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Tuesday
May042010

Fox News Video on Bed Sharing

This video from Fox News that my friend Allie at No Time for Flash Cards sent me a link to is a must watch (never thought I'd say that!):



There is so much I want to say about this video, yet I don't know where to begin. So I'll let you all start.

Discuss...
« Wordless Wednesday: Breastfeeding Bliss | Main | Age three: defiance with a smirk »

Reader Comments (79)

I've started and restarted this comment a few times. The video left me with so many thoughts and feelings I'm not sure that I can even express them all coherently. My first thought is that if people are going to be co-sleeping and bed sharing, it seems like it is more effective to teach them safe ways to do it than to threaten them with prosecution. My next thought is that there are times when bed sharing is not safe. I guess that is really pretty much the same as #1. Lastly, sleeping in cribs is not a guarantee of safety.

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCasey

the first rule is: not when you've been drinking, doing drugs, or are overtired (and more likely to sleep heavily)

second: remove smothering hazards (just like a crib)

third: bedrails, or put the mattress on the floor

fourth: the sofa itself is a smothering hazard.

It's only recently in history (and only in developed nations) that babies get their own room.

Let's teach people to do this safely - because even if you don't plan to bedshare, it's best to be prepared.

Like the proverb says: "Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel."

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

I personally do not think bed sharing, in itself, is dangerous. I do think it, obviously, can be done dangerously. I also agree that it should go hand-in-hand with breastfeeding. I also don't think that either parenting option is for everybody though. I could not bed share, ever. It doesn't feel safe to me and I just can not sleep. Also, my daughter didn't agree to it either. I found that if we were too close or if she wasn't in her own private space than she slept like poo. In a crib, in her own room she was an amazing sleeper and is still a great sleeper to this day at 3 years old.

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnjie

There's a baby in the video that looks like s/he's sleeping on her tummy, OH NOES CALL DHHS. [/sarcasm]

I agree with Jim McKenna: that tombstone is completely offensive, as is the Indiana TV ad.

I don't see how socio-economic status fits into the issue. Their data gathering was only from a small sample of reports.

Making bedsharing illegal? Wow. I'd love to see them enforce that -- I can imagine several officers bursting into my bedroom, guns drawn.

I love how they save the fact that many of the "bedsharing deaths" were actually SIDS for the very end of the video. The media helps to criminalize those parents who bedshared and then lost a child, but they rarely ever follow up with those little details.

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSerene

To be totally honest, I can't watch the whole video. Any story that includes a baby dying due to neglect or idiocy on the part of a parent makes me cry uncontrollably, since I am currently struggling in an effort to get pregnant again and it seems like the people who get pregnant easily are the ones who shouldn't have kids. But trying to say that bedsharing causes infant death is offensive; bad parenting, whether in bed, in a crib, in a car, in the yard, in a highchair, etc. is what causes infant death. There are safe and unsafe practices for bedsharing just as there are safe and unsafe practices for pretty much everything else related to raising a child. This whole story is offensive, and stories like it are responsible for the societal perspective that bedsharing (and many other practices of attachment parenting) are harmful to children.

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlannah

I wish there were a different term for improper or haphazard bedsharing. For our family, bedsharing was a deliberate choice made with modifications to ensure the baby's health. Falling asleep on the sofa or bringing the baby to bed to feed just isn't the same.

But aside from the bedsharing issue, what really struck me was just how little support the mothers in these "homes in chaos" must have received when bringing a newborn home. THAT - even more than the bedsharing debate - really spoke to me. What does it say as a society that such a gap in parenting capacity exists, and what does it suggest for future generations?

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Bed sharing has been done for centuries, and considering the number of people currently on the planet, I'd say it's been pretty effective. When I went to the Yucatan peninsula, I was fascinated to find out that Mayan mothers share a hammock with their children, and I'm sure most indigenous cultures have their own co-sleeping arrangements. Since I don't have kids, I can't speak from experience, but I know from the literature ("The Magical Child" by Chilton Pearce, Leboyer's views on early childhood development, etc.) that bed-sharing is essential in establishing a mother-child bond. Interestingly, before I began to explore the issues of early childhood development, I was horrified by the thought of bed-sharing. I was raised in a crib, and although I am a Montessorian and believe in using a floor bed instead of a crib, I also started to realize - THROUGH THE POWER OF INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE - that bed-sharing had to be an essential part of my relationship with my child. So I guess it basically boils down to ignorance, which doesn't surprise me, since (according to the news anchors) all the people who took the quiz chose "alcohol" as the determining factor in bed deaths instead of bottle feeding, which is obvious to someone who has done the research. Ignorance should be demonized, NOT responsible bed-sharing/breastfeeding.

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermontessorimatters

wow. i never thought i'd find myself (for the most part) agreeing with a fox news report. there are so many aspects of this i feel i should comment on that i may write my own blog post about it.

Wow. First and foremost... WOW! I wish the statistic that ALL the babies were formula fed was being plastered around the world!!!! That is a POWERFUL and incredibly important piece of information. And I love the comment that breastfeeding should be a prerequisite. Bed sharing has been around as long as the human race and is practiced heavily around the world. I have never been able to figure out how we think babies are safer in their own room, away from mother. I do wish the piece focused a bit more on how TO safely bed share and the benefits of it. But, still it is incredibly powerful. The socio-economic relations were interesting and not that surprising. Given the lower rates of breastfeeding, it makes sense. I think they need to be focusing on education, not making it a crime.

As for the ads, I live in Indiana and I cried the first time I saw the couch commercial. It was heart wrenching and devastating. I can only imagine what it would be like for someone who has lost a child. It was very powerful and convincing for not sleeping with your child, but missed the boat on the point that it was the manner in which it was done that was dangerous.

I will be sharing this video. So powerful!!!

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Verve Path

This is one of the few reports that told both sides of the issue. Most of the time we just hear the demonizing of bedsharing. I think the socioeconomic factors comes into play when parents sleep with their baby or have the baby sleep with an older child because they cannot afford either the crib or the space for a crib. Also, they may have difficulty accessing information in order to learn how to bedshare safely. As we saw from the video, agencies just want it outlawed so there won't be any safe co-sleeping pamphlets at gov. offices or services that these individuals may use.

One thing I wished the report mentioned is how many babies died in cribs, sleeping alone. Tragically 20 babies died, and even 1 is to many, but if more babies died in cribs in the same period of time wouldn't that be the riskier behavior and they should have ads with the crib as a tombstone, trying to make placing your infant in a crib to sleep illegal.

Personally, I feel that parents should have a sleep arrangement that provides everyone with the best sleep possible. Any method has its risks which is why we should be educated on how to practice whichever method safely. I have seen much literature about placing an infant to sleep in a crib safely, and the same thing needs to be happening for bedsharing and other co-sleeping arrangements.

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCassie

I didn't have my infant in my bed because like a previous commenter I was unable to relax , our pillow top mattress is too soft and my husband is a restless and DEEP sleeper and it worried me. He was right next to me in a bassinet then a crib until 9 months, and started bedsharing at about 18 months. Yes the tombstone is offensive, yes I think they are going about it in the wrong way. Education is key - I don't know many people who set off to bedshare, most have stumbled into it with their first and followed suit with their other kids. Everyone I know has educated themselves and follow the basic rules to make it safer. Many are not following these rules and so instead of threatening them with jail, I agree that educating them about the risks of bed sharing with these hazards needs to be done instead of just saying "don't do it."

The main reason I sent Annie the link though was the link they were making between all the deaths ( albeit it's a small sample) all the babies were formula fed. As a beastfeeding mom , I don;t know what it's like to bond w/o breastfeeding( and I am not insinuating that a formula feeding mom doesn't have an equally good bond) but I do know that I would wake before my son would every 2 hours, my boobs would make sure of it, and this lasted for 2 years! So I find it plausible that nursing moms are more apt to wake easily, as well as bf babies sleep less soundly because on average they eat much more frequently . I found that so interesting and hope to find more research regarding this.

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

I knew as soon as they asked that all of the babies were going to be formula fed. But the thing that strikes me that has me sitting her utterly disgusted is that they want to make laws banning co-sleeping. Laws?!?! Seriously!!!! This bugs the day lights out of me. Now the lady who was drunk - fine, prosecute her. I mean if she had set her house on fire in a drunken stupor and her baby died you prosecute her so it is really the same thing. But do not tell me that I cannot share my bed with my babies. That is ridiculous!! UGH!!!

May 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterUpstatemomof3

This was a surprisingly balanced report. I was not expecting that at the outset, so I'd like to give a big THANK YOU to the reporter.

I practiced bedsharing with both of my children. For me, it was critical to breastfeeding at night. I'm not sure I could have continued through the recommended first 2 years without bedsharing, especially because my first child would feed for 45 minutes at a time and cry when I removed the breast from her mouth. I think that discouraging bedsharing is counter-productive, because it's so helpful to breastfeeding. If we agree that we need to encourage breastfeeding, then how can we outlaw a practice that facilitates it?

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

I have to agree with the previous commentator--this is surprisingly balanced from Fox news. I also agree that the advertisements shown are incredibly offensive and misleading. Why do we constantly underestimate people's ability to make reasoned choices given facts and information, and instead go to fear tactics and punishment to deter them? I have shared a bed with my son for 2 years, and breastfed, and it has felt completely safe. However, I do agree that breastfeeding is probably prerequisite--just as Dr. McKenna said, I always had him under my arm, so my husband would not have rolled on him, and I was constantly aware of where he was and all his movements. I wouldn't have felt comfortable with my husband sleeping with him alone--he wasn't in tune the same way, and didn't even wake up to cries sometimes. I think the same thing may happen with formula feeding...it's not to bash mothers that formula feed, but probably physiologically the changes in mother and babe just make their sleep cycles and bodies less in sync.

Even if they can't prosecute parents for bed-sharing (unless there is a death, then they may try), they can certainly make it a child protection issue for parents that come into contact with social service agencies. I survived a short stint as a child protection worker here in Canada (couldn't do it--the system was too messed up) and bed-sharing was definitely not permitted by social workers if parents wanted to keep their babies in their home. This was the case even if the mother was breastfeeding. So, I think the woman who said this could drive people underground and alienate them from seeking help and resources is probably right.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaty Brookes

I, like Amber, was surprised and am thankful for a balanced report. Nice job.
I'm ecstatic that they found a statistically significant connection between formula feeding and bed sharing deaths. That sounds horrible, I know, but it's true that breastfeeding and bed sharing should go hand in hand and that this report is out there is going to help educate a lot of people and erase a lot of myths.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelodie

I think the positioning is relevant too. As McKenna mentions in the video, breastfed babies sleep with their heads down near the mom's breast, whereas formula fed babies are more likely to be propped up on pillows or moving around the bed and when you don't know exactly where your baby is, it is harder to keep them safe.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

They say every mom has unbuckled her crying baby from the carseat in a moving car to nurse at least once. Do you think we should teach moms how to safely hold a baby in a moving car because we know they'll likely do it anyway?

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternita

I think that is a ridiculous statement. I've never unbuckled a crying baby from a carseat in a moving car to nurse. I have, however, pulled over in order to nurse many times. It isn't comparable at all to co-sleeping, which has many http://www.phdinparenting.com/2009/01/09/cosleeping-benefits/" rel="nofollow">inherent benefits.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I commented on the FB page too, but having watched the video again, am feeling more anxious again. We bed share with our 9 month old daughter. She's a big girl (22 pounds ish), and is still pretty much exclusively breastfed - we introduced solids via BLW at 6 months, but she doesn't eat that much really. That said, she stopped asking for breastfeeds overnight a few months ago. She does wake up, but tends to just go back to sleep again.
For the first six months, she slept in a small crib next to our bed. This worked fine - she was right up next to my side of the bed, I could scoop her out to breastfeed, and she seemed happy. We have a tiny room, and she outgrew her crib, though, so at six months, we tried to move her into the little second bedroom into a cot. Nightmare. She cried every time we left her, and we couldn't stomach trying any of the CC methods, so since then we have just put her in our bed, in between us. We put her on top of the duvet, and move our pillows to our sides of the bed, so there's no pillows by her head. Our mattress is very firm too.
We've been doing this for a little while, and she sleeps perfectly in our bed. I wake up several times a night, and feel comforted to see her lying there next to me. I definitely get a deep instinctual feeling of -rightness' and comfort from the bedhsharing as well as relief that we're not upsetting her anymore by putting her in her cot.
But my question is: is this safe, if she is still breastfed but doesn't feed overnight? And is it safe to have her between us? We tried on my side, but it didn't work, and actually felt better having her between us.
I'd welcome any feedback or thoughts on this...

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLorna

Everything The Verve Path said.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

So, adoptive parents, like me, who can't physically breastfeed can't co-sleep? My daughter has been formula feed her entire first year and we bed share. I place her in near my breast, as if she was breast feeding and that's where she sleeps. When she wakes to eat I sit up and feed her the bottle, never laying down.
I agree breastfeeding is always best, but people need to be sensitive to adoptive parents as well.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

Annie:

I wouldn't say that adoptive parents cannot co-sleep. But I would say that there are perhaps factors adoptive parents (or even fathers of breastfed babies) have to be more aware of when co-sleeping with their infants.

My first child was bottle fed as an infant (breastmilk, but he couldn't latch on). He did co-sleep with us, but we used a co-sleeper when he was very little to ensure that he was staying in that spot and not getting caught under pillows or blankets or anything else.

With my daughter, who was exclusively breastfed from the start, I didn't bother with the co-sleeper. She just slept next to my breast, away from pillows and blankets.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I've never been this impressed with Fox News before! However, I don't really think that any report on cosleeping can actually be considered totally balanced unless it also discusses deaths of babies in cribs. If you just watched this report you would think that no baby has ever died while sleeping in a crib. For those of us who chose cosleeping not just because it's convenient but also because we feel our babies are safer when close to us, that's a really glaring omission.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChanna

True, but as a Mom who tried but (for medical reasons) couldn't breastfeed, I did everything I could to make the bottle feed as close to breast feeding as possible. I always held the bottle close to my breasts, she still oriented herself towards me and my scent.

Personally, I found it rather offensive to "blame" formula feeding for these deaths. Once again, it makes me feel as though I am harming my child by not breastfeeding. The issue then isn't formula feeding, it is the manner of feeding (positioning, in particular). It is important to identify the real isues and separate them from the "convenient" place to put the blame.

I wasn't able to treasure the joys of breastfeeding my daughter. By making this a "pre-requisite" to co-sleeping, I would also be denied another crucial bonding chance. No way! You simply have to use your head, make safe choices wherever you can and do what is best for you and your family - this will vary from family to family. But an aware parent who is in tune to her/his child, will instinctively know what is right for them.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

When I get together with other mothers, they ask how old my son is, and I say "8 weeks" or "10 weeks" or whatever, and they get sympathy on their faces and say "oh, so you're still not getting much sleep". I smile and say "oh, we co-sleep - I'm doing just fine" and then hear how it's dangerous/setting up bad habits, etc. Because it's my second child, I just smile and say it didn't hurt my daughter at all...

I cannot believe that Nature designed things so that mothers are supposed to be in a continual state of sleep deprivation when their babies are small. It's counter-intuitive. Nature expects that we breastfeed and co-sleep on a flat, safe surface (Nature didn't invent pillows, couches, comforters...). When we act in accordance with Nature, things have a tendency of working themselves out.

(I admit I'm grateful for locked doors to save me from the sabre-toothed tigers though - that's an improvement on Nature ;) ).

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJuliette

@Serene, the reason that socio-economic status fits into the issue is that infant deaths in a shared bed tend to occur more often in situations where the household is well below the poverty level. Being in the lowest socio-economic classes in America is also correlated with bottle-feeding; the use of cigarettes, alcohol, and other drugs around babies and children; overcrowded living situations where bed sharing happens because there isn't room for the baby anywhere else; and not having access to the educational materials that most of us here do, to teach them how to safely co-sleep - only 12.1% of people at the low end of the income scale use the 'net at home or elsewhere. Race, education level, single-parent families, and urban/suburban/rural residency are also correlated with internet use (data from Falling Through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide, a report by the National Telecommunications & Information Division). Without access to the educational materials that most of us who breastfeed and co-sleep have found online, people are going to make less safe choices regarding bed sharing.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermakalove

@Alannah, actually had you watched the whole video, this is pretty much exactly what it said: that bed sharing should only be done when breastfeeding is practiced and not ever with a bottle-fed baby; that bed sharing can be done safely or unsafely; etc.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermakalove

I bed share with my three month old daughter and we are exclusively breast feeding. I feel having her next to me is the safest place for her to be. That said, we've made our bed as safe as possible...we have a co-sleeper side carred to my side of the bed that is reinforced with a hard foam bed rail, we've removed all soft bedding (pillows, comforters, etc.) and have an adjustable firmness mattress and put it to its maximum firmness. We also have a co-sleeper attached to my side of the bed so that I have the option of proving her with her own sleep space if/when needed. Most nights though she is facing me and I am facing her on my side of the bed (she is between me and the foam bed rail with her co-sleeper on the other side of that). It works beautifully for us and I can say that without a doubt, it definitely fosters our breastfeeding relationship especially now that I've returned to work. I find it odd that the AAP touts BFing as best but then doesn't support SAFE bed-sharing since it's proven to make the BFing relationship easier. I agree with the other comments that say rather than penalize parents for bed sharing that we need to educate ALL parents about the best practices for keeping their children healthy and safe (starting with stopping smoking, breastfeeding as well as how to make bed-sharing as safe as possible). The media also needs to report on the number of crib deaths every year...it's not like babies don't die in a crib or bassinet.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLori

@Heather:

i didn't hear anybody blaming formula feeding for the deaths; i heard a correlation being stated. The correlation between formula feeding and this particular group of infant deaths is there and can't really be denied. McKenna has also found similar correlation in other collections of data too. Correlation does not necessarily mean causation, of course. But it is a factor that has to be considered.

i'm saddened that you couldn't breastfeed. Is formula-feeding harming your child? Yes, it is. The research is undeniable. But every choice we make, everything we do, has risks and benefits. There are risks involved with formula-feeding. That doesn't mean you're doing something wrong. If you weren't able to breastfeed, *YOU* are not harming your child, but that doesn't mean your child isn't being harmed. We make choices every day that carry risks. Nobody considers us bad mothers because we put our children in car seats and drive to the grocery store instead of walking, even though they are at greater risk of injury or death in a car. How much less should we blame each other (or ourselves!) when we are making the only choice available to us?

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermakalove

@Lorna, i feel that this is probably still safe. She is still breastfeeding, and you are still waking in the night to be aware of her. As i understand it, the safety in bed sharing while breastfeeding isn't as related to the physical act of breastfeeding during the night as it is to the connection it creates between mother and baby. (And you may find - though of course you may not - that she starts night nursing again at some point if you nurse her into toddlerhood. i know that was the case for my babies, and was the experience of a lot of my friends, too.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermakalove

Like I said I don't know the other side of the coin but I am sure in your position I would feel the same way. Which is why I really am interested in more research about this. I don't necessarily think breastfeeding needs to be a prerequisite for safe bed sharing either. I am more interested in hearing more about the bond, and rhythm of sleep between nursing moms simply from a personal perspective. Also more research in that avenue could make doing what you did bottle nursing for formula feeding moms, and those who pump exclusively more effective. It could be easier to emulate the important parts ( position, skin to skin while feeding etc...) whatever they may be. I hate that research like this makes the gap between moms who did and did not nurse feel wider , definitely not the reason I shared it.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

Um ditto to Annie.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

Lorna:

I'll reply in more depth later once my kids are in bed. For now, here is a link to my detailed co-sleeping safety post: http://www.phdinparenting.com/2009/01/11/co-sleeping-safety/" rel="nofollow">Co-Sleeping Safety

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Thank you so much for posting this. I think that is the most Fair and Balanced I've ever seen from fox. I have so many thoughts but if I had seen that commercial with the baby not breathing on my TV anytime before 1am I would have been UP IN ARMS! How dare they use such a horrid scare tactic without scientific support.

[...] new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.Thanks to Annie at PhD in Parenting for making me aware of a recent Fox News story about co-sleeping.  I was able to track down the ad [...]

I would never unbuckle my daughter in a moving car to nurse her - I can't think of one mom who would!

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

Like others have said, that video brought up so many thoughts and emotions that it is kind of hard to process them all.

First of all, I was fully expecting to simply be outraged again at another completely biased and one-sided look at bedsharing. As I clicked on the play button, I was already running off in my head to post an angry blog post about the horrible reporting practices of the media. Kudos to FOX for the first news story I have seen that gives more than just a nod to the pro-bedsharing side. Also, in all the reading I have done about bedsharing, this is the first time I have heard that all of the bedsharing deaths involved formula fed babies. (Wow. 100%? That is a HUGE statisitc. I agree with @TheVervePath... that stastic should be plastered everywhere!) I found that really interesting. It makes sense that the way breastfeeding moms sleep with their babes would be different than those that bottlefeed (or rather, how the babies sleep)-everything about formula feeding is different than breastfeeding: the way it is digested, the hormones released, the way you hold your baby while you feed him.

As for the horrible scare tactics and making bedsharing illegal, period... how about we try education, instead of alienation? How about we talk about how COUCH SHARING is not the same thing as BEDSHARING, that alcohol and cosleeping don't mix, and how to make your bed a safe place for your baby. How about talking about all the benefits to bedsharing, besides that it is easier on mom and baby at night? (That always irks me... like I am choosing to cosleep because I am too lazy or ignorant to put my baby in his crib where he belongs.) Campaigns like these are based on the idea that people can only grasp one idea. Simplify the message, so people can remember it... abstinence only, because offering information for people to make educated decisions only confuses the issue.

Thank you for sharing this! It gave me a lot to think on today.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Heather:

I don't think it is a case of formula being the cause of death, but more an issue of formula feeding parents or even the father of a breastfed child needing to be more careful about how they co-sleep. In the case of breastfeeding, the child is naturally placed in the position next to the mother's breast. In the case of a formula-fed child or a breastfed child napping with a father, for example, the parents need to make a more conscious decision to place the child out of harm's way and to remain aware of their child. I think this is more a situation of correlation, rather than causation. I think that any parent who does the appropriate research and preparation to co-sleep and who listens to their own intuition (as we did when we initially put our son in a co-sleeper and then later migrated him out of it when we felt more aware of him), will be able to do so quite safely.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Wow, way to go Fox News! never thought I'd say that. I thought it was well-presented. I LOVED that they put forth that more deaths occurred in formula-fed babies.

I definitely think that health organizations should look at racial and socio-economic disparities when studying health. What is that lady thinking??

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmily, Anthro Doula

Hi Lorna,

After reading your post in more detail and taking the time to think about it, if you and your husband are both aware of the baby and feel confident in that awareness, I think it is fine to have her between you. Personally, I often pulled my baby closer to me at night even if she was between me and my husband, because I felt that he might be less aware of her presence than I was and because he seemed more reckless with his pillow and blanket at night.

I would, however, suggest moving the duvet away from her. Could you not dress warmly enough that you only need the blanket from the waist down, so that she is not having to lay on top of it. That could be a risk factor. In our house, we use two twin duvets on the bed, so a baby that is in between us does not necessarily have to be either under or on top of the duvet. I always kept my duvet down below my waist when I had a co-sleeping infant in the bed with me.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Out of interest, I just looked at the Ontario statistics from the Pediatric Death Review Committee's annual report for 2008 (there is a 2009 report too, but it didn't cover breastfeeding vs. formula feeding in the bed sharing section).

It said there were 77 deaths involving unsafe sleeping environments, which they define as (note: I dispute their definition):

"Unsafe sleeping environments include surfaces not designed for infant sleep, such as adult beds, couches, armchairs and infant swings. However any sleep surface that is cluttered with pillows, blankets, toys, duvets and other objects is deemed to be an unsafe sleeping environment."

Of those 77 deaths, 44 involved "bed sharing" (which doesn't necessarily mean sharing a bed, but means an infant sleeping with another person on any surface, including bed, couch, floor, etc.).

Of the 77 deaths, 24 were breastfeeding, 25 were bottle feeding, and 28 unknown.

Unfortunately, with the way they compiled the statistics there is no way to determine whether all of the bed sharing deaths occurred among the formula feeding families and all of the other unsafe sleep environment deaths (e.g. cluttered crib or bassinet, car seat, play pen, etc.) occurred among the breastfeeding families. I certainly would like to see them break the statistics down that way (and many other ways that they haven't - e.g. how many of the bed sharing deaths involved alcohol, drugs, smoking, etc.). All of the breakdowns that they do, other than the breakdown of who the baby was sleeping with, are done against the full 77 unsafe sleep environment deaths and not just the 44 bed sharing deaths specifically.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Did you also notice that the baby they kept showing in the crib was sleeping on it's tummy.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Thanks! Now I get it. :)

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSerene

Same here. My husband has had to find a place to pull over at some pretty inconvenient times, but I wouldn't unbuckle my kids to breastfeed ever. A few minutes of crying until we can stop safely is a much better choice.

I knew from prior reading of research and Dr. McKenna's studies that breastfeeding is a huge factor in the safety of co-sleeping with a young infant. However I didn't realize that he himself does not recommend co-sleeping unless a mother is breastfeeding. I give parenting ideas to all of my friends, include many who have never breastfed. I think I will stop recommending any kind of co-sleeping to a new mom who is formula feeding. However, if a child is older, espeically after 1 year of age, when they are walking, then I will definitely suggest co-sleeping.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlina

I just want to say that I am very pleased overall with the coverage. They gave it ample time and respect. I appreciate that in today's modern media.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhillary

Annie,

I wanted desperately to breastfeed my youngest daughter (she was adopted) but since she was seven months old at coming home she was not having it. But a friend of mine who is sensitive to this fact has called it "bottle nursing" when I feed the baby. When I asked her about that she said that it was because I was doing all of the bonding things that went with breastfeeding. I would hold her and never gave her her bottle in a chair or on the floor for her to hold. I always snuggled her in and held her and paid attention to her while I was feeding her. I would think if you are doing that that bedsharing is just fine. I think the problem with bedsharing and formula is so often babies drinking from bottles are not giving the baby the same attention. Obviously this is not true for everyone. Remember the story said that all babies who died were formula fed - not that all formula fed babies who bedshare will die.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterUpstatemomof3

Has anyone else done the panicked no-stops-for-10-miles boob lean-over?

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

That I did do but it was bumper to bumper traffic on Memorial day - I managed to stay buckled in too . I horrified my poor FIL who was driving.

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

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