Sleeping with your baby could be a deadly mistake
A new study has revealed that sleeping in bed with your baby raises the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) significantly. Though in America pediatricians have long recommended that babies sleep on their backs in an empty crib, many parents still choose to co-sleep, especially in the early days when night wakings are frequent and everyone is exhausted. But the study suggests that even parents who co-sleep and take measures to lower the risk of SIDS such as breastfeeding and not smoking or drinking, are making an unsafe choice.
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According to the study, babies younger than three months old who slept with a parent are five times more likely to die of SIDS than babies who slept in the same room, but in separate bed, regardless of whether other risk factors were removed from the situation. Among babies between three months and one year, the risk increases by three times. Researchers believe that about 88 percent of SIDS deaths where there was co-sleeping involved would not have occurred had the family not been bed sharing. Because the study separated out each risk factor associated with SIDS, the findings are unique and even more conclusive than studies done in the past.
Despite that this study and a slew of others before it have proven the dangers of co-sleeping, many parents continue to do it because of cultural norms, parenting philosophy or out of sheer desperation since babies tend to sleep better when they are close to their parents and middle. And then, there are well-known "experts" who choose to ignore the data and tout co-sleeping as a viable option. Dr. William Sears, author of The Baby Sleep Book and an attachment parenting advocate says that the science used in the studies that warn about the dangers of co-sleeping are inaccurate. So, it's understandable that parents may not be convinced that there is any real danger, but perhaps this latest study will convince anyone who is on the fence to proceed with caution.
I have to say, there were a few times I brought my son in bed with me to sleep for an hour or so in the middle of the night, and I honestly don't know how anyone finds it to be a restful situation. Each time I did this, it was impossible for me to truly fall asleep because I was so afraid of smothering my child. I know that parents will ultimately do whatever feels right for their families, but knowing that even people who feel they are doing it the "right way" are actually endangering their babies will make me think a second and even a third time before attempting to co-sleep with an infant in the future.
Imagen vía Sugar and Vice/flickr