Thursday, November 17, 2011

My response to the anti-cosleeping ads from Milwaukee--

Here I go, leaping onto my soapbox!
I am not going to attack or attempt to offend parents who put their infants in cribs, so have no fear-
keep reading :)

First and foremost, the anti-cosleeping ad was paid for by Graco.
Conflict of interest, big red flag.
Just like Big Pharma funding scary commercials for vaccines...
I don't listen to anyone who tries to terrify me instead of presenting me with accurate info.
I'm a big girl and can research your advice for myself, thank you very much!

The ad shows an African-American infant on it's stomach beside of a butcher knife in a bug, fluffy bed, surrounded by big fluffy pillows and blankets. It basically tells parents that them sleeping with their child is just as dangerous as letting them sleep with sharp objects.

What they are showing isn't cosleeping, but bedsharing. Neither of which are dangerous if done safely. My comments below are evidence based and pertain to cosleeping and bedsharing with infants.

My issues with the ad are as follows:
1. Cosleeping is the baby sleeping in the same room... not always in parent's bed.
2. Bedsharing is usually done by responsible parents that do it safely.
3. Instead of demonizing those of us that cosleep, the money could have been spent educating parents on safe sleep practices... and not just displaying scary photos. BUT that wouldn't make the crib industry any money, would it?
4. The ad offers to give a free pack and play to parents so they won't bedshare... pack-n-plays are NOT cribs, they can be a major suffocation risk and the makers of them insist that the child never be unattended in one. Sleeping parents are not attentive parents... they can't be!

What the ad SHOULD have said:
1. Co-sleeping can be very beneficial for mom and baby!
2. If your child is sleeping outside of your bed in your room,
-make sure they have a safe place to sleep like a firm mattress
-ensure that they don't overheat
-no suffocation or fall risks such as drop-side cribs, big blankets and pillows, toys in the bed
-use common sense
3. If your child is in your bed,
-ensure that there is no fall risk by getting a bed rail or putting mom's side of the bed against a wall
-baby should sleep beside mom and not dad, since moms usually are more aware of baby's presence
-no drug or alcohol usage, do NOT go to bed with baby impaired... be aware of any meds you're on
- no big pillows or blankets, no squishy mattress toppers (suffocation risks)
-be aware of baby's temperature, between mom's body heat and blankets, baby could get hot
- baby should sleep on it's back
-obese parents should use caution due to mattress dipping (baby will roll towards you) or possible apnea
-no pets in the area
-don't sleep with baby if you're exhausted... you may not be as aware
-no smoking!
-you should be nursing

Studies have shown that the best place for a breastfed baby to sleep is with mom. Her heartbeat regulates her baby's, so does her temperature and her breathing! Baby mammals (humans included) are well served by sleeping next to their mother's with easy access to nurse!

We bedshare with our nursing baby and I have bedshared with our two oldest, as well.

How we do it:
1. We have a firm mattress
2. Finn sleeps on my side of the bed
3. We have a guard up so there is no risk of him falling
4. I use a small pillow at the head of the bed for me
5. Finn sleeps by my breast, with easy access to nurse if he wakes hungry
6. We sleep under a duvet, but it's never brought higher than baby's waist
7. Finn sleeps on his side, chest to chest with me when he's nursing, or on his back
8. I'm a light sleeper and very aware of him

If I didn't feel that I could safely bedshare, I would cosleep. We have a cosleeper that hooks to the side of our bed, but we haven't used it. I would use it if I were ill, on medication, excessively tired, or in any other situation where I thought Finn might not be safest in the bed with us. This is also the safest way for formula fed babies to sleep :)

I'm not here to convince you to cosleep- we do it because we believe that it's biologically appropriate for babies to sleep with their parents. We don't think it's best for our little ones to come out of the womb expected to sleep in a dark room alone in a crib. I thought it was important for a rationally cosleeping/bedsharing mom to respond, to say that it is NOT an unsafe practice when done responsibly and that we will not be scared by the fear-mongering.

If Milwaukee has such a high infant mortality rate, I suggest they deal with it. Statistics show that many of the "co-sleeping deaths" may have been caused by suffocation, child abuse, drug addicted parents or drunk parents suffocating their infants accidently, smoking in the house, congenital birth defects in the child, etc. NOT safe cosleeping causing a SIDS death.

I urge you to go with your gut, trust your instinct, and not be terrified into making a decision for your family having not done thorough research.

A great video by Dr. James McKenna on safe cosleeping! :)


Samantha said...

Yes! Those ads are so ridiculous! Scare tactics are just terrible, terrible ways to inform anyone of anything. It just makes me sad that these corporations think so little of people that they can't give reliable, accurate information from which they can then make an educated decision.

Dana said...

Very good points Momma! Those ads are really creepy. I had no idea that they were funded by Graco- very very interesting.

drea said...

Thumbs up, Dusty.

Steve & Dea said...

ANother thing thats been downplayed in the media about the co-sleeping deaths is EVERY one of those babies was formula fed.I'm not trying to judge how mother's choose to feed their babies at all but its a consideration there are wonderful studies illustrating like you said its very safe for breastfeeding infants to be close to their Momma :) I love co-sleeping and couldn't imagine leaving my baby alone!

Renee said...

Im so pleased to read this!! In NZ its considered a BIG no-no to bed share with baby!! We co-slept with our bub until a month ago, and we only put him in his own room because he sleeps so much better when we're not in the room with him!
However i still bed share when he's unsettled or just wants to be close, i just dont mention it to the nurse when we go to see her!