so I'm less concerned about nighttime sleep.

Co-sleeping makes breastfeeding easier. Yes, it is possible to do it without co-sleeping, as you did and I do now. It was worth it to me to learn how to co-sleep safely, considering that in most countries it is what they do. In many countries they don't even have a word for SIDS, because it just doesn't happen.

nancy said...

Ah, I see what you are saying. And you're right, it was tough on me to breastfeed and not cosleep when I was working fulltime. But I would just nurse them in the middle of the night in a recliner and I'd put them back down in bed when we were done. I think I'm just stingy with my bed. None of my kids are ever allowed in bed with us. Our bed is ~our~ bed, not to be shared with the kids. The concept of a family bed just isn't in our vocabulary.

Tara said...

Heh... stirring up shit on the internet again. I hope this means that you are getting back to feeling like your old self again?


Searching said...

Love those attached cosleeper bassinets. Baby is right next to you but not IN bed to be suffocated by blankets, pillows, mattress, mommy's arm, whatever. The formula causing SIDS is crap. I have 3 pts who were BF and died of SIDS and 2 that were formula fed, 4 coslept and 1 in crib and I know another BF crib sleeper who died at 4mo. 2 were sets of twins that one survived. 2 were preemie, 3 term. All under 6mo. I never pried into the drugs/alcohol/if it was pillows or person who the ME thought caused it. Doesn't matter, the baby is dead and the family is devastated. Nothing anyone asks, says, or does will ever change that. It's tragic and I can tell you NONE of the families have gotten over it. Two continued to cosleep w/other babies. It is a horrible, awful thing, and yes, babies can die of SIDS in cribs. But WHY would you do something that is a risk factor? That goes for smoking, putting stuffed animals or pillows in baby's bed, fluffy crib bumpers, comforters, not using blanket rolls in carseats for tiny babies, putting them to sleep on their back. Really makes me sad to hear of another little life snuffed out so early. I feel terrible for that family.

Glad snarky Nancy is back.

Samantha said...

Well, regarding some people's post - I didn't co-sleep with Charleigh till she was older. She was happy as a clam to sleep swaddled up in her bassinet. And when she DID sleep with us, it was when Jason went to work and I gave her her morning bottle.

Cade, however, I tried SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO hard to get him to sleep in the bassinet, crib, or bouncy seat. He would have NONE of it. Someone had to be holding him or he wasn't sleeping (unless you bounced in the bouncy seat and if you stopped, he was awake) he HATED the swing. After 6-7 weeks, I gave up. Put him in the bed (swaddled and away from any pillows or blankets, just up against me)

So yes, I co-sleep. We still do, and I love it. He sleeps better, I sleep better. I never understood it before I had him. He still won't sleep more than an hour by himself.

The news like to look down on parents who do something different, but its been studied, and co-sleeping helps PREVENT SIDS more than a baby sleeping alone. Several countries have family beds, its normal, and their SIDS cases are lower.

I also wonder what they did hundreds of years ago or even as little as 80 years ago when cribs and cradles weren't so common?

Amanda said...

I have to say, regardless of all the comments, I'm still with nancy on this one. My son was formula fed from day one ( I take a highly toxic medication that would be bad for him to get through breastmilk) and he also slept alone from day one. We used the cry it out method when we determined he wasn't crying because he was hungry but because he wanted attention. I'm not apologetic for teaching my son that the middle of the night is not for playing but for sleeping. He learned that early on and thank goodness for that! He's almost 3 and is a fully functioning rambunctious toddler (very alive despite the obvious odds against it) with endless amounts of energy.

Despite what many may think I did take into account all the options. co-sleeping was not one for us,

Jen said...

These days I often feel a backlash from moms who do co-sleep. Like I'm cold and heartless for putting my babies in cribs. Safety aside, they sleep better there and so do I. And I didn't have all the problems of a sleeping transition with Jillian when Hayden was born either. I know a lot of frustrated moms with a toddler and baby in their bed, which seems dangerous to me too.

Sarah R said...

I honestly don't care what other moms do. I don't ask my friends if they co-sleep or if their babies sleep in cribs. For ~me~, a full-time working mother who breastfed her son for 25 months and is at 6 months of BFing with her daughter -- both of whom pseudo-reverse cycle (neither took a bottle), co-sleeping is the option that allows me to get the most sleep so that I am not a zombie during the day. I am not a bad mother and sometimes general comments regarding co-sleeping hurt my feelings because I KNOW I am a good mother who would never purposely put my children in danger.

I have strong opinions about mothers who smoke in the car/house with their kids but I don't say a single thing to them because they are the mother and I guess they get to make the decisions (in fact, I have someone I work with who smoked through both of her pregnancies, continues to smoke around them now, and complains constantly that her kids are sick -- I DO have a problem with selfish people who don't put their kids' health first -- however, I don't put safe co-sleeping mothers in this category).

Wordgirl said...

I co-sleep.

My daughter is eight months old now. She never took a bottle, never took a pacifier. Screamed for three and four hour stretches through colic from six weeks to four months. There was no way, and I mean no way in hell this child was going to be left alone to sleep.

We're talking hysteria.

I didn't intend to cosleep in our bed -- I had an attached co-sleeper.

She simply wanted to be near me.

I understand why this stirs up strong feelings for many people -- I did the research and I endure my mother and mother in law and whoever else telling me they think I'm going to kill my child.

Everyone has pointed out here that there are differences between risky and safe co-sleeping -- and situations when you shouldn't co-sleep. Co-sleeping -- like every other aspect of parenting -- can go wrong even when you do everything right.

I have to say, for me, having lived now for eight months with a child who sleeps with me, walks with me while happily in her ergo carrier, plays with me all day long -- that I can't imagine now putting her in a separate room -- away from me at eight months -- I know its evolved as a cultural norm -- but the same practices that all of my friends have -- sleeping separately, plopping their children in playpens while they talk on the phone, plop them in strollers -- and then many of these same women complain about how taxing motherhood is and how they can't wait to get back to work.

Perhaps that's the cultural norm -- and if so? I'm out on that. I'm outside the norm.

Lisa said...

It is so sad. Very tragic and very avoidable. I have never co-slept with my boys and never plan to with any future children.

My DH and I wanted a space that was just ours where we could be a couple. That place is our bedroom. The boys can come in to watch cartoons on weekend mornings but other than that, our room is off limits.

Also, all of the kids I know that were co-sleepers have turned out to be horrible older kid sleepers. I refused to have a child that would not sleep through the night even at 7. So, I was turned off the idea of co-sleeping because of that. I think kids need to learn to self soothe and fall asleep on their own. Needing Mommy or Daddy next to sleep is creating a horrible habit that will be hard to break in the long run. I nursed the twins until they were 10 months old and never once nursed them in my bed while I slept. So, it is possible to nurse, have the baby sleeping in their own bed and have Mommy getting some sleep as well. But, it requires a lot of hard work on the parents' part to get there...

MrsSpock said...

When I nursed J I fell asleep in the bed with him, just couldn't help it. Freaked me out to do it, but nursing plus exhaustion just made it uncontrollable.

I had an attached bedside cosleeper and loved it. I could keep my hand on my son all night if I wanted, but no worries about my restless sleeping (I have fibro and night terrors, sleep poorly, and have knocked my 6' husband out of bed more than once.)

We bring our 2 yr old into bed if he has a bad night or is sick, and it works OK, because any sleep is better than no sleep, but we all sleep much better when we are not in the same bed. being in a crib has never helped my son sleep through the night, and the nights he's been in our bed he wakes 3-4 nights a week anyway. I think some kids are just restless sleepers, just like adults.

zach05kate95 said...

I do not think they killed there child. That just seems like a harsh thing to say. Children die in their cribs every day. Do their parents kill them too?

nancy said...

I shouldn't say cribs are the safest place for sleeping babies. Co sleepers attached to the bed, bassinets, etc are just as good. It is my opinion that sleeping ~in bed~ with mommy and daddy could pose a dangerous risk. I didn't mean to be so black and white with my comments.

One of the responses I received was that mother didn't kill her baby. But in fact, she did. The baby was suffocated by the mother's body. That's what the article said. Not all cosleeping deaths are at the parent's hand, but this one did. I just wanted to clear up my comment and explain why I said what I did.

I agree there are safer ways of co sleeping. I think Elana spelled them out. For me, it is my opinion that even with all the safety rules, co sleeping still poses risks. And it is these risks that makes co sleeping too dangerous for me to do it.

Mrs. Gamgee said...

I feel for the family in the article. To lose a child, and to have that worry/wondering if you caused it must be the most horrible thing in the world.

For me, co sleeping does not seem like a viable option. Both my Beloved and I are big people, heavy sleepers, and I would be scared of rolling over on the baby.

That said, yes, at least to start, the baby will sleep in our room. But eventually our Halfling will move to his/her own room.

The idea of a family bed, while it may be the norm in many other cultures, just seems strange to me. I don't understand it.

Tanya said...

I have been co-sleeping but am in the process of moving Grant to his own room (he starts out in his room and comes in with me after he gets up to eat in the middle of the night... usually he's in my bed for 3 hours or so).

I think a double bed with just the baby and I is sufficient and we both sleep better. I don't feel comfortable with it at the point when the baby starts moving/rolling over so he will be in his crib full-time before that point. At almost 8 weeks he's approaching that deadline.