1. Well, both my children co-slept and they are still alive… and I bottle fed.

  2. Excellent post Amy. You said all the things I didn’t have the time or energy to articulate at the time. I knew you would do a wonderful job with this.

  3. I wonder what effect baby-wearing and other oxytocin-increasing/bonding behaviors has on co-sleeping safety? I don’t think it’s fair to say that only breastfeeding mothers can safely co-sleep. I think mothers who are very aware of their babies and themselves are safer, no matter how they feed.

  4. Thanks for this fair, balanced rundown of the report and all the issues/opinions surrounding it. Great post. (And thanks for the shout-out!)

  5. I think Summer has a good point about bonding/oxytocin. Although I’m certain breastfeeding has some protective factors against bedtime death, I think one thing that McKenna shows in his research is that breastfeeding mothers are more aware of their infants at night (due to the bonding that comes with breastfeeding) and that the babies adjust their breathing patterns to the mother, again due to the bonding.

    So if you can’t breastfeed for whatever reason, but still form a strong attachment with your child through other bonding mechanisms, it stands to reason that you could safely co-sleep.

    I think the idea of government regulating parenting practices is rather absurd. It seems to me that most folks sleep with their babies at some point and most just don’t mention it because of the stigma. I happily co-slept with both of my children and it not only helped me be more rested, but helped them feel safe and secure at night–a win-win situation if you ask me!!

  6. Amy,
    you did a great job summing up the information and I appreciate your bringing this information forward.

    I did breastfeed and co-sleep with both my kids. Personally, I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

    It is a complicated situation I agree and there are other factors there beyond bottle feeding, it seems like a combination of these factors together contributes to the SID.

  7. First off, babies were invented before cribs, so it out to be that co-sleeping is the natural thing for a baby to do. I don’t know the history of cribs, but it seems logical that they could have been invented not only for the comfort of mom and dad, but likely also for the safety of baby during the day and maybe also at night.

    To flat out say that no one should co-sleep at anytime is plain naive. We were not a co-sleeping family, but that is not to say our son never slept in our bed. He often did for 20 minutes to several hours, usually in the later morning hours or for nap time. It is pleasurable to both mothers and babies to sleep together from time to time and to deny this is to deny our humanity.

    And I absolutely agree that the social and economic situation of the families in the aforementioned studies is of critical importance. If a mother is drinking or using drugs after baby is born, what also is the likelihood that it happened before birth? What are the chances for a “last resort” co-sleep on a baby that has undiagnosed fetal alcohol syndrome and a drunk or drugged mom and or dad? Or what if mom is totally clean, but just worked a 12 hour shift and baby spent the day with her smoking aunt. Exhausted mom plus at risk baby, also don’t make for a safe co-sleep.

    Their are so many factors involved that I believe the money should be spent on helping at risk families get and or stay on their feet, but out right trying to control the way society as a whole raises babies is not appropriate.

  8. Amy, this is a really well written post – you presented so many facts and sides to this issue without sensationalism or alienation! I also find Summer’s comment really valid – it seems logical that awareness is about attachment. Thanks for the fairly presented and excellently summarized news!

  9. That “PSA” poster is down right crazy.

    Thanks for informing us far better than MSM!

  10. Don’t forget NY (post from June 2008 linked to my name)…fear mongering seems to be the method of choice.

  11. As someone who made the informed decision to co-sleep, I’d like to thank you for this. I think it’s important to fully understand what sleep situations put babies at risk, and why. We can respect parents and allow them to make educated decisions based on the facts. The fear-mongering represented by the tombstone ad is not only insulting, it’s unnecessary and unhelpful.

  12. Wow, I feel like people who have formula fed are taking offense to this. I don’t think it was anyones intentions to offend. I think they were trying to say that evidence shows breastfeeding reduces the chances of death during co-sleeping, thats it. They weren’t saying anyone is a bad mom for not breastfeeding. Stop taking offense they are trying to educate people to save babies lives, is that really a bad thing?

  13. I co-slept with two of my children when they were infants and they are fine. This actually SAVED my daughter, who died 3 times in the first 9 days of her life because she would stop breathing. Because I was afraid I would not hear her if she stopped breathing when she was in her crib, I kept her lying on my stomach when I slept. Turns out that was the best thing I could have done, since mother’s breathing stimulates infant’s breathing. After she was out of danger I just kept her with me and the next one as well.

  14. I too co-slept with my child. First I breast fed her in the lying down position a lot and we would both drift off. I too, had a fear of not being able to hear her if she stopped breathing. After I stopped breastfeeding and began bottle feeding, she just stayed there. The only problem is – she’s 7 now and she still won’t sleep in her own bed.

    I think it’s best the choice be left up to the educated mother. The ad with the headstone on the bed is certainly fear mongering and in poor taste.

  15. I must the the antithesis of what this blog stands for. My son is 7 years old and was FF from day one. Hes healthy as a horse. He didnt cosleep with me and my husband as well the marital bed is just that. He slept in our room for the first 3 months of his life in a seperate bassinet as we wanted him near in case he woke up in the middle of the night and needed one of us. If the conveniance of having the baby near for the first few monthes than put a bassinet in your room they even have ones that can attach to the side of the bed and a child should be sleeping in their own room by the time they are a year old. It just been my experience that children of the AP parenting mind set seem to be clingy and have no sense of independence or self reliance that we should be teaching our kids so they will healthy adults. No way would I let my 7 year old sleep in the bed with me and my husband, it can be a marriage killer. To each their own.

  16. What a great post, informative and balanced. Thank you! I wish I could have said ti better myself.
    As a public health practitioner, it drives me crazy that these blanket statements that all co-sleeping is deadly. I understand why messages are crafted the way they are, but it seems so unethical to stigmatize a practice that is natural and normal under natural and normal conditions.

  17. Thanks for the great post. I just wanted to thank you for doing such a nice job on these types of issues. I get so much information from you on what’s going on in the natural birth/co-sleeping/breastfeeding world and I really appreciate it. I figured it was time I finally left a comment and said thank you!

  18. Regarding Nonapaparent’s post,

    I agree with you! A marital bed is for mommy and daddy, not for babies or children. Keeping the infant in the same room for the first few months of life is important, but NOT the same bed. This article was interesting to read, but I would like to see REAL facts and statistics from professionals not what other people have said or posted.

  19. I breastfed my daughter and she still died in my bed. Cosleeping is NOT worth the risk. I don’t know if my daughter died because she shared my bed, but I will tell you this, it was not worth the torture I felt blaming myself following her death for years.

  20. thanks God, i’m breastfeeding for my child

  21. Megan, my daughter died of SIDS, 3rd “co-sleeping” death in 2010. I believe Milwaukee needs to update their facts. Details, like the correct spelling of our last name, just might be one immediate red flag. Some reports stated I was drinking, also needs correcting. Had a glass of champagne, it was my birthday, and I had it with dinner. My midewife, Gail Sternkopff, understood my motivation and need to breastfeed my oldest daughter, Faith who was born in 1998. I breastfed my second daughter, Jenna for fourteen months. Megan was introduced to formula two months before her death. We had started supplementing more and more, but I was also breastfeeding her. Mr. Stevenson from the JS wrote a letter to me acknowledging Megan’s death was ruled as SIDS, and that he would show more respect when reporting baby deaths in the future. But then I read columns like this one I wonder what info the writer has in our case. And are the updated facts from the other cases also shared. I think the public should know that the Milw. Medical Examiner told me in January that one of the previous cases was SIDS also. Meanwhile, all three were being reported as co-sleeping. The third ended up being child abuse. The autopsy report clearly states Megan was well-nourished, well hydrated and had no signs of abuse. My children were seen daily by many, as I take them to work with me. I feel by scrambling details and lighting these poor babies deaths to fit their campaign, the City of Milwaukee has stolen the need for SIDS Awareness and Research that we families need. My Megan was not rolled onto and the only comfort I have ever found was that she was near. I thank God that we were there with her and she didn’t suffer. Milwaukee has only made this all harder. I do have to thank Brad Hicks (channel 6), he came to my house before he did the special. Hicks should have gone into details more, but thankful for his work. I wish someone would contact all the families and verify what the JS reported. I don’t doubt errors in other stories.

    If any other SIDS families find this…

    I wish you all peace.

    Megan Michelle’s Mommy

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