I opened this free edition of the local paper tonight - it was thrown at our house sometime over the weekend. It usually includes two sections that I don't bother reading and some coupons.
This time, a picture caught my eye. It was of a lady sleeping with a baby which made me smile... until I saw the big words surrounding this picture: "Safe? Think again." Then in a smaller text: "In 2009, 53 babies in the greater ***** area died while sleeping with a family member." Back in big text: "Share your room, not your bed."
This made my smile fade and my blood boil. There were no other statistics listed! They didn't bother to share the rest of the facts.
-Who were these babies sleeping next to? Mom? Dad? A sibling?
-And that person co-sleeping with the baby... were they on any medication? Even "just" Tylenol or Benadryl? Had they been drinking? Smoking?
-Were they over tired?
-Where were they co-sleeping? What kind of bed? or were they on the couch?
-Were the babies breastfed or formula fed?
-Did they recently have vaccinations?
The ad makes it seem like parents who co-sleep are bad parents. But, it fails to give the facts. My biggest question... how many babies die every year from SIDS? Whether it's in a crib or the family bed? From my research, approximately 2,500 babies die every year. TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED. And my questions stay the same no matter where they died... I am all for co-sleeping. My baby sleeps with me every night. I do NOT take medication, I do NOT drink or smoke EVER, I have a barrier between me and my husband so he can't roll on her, and I do NOT allow other children in our bed while Bells is sleeping with us. I DO breastfeed and she hasn't had any vaccinations.
I pray every day that she'll be safe no matter what. And every morning, I thank God we're all still alive. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost a child, no matter the cause. I will always be an advocate for co-sleeping. It has worked for us with all five of our children.
I don't know what causes SIDS. Nobody has figured that out yet. I hope someone does, very soon. I also hope - as weird as a hope this is - that it turns out to be something genetic or some sort of birth defect. Then so many parents who have lost their babies to SIDS can stop blaiming themselves.