Lactivists and the Fatal Sleep Five

Why do breastfeeding advocates continue to put their precious babies’ lives at risk by bed-sharing?

Why do they ignore the fact that 9 out of 10 SIDS deaths could be prevented if bed-sharing were eliminated?

Why do they dismiss the scientific data and the exhortations of pediatricians in favor of anthropology nonsense like “The Safe Sleep Seven”?

Sadly, babies continue to die preventable deaths because their mothers fall prey to the Fatal Sleep Five.

1. False Dichotomy of Risk: “I’m low risk!”

False Dichotomy of Risk is based on the erroneous notion that the only possible outcomes are at opposite extremes when in reality there is a spectrum of risk. Lactivists like to pretend that bed-sharing results in deaths only in high risk situations and never in low risk situations. Therefore, they fantasize that since they are at low risk of a bed-sharing death, there is no risk at all.

As all too many low risk mothers can attest, such thinking is FATALLY fclawed.

2. Over-reliance on Personal Experience: “I practice safe bed-sharing!”

This form of poor reasoning is based on the unexamined belief that if it hasn’t happened to the individual before, it is never going to happen. It’s often the rationalization used by drunk drivers who have not yet been in an accident when driving drunk. Many are under the impression that they are “good” drunk drivers and therefore not at risk of a fatal accident. Similarly, many lactivists who bed-share are under the impression that they are “good” at bed-sharing since their infant has survived thus far.

As all too many mothers who are “good” at bed-sharing can attest, such thinking is FATALLY flawed.

3. Survivorship Bias: “We’re still here!”

Survivorship Bias is the effort to reason by considering only historical successes while ignoring historical failures.

Most of us above a certain age traveled in cars throughout our entire childhoods without ever using a car seat and we’re still here. Does that mean car seats are unnecessary?

The dramatically lower death rates for infants in accidents today compared to the 1960’s makes it clear that placing an infant in a car seat is much safer than no car seat. But if we only looked at people alive today even though they never used car seats, we might erroneously conclude that car seats are unnecessary. Putting a sleeping infant in her own sleeping space is like using a car seat.

As all too many mothers can attest, such thinking is FATALLY flawed.

4. Rationalization: “I’m different from the mothers whose babies died!”

When informed of a bed-sharing death, advocates of bed-sharing often appear heartless when they immediately blame the victim. “She was probably fat and I’m thin.” “She rolled over on her baby and I am always completely aware of where my body is relative to my baby.”

As all too many mothers can attest, such thinking is FATALLY flawed.

5. Face Saving: “I would never risk my baby’s life!”

Good mothers don’t risk their babies’ lives. In order for lactivists to bed-share and continue to view themselves as good mothers, they must practice iron clad denial of the risk of bed-sharing. The so-called “Safe Sleep Seven” codifies that denial and therefore helps mothers who are actually risking their babies’ lives to save face.

As all too many mothers who followed the Safe Sleep Seven can attest, such thinking is Fatally flawed.

Think bed-sharing is safe? Ask yourself whether it’s because you subscribe to one of more of the Fatal Sleep Five. Then stop bed-sharing.