Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
Bed-sharing between parents and a baby is associated with a five-fold increase in the risk that an infant could die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. The risk, according to a new study published in the journal BMJ Open, is the same even in households where parents do not smoke, take drugs, or drink alcohol–the factors that have been previously associated with SIDS. More from MedPageToday.com:
When neither parent smoked, and the baby was breastfed, less than 3-months old, and had no other major SIDS risk factors, the adjusted odds ratio for bed-sharing versus room-sharing was still 5.1 (2.3 to 11.4), reported Robert Carpenter PhD, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues, in the online journal BMJ Open.
The estimated absolute risk for bed-sharing compared with room-sharing was 0.23/1,000 live births (0.11 to 0.43) versus 0.08/1,000 live births, they added.
Nine out of 10 SIDS deaths that involved sleeping with a parent or caregiver would not have occurred in the absence of bed-sharing, the researchers concluded.
Advice on bed-sharing varies by country, but “there is general acceptance that sleeping with a baby is a risk factor for SIDS when sleeping … in a bed if the mother smokes and/or has taken alcohol,” the authors explained. But there’s less consensus on whether bed-sharing is still a problem with the absence of these risk factors.
The study combined five major case-control trials conducted in the U.K. and Europe, as well as in Australia and surrounding countries, that included 1,472 infant SIDS deaths and 4,679 controls, making it the largest study of SIDS risk factors ever reported, according to the authors.
Bed-sharing was defined as sleeping in the same bed with one or both parents, while room-sharing was defined as sleeping in a crib in the same room as a parent.
Updated 5/22/13 to remove the reference to “co-sleeping.” While “co-sleeping” and “bed-sharing” are sometimes used interchangeably, there are methods of co-sleeping that are safe, while studies such as the one discussed in this post show the dangers of bed-sharing.
Dress Baby for Sleep
Image: Baby in bed, via Shutterstock
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Friday, June 22nd, 2012
Attachment parenting, the parenting philosophy that captured national attention when a controversial Time magazine cover sparked debate, has the support of a high number of self-identified feminists, a new study published in the journal Sex Roles has found.
The study asked mothers and non-mothers–who either did or did not identify themselves as feminists–to rate their level of support of a number of parenting principles, including the length of time children should be breastfed (from not at all to more than 18 months), whether mothers should carry their children in slings or arms as often as possible, and whether parents should co-sleep with their children.
On all of those measures, feminist mothers were most likely to support attachment parenting principles, with non-feminist mothers right behind them, and non-feminist non-mothers the least likely to support the principles.
The findings are intertwined with the perennial question of how to define feminism. The study’s authors, psychologists Miriam Liss and Mindy J. Erchull, write that the self-identified feminists in the study “saw themselves as somewhat atypical feminists who were more interested in attachment parenting than they thought was typical of feminists.”
An analysis from BuzzFeed.com said that Liss and Erchull also found that non-feminist mothers were most likely to believe that the principles of attachment parenting are incompatible with feminism:
Despite finding that feminist moms were more likely to subscribe to attachment-parenting philosophies, the study authors found that non-feminists, especially non-feminist moms, still believed the opposite: that feminism meant you weren’t interested in things like co-sleeping or carrying your baby in a sling. Liss and Erchull wrote, “these stereotypes are consistent with the image of a feminist woman as being less invested in her children and family, perhaps because she is more invested in aspects of her life outside of the home.”
Image: Baby in a sling, via Shutterstock
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Friday, November 18th, 2011
In the wake of a spate of infant deaths among those who were “co-sleeping” in a bed next to their parents, Milwaukee officials have launched an aggressive ad campaign designed to shock parents into heeding safe sleep recommendations.
Nine infants have died in the city this year, the latest just 7 weeks old, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The ad the city unveiled depicts an infant in a bed next to a large butcher knife, alongside a caption that reads, “Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous.” The city has set a goal of reducing the infant death rate to an historic low by 2017, including eliminating racial disparities in the death rate.
From the Journal Sentinel:
“We as adults who love babies love the thought of a baby in bed,” [Milwaukee Mayor Tom] Barrett said.
“Cuddling a baby is very nurturing,” he said.
But if it takes a raw message to get the point across that babies must sleep alone, on their backs, in their own cribs, the ad is not too shocking, the mayor said.
“Co-sleeping deaths are the most preventable form of infant death in this community,” Barrett said.
“Is it shocking? Is it provocative?” asked Baker, the health commissioner.
“Yes. But what is even more shocking and provocative is that 30 developed and underdeveloped countries have better (infant death) rates than Milwaukee.”
(image via: http://www.jsonline.com/)
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Friday, November 11th, 2011
A two-month-old baby boy died last week in Toledo after his mother fell asleep in bed with him while breastfeeding. Toledo’s WTOL News reports that the mother woke to discover the baby was not breathing. Paramedics could not revive the infant.
NPR.org summarizes the current recommendations for how to help an infant sleep safely and avoid such a tragedy:
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Co-sleeping is a catch-all term that needs to be broken down into subcategories. Sharing a room and sharing a bed are quite different practices.
The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recognizes this distinction. It advises that infants should always sleep on their backs and on a firm surface, and on the issue of co-sleeping, recommends that “the baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).” The idea is that room-sharing embraces the benefit of close monitoring of the baby but avoids any risk of a parent inadvertently rolling over on the child.
Without a doubt, alcohol, tobacco, or other drug use by the parent, or low birth weight in the infant, make bed-sharing too risky.