Co-sleeping: there is no benefit of breastfeeding worth risking a baby’s death

mother and baby sleep

During the Vietnam War, a military officer remarked about the village of Ben Tre:

“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.

The quote came to epitomize the brutality and absurdity of the war itself, a war based on killing people in order to “save” them.

I was reminded of that quote by Dr. Melissa Bartick’s irresponsible and hypocritical opinion piece in Maternal Child Nutrition, Babies in boxes and the missing links on safe sleep: Human evolution and cultural revolution. Bartick promotes the deadly practice of co-sleeping in order to support breastfeeding. Apparently she is blind to the absurdity of letting babies die in order to save them.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Dr. Melissa Bartick promotes the deadly practice of co-sleeping.[/pullquote]

When I first saw the evidence about the deadly risks of co-sleeping, I was not persuaded. I had co-slept with my own babies and it was difficult to contemplate that I might have put them at risk. Over the years, however the evidence has become overwhelming and I have come to understand just how deadly co-sleeping can be.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

…[B]ed-sharing is associated with an increased risk of SIDS; a recent meta-analysis of 11 studies investigating the association of bed-sharing and SIDS showed a summary OR of 2.88 (95% CI: 1.99–4.18) with bed-sharing. Furthermore, bed-sharing in an adult bed not designed for infant safety, especially when associated with other risk factors, exposes the infant to additional risks for unintentional injury and death, such as suffocation, asphyxia, entrapment, falls, and strangulation. Infants younger than 4 months194 and those born preterm and/or with low birth weight are at the highest risk, possibly because immature motor skills and muscle strength make it difficult to escape potential threats. In recent years, the concern among public health officials about bed-sharing has increased, because there have been increased reports of SUIDs occurring in high-risk sleep environments, particularly bed-sharing and/or sleeping on a couch or armchair.

It is incontrovertible that bed sharing nearly triples the risk of infant death from SIDS. But apparently for Bartick that pales into insignificance compared to the benefits of promoting breastfeeding. She seems to believe that it makes sense to let babies die in order to save them.

Her “argument” is an inane exposition of the naturalistic fallacy, the fallacy that because something was done in nature, it always and forevermore ought to be continued.

Recommendations enforcing separate sleep are based on 20th century Euro‐American social norms for solitary infant sleep and scheduled feedings via bottles of cow’s milk‐based formula, in contrast to breastsleeping, an evolutionary adaptation facilitating the survival of mammalian infants for millennia. Interventions that aim to prevent bedsharing, such as the cardboard baby box, fail to consider the implications of evolutionary biology or of ethnocentrism in sleep guidance…

As I explained yesterday, only someone who doesn’t understand evolution would offer such a foolish justification for risking babies’ deaths.

Bartick appears to believe that evolution produces perfection and therefore, any deviation from the past is a deviation from perfection. But evolution does not produce perfection; it is based on survival of the fittest. By definition, in the state of nature, some will live, many will die. Why would we want to copy that?

From an evolutionary perspective, the most successful animals are those who can adapt to new environments, not those who are slavishly devoted to recapitulating the behavior of their ancestors. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past, only how well the animal can cope with present conditions.

Even if it were the case that women and babies co-slept in the past, they did so on bare ground in the cold. Humans haven’t slept on the bare ground in the cold since fire was mastered. The way we sleep has changed over time and now we sleep in ways that are harmful to babies: on soft surfaces, with soft bedding, some of us having smoked tobacco, or ingested alcohol or pharmaceuticals.

The parents who will be most successful evolutionarily are those who let their offspring sleep in a separate bed, on a firm surface, with no bedding or soft toys.

But Bartick isn’t interested in what’s good for babies, she’s interested in what is good for breastfeeding.

She writes

Recognizing breastsleeping as the evolutionary and cross‐cultural norm entails re‐evaluating our research and policy priorities, such as providing greater structural support for families, supporting breastfeeding and safe co‐sleeping, investigating ways to safely minimize separation for formula‐fed infants, and mitigating the potential harms of mother–infant separation when breastsleeping is disrupted…

Pro-tip for Dr. Bartick: a dead baby can’t breastfeed.

Promoting co-sleeping is the equivalent of destroying babies in order to save them.

It’s also extraordinarily hypocritical.

Bartick and other professional lactivists have implied that women who choose formula feeding because breastfeeding causes pain, frustration and exhaustion are “selfish” women more concerned for their own convenience than for their baby’s wellbeing.

In promoting bed sharing, Bartick notes:

Research shows that bedsharing breastfeeding mothers nurse their infants 5.75 times during the night (often without realizing it), compared to 2.5 times a night for moms and babies who do not share a bed.

There is nothing inherent in sleeping separately that prevents a mother from breastfeeding exclusively. Bed sharing just makes breastfeeding more convenient. But according to lactivist logic, if convenience is not an acceptable reason for using formula instead of breastfeeding, it couldn’t possibly be an acceptable reason for refusing to get out of bed to nurse an infant as often as he or she wants.

Lactation professionals have no trouble telling women to set an alarm and pump multiple times during the night in order to boost supply, why don’t they tell breastfeeding mothers to set an alarm and get up and breastfeed 5.75 times a night to maintain breastfeeding while avoiding infant death? Can it be that breastfeeding mothers are simply too lazy and selfish?

Bartick writes:

Moving forward, our frame of reference in determining risk and public policy to manage risk must be normative human physiology …

Wrong! Our frame of reference in determining risk ought to be scientific evidence, not what our ancestors did in the past.

Anything else amounts to letting babies die in order to save them.

228 Responses to “Co-sleeping: there is no benefit of breastfeeding worth risking a baby’s death”

  1. yugaya
    November 20, 2017 at 8:02 am #

    “Explained suffocation is comprised of cases with a complete
    case investigation, non-conflicting evidence of full external airway obstruction, and no other potentially fatal conditions.

    Results: Among explained suffocation deaths soft bedding was the most
    prevalent mechanism (64%),followed by overlay (20%), wedging (13%), and other (2%). Among explained suffocation soft bedding deaths, most
    infants were found prone (88%) on an adult bed (46%) or in
    a crib/bassinet (31%) with their airway obstructed by a blanket(s) (35%)
    or a pillow(s) (25%). Among overlay deaths, most infants were placed
    to sleep on an adult bed (73%), and overlay by their mother (47%) was
    most frequently reported. Among wedging deaths, most infants were
    found wedged between an adult bed/mattress and a wall (48%), followed by between an adult mattress and the bedframe (27%).”

    How many of those that claim to *safe* bedshare do that

    – with adult bed dismantled, mattress placed on the floor in the middle of the room with ALL other furniture secured and moved away to prevent wedging and entrapment

    – without ANY pillows, blankets or bedding to prevent soft bedding suffocation

    – waking up every time baby nurses to make sure that the baby was after feeding placed to sleep on their back

    – have never bedshared when any of the adults consumed ANY alcohol, drugs or sleep altering medication like painkillers during previous 24 hours

    – have never bedshared when unwell or overtired, or when baby was cluster feeding, congested, suffered from reflux, teething, colic or fussiness enough to sleep less than 4 hours the longest during previous day.

    Those are minimum hypothetical rules based on available evidence that you must follow in harm reduction model of bedsharing in adult bed. It happens in real life almost never.

    “look at this list of in practice unworkable recommendations”

    Yeah. Let’s do that. Let’s look at the reality of practices that place infants at risk of death that is after child death review process determined to have been either completely or to a considerable degree PREVENTABLE in 9 out of 10 cases. According to the comments on this post, any going against current safe sleep recommendations is justified in the name of parental comfort. Public health advice ought to stop telling parents what is safe and what isn’t in clear, mandatory regulation bounded categories and evidence-based recommendations, and must start acknowledging that “every location, position or environment where infants sleep is a variation of safe”.

    Funny how the above line of argumentation closely resembles much of homebirth advocates and their excuses for causing the harm that does not come even close to 3600 preventable infant deaths a year in USA alone. They also like to claim that taking completely preventable risks is justified because parents would otherwise be doing things that are even more dangerous.

  2. yugaya
    November 17, 2017 at 4:33 pm #

    This is a comment from a bedsharing loss mother:

    “I have 4 children, only 3 are with me today. I wasn’t told bed sharing
    was unsafe, I was told by other moms it was fine. My eldest child is no
    longer with us because of the ignorance you’re spewing! NO blankets, ONE pillow on my QUEEN SIZED BED, with ONLY a fitted sheet on the mattress. 10 months old. Almost made it to his first birthday, ALMOST! Dad went to work, baby rolled in between the mattress and wall. I woke up to a BLUE FUCKING CHILD. THAT’S THE FUCKING CHANCE YOU TAKE BED SHARING. A DEAD, HELPLESS, LITTLE FUCKING CHILD. Ambulance, EMTs, cops, investigators, 6 months in the fucking hospital until you finally agree to pull the fucking plug.

    If that’s worth your few hours of fucking sleep – please, be my fucking guest!

    There is NO “safER” bed sharing. There’s a safe place to put your baby down to sleep and there’s a risk of waking up to your precious child DEAD. Period. Crib, pack n play or bassinet.”

    • Sarah
      November 18, 2017 at 7:16 am #

      I respect that this lady is trying to prevent further deaths. I’m grateful to her for that, and my admiration of her sentiments is as high as my sympathy for her loss. As some people do actively choose to bedshare, it’s possible her comment will save a life if one of them reads it.

      Nonetheless, the reality is that this isn’t simply about a few hours of anyone’s sleep. For many of us, we know we’re going to be sleeping regardless, whether we would rather stay awake with the child or not. We only get a choice about the location we do it, and whether we’re holding the baby at the time or not.

      • yugaya
        November 18, 2017 at 10:42 am #

        Accidental bedsharing in adult bed is not associated with risks that are there when you bedshare intentionally, and when adult bed is baby’s usual sleep place.

        You have zero respect for her, her words, or the courage it takes to speak out the way she does if your reply is “Yeah but….”

        • Sarah
          November 18, 2017 at 10:52 am #

          I was under the impression that accidental cosleeping, not limited to beds, was dangerous. For many of us, staying awake was not going to be an option, baby wouldn’t be put down and therefore our choice was where to do it, not whether to choose sleep or not.

          As for your second paragraph, you’re wrong.

          It is perfectly possible to respect someone’s courage and motives whilst disagreeing with the premises they seek to base their arguments on. There are many well intentioned, courageous people who still say things that are incorrect. This isn’t ‘yeah but’.

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 11:12 am #

            “I was under the impression that accidental cosleeping, not limited to beds, was dangerous.” On sofas, recliners yes, extremely dangerous. Accidental, non-habitual falling asleep with baby in adult bed and returning baby to their safe sleep space immediately when you wake up is not associated with same risks that placing baby intentionally to sleep in adult bed is – that is the basis for the new AAP recommendation where to feed your baby if you are at risk of falling asleep – in adult bed, with all direct suffocation risks removed. But that is only safe as long as the baby is returned to safe sleep space and is not bedsharing habitually in adult bed.

          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 11:23 am #

            Sure, but the reality is that when one has a baby who won’t be put down, and there is nobody able to stay awake with that baby, it’s simply a choice about where and how to co-sleep with them (well I was fortunate that my husband, who wasn’t unwell recovering from birth at the time like I was, did it, but as he also couldn’t stay up all night once his paternity leave ended the principle was the same). Sofa or chair is where most people would be sitting if they choose to try and stay awake with a baby and is a common location of accidental cosleeping, meaning it most emphatically is part of the cosleeping discussion.

            And of course if you can return the baby to the safe space once you wake up then they should be safe. The worry is what happens if something happens before you wake up from your accidental sleep. Which, as it was unplanned, might have additional risk factors such as heavy duvets.

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 11:28 am #

            “The worry is what happens if something happens before you wake up from
            your accidental sleep. Which, as it was unplanned, might have additional
            risk factors such as heavy duvets.” Not true if you follow the guidance where to feed your baby. “Planning ahead” to place your baby in adult bed as sleep location is intentional, habitual bedsharing, for which the evidence shows that the dose makes the poison. You can just the same plan ahead how to avoid it.

            “but the reality is that when one has a baby who won’t be put down”

          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 11:33 am #

            Which guidance are you referring to? Also did your post cut off there?

            And I’d be interested to hear your plan as to how planning would’ve assisted us in avoiding cosleeping in the case of my second child. I’ll copy and paste from another post describing it- I was replying to some other points in there but it describes the scenario quite well:


            This, unfortunately, was my second rather than my first, so I also had the sleep and daytime care of a toddler to consider. It wasn’t snapping that worried me: sitting crying in the face of it would’ve been more my style at the time. It was what might happen if I unexpectedly fell asleep caring for either or both.

            And this was with a partner who had 3 weeks of paternity leave on full pay, during which he did all night feeds because yay formula, and also for a couple of weeks thereafter, and several hours of assistance from other family members during the day after my husband had to go back to work. So I was very, very lucky compared to many. I can’t imagine how much worse it could’ve been without that support- you are right to highlight it.

            Unfortunately though, the baby’s period of refusing to be put down lasted longer than the paternity leave did, and the family assistance still left several hours of the day with me solo. Having had an an EMCS and a haemmorhage left me rather more wiped out than I’d expected to be. We did split shifts while my husband was on paternity leave, but after that, he could no longer stay awake all night then catch up during the day, and I was still having trouble staying awake and was afraid of what might happen if I got even more tired. We were not under any delusions that what we were doing was optimum, but the baby co-sleeping with the not ill parent was the best option available to us at that point.

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 11:40 am #

            Me plan? It’s your job to keep your baby safe. Community online support, reaching out in real life, delegating childcare and dealing with feeding issues by supplementing (instead of losing your sanity and sleep over a baby that is basically non-stop crying because they are non-stop hungry in many cases), and taking bedsharing off the table before the baby is born completely is what works. You can find us doing what we can here: , and you can ask parents who have managed to do it how they did it.

          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 11:49 am #

            Nice ducking out there.

            So as it happens, I already had a lot of family and community support, several hours a day in fact (although that’s because I’m lucky- plenty of women don’t and it’s nothing they’ve done wrong. Check your privilege). Still wasn’t enough to mean I was able to stay awake at night for the first few weeks following my EMCS and haemmorhage. My husband had a supportive employer who provided more than the legal minimum in paternity leave and pay, and let him temporarily reduce his hours at work too- but he still had to go in 4 days a week and commute, and on those days I had to spend some time each day looking after a toddler and a newborn who wouldn’t be put down. As for supplementation, it clearly states in my post that we were using formula, so I don’t know what you think my husband could have topped up with while he did all the night feeds.

            I suppose it’s just easier to think a baby who won’t be put down must be hungry due to insufficient breastmilk, or something else the parents did wrong, than to accept that if you didn’t get one like this you were simply lucky.

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 11:53 am #

            “Nice ducking out there.” You asked a loaded question. I refused to indulge.

            ” than to accept that if you didn’t get one like this you were simply lucky.” Yeah. Appeal to emotion is next. It’s not like I ended up diagnosed with chronic insomnia with my second kiddo. I of course have no idea how hard it was for you.

            Jesus the amount of anecdotes and ill logic on these posts makes me go and check if I’m still on SOB or on some woo peddling page.

          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 11:58 am #

            No, I asked you to back up your claim and you couldn’t. Which says everything.

            I know from various posts in recent days that I’m not the only commenter here to have had this type of experience. If you do actually have anything to say about how cosleeping could have been avoided in these scenarios, no doubt it would be of use to someone. If you don’t, perhaps think more carefully about claims that people can plan to avoid it.

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

            “If you do actually have anything to say about how cosleeping could have been avoided in these scenarios”

            The burden of proof is on you – you are claiming that your baby was too special to sleep safely. Your question was answered in my earlier comment.

          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

            No, the burden of proof is on you as the person who made the claim that it’s possible to plan to avoid cosleeping when talking about people you’ve never met. Your privilege mired, just get the community to help you, reach out to support that doesn’t actually exist for all women certainly wasn’t it.

            Incidentally, that you’re reduced to referring to a baby here as ‘ too special’ does nothing but damage your argument further.

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

            ” it’s possible to plan to avoid cosleeping” Yes it is. Join the group I linked, I’m gonna make a post about it.You can then explain to parents who managed to do it how it’s impossible because you or your baby are too special for safe sleep interventions to work for you.

            “The authors also found that mothers were more likely to follow the
            recommendations for room sharing and exclusive breastfeeding if they had
            received advice to do so. The women were asked if they received advice
            from any of these sources: family, baby’s doctors, nurses at the
            hospital where the baby was born, and the media. The greater the number
            of sources a mother had heard from, the more likely she was to follow
            the recommendations.”

          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 12:15 pm #

            It’s a closed group and I prefer to keep my anonymity here, so perhaps you could copy the responses- I appreciate that you probably have reasons for keeping it closed.

            Though even if they are useful, it still won’t change the fact that you yourself haven’t backed up what you claimed.

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

            “you yourself haven’t backed up what you claimed.” Lol. Mkay. If you say so. See the link I just posted how parents are less likely to bedshare the more they are told to avoid it. 🙂

          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

            Could you tell us how you think that backs up your claim?

            There doesn’t appear to be anything in there about the alternatives any of these parents had, and I assume we’re all aware that at least some cosleeping is done through choice and in ignorance of the risks, so one would expect to see some reduction.

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

            comment would be to make it physically hard to reach the baby while you
            are yourself partially asleep. If possible when you are roomsharing,
            make it so you have to stand up and walk in order to reach the baby.”

            ” We
            have multiple safe sleep spaces, I spoke with my husband and my mom who
            are the other care givers about what safe sleep was and why it’s
            important, and how to follow safe sleep rules. We discussed things that
            may come up, like right now when my 4 week
            old is sick and sleeps better elevated, that we would all trade shifts
            being awake with her to sit up. That the one holding her if tired. Must
            locate another care givers to trade off with, no exceptions.”

            “Lining up daytime help so that you can nap, increasing yourtotal sleep in 24 hrs is key imo.”

            biggest drawback is that I remember how nice it was to bed share with
            my first. How much sleep we got and how easy breast feeding was.
            What makes me successful in avoiding bed sharing is making sure baby is close is his bassinet so it’s as easy as
            possible. And making sure I am in a comfortable position when
            breastfeeding so I’m less tempted to lay down. Also trying, sometimes
            unsuccessfully, to make sure I’m getting some rest during the day so I’m
            not exhausted.”

            ” When
            I was pregnant with my daughter 4 years ago the one and only firm
            decision I made is that we would not bed share. I actually didn’t really
            how unsafe it was, my reasons were different. I slept in bed with my
            grandma until she kicked me out at 8 years
            old. From then I’ve always had a very difficult time sleeping by
            myself. I didn’t want to put her through that and I couldn’t imagine not
            having that me time or us time with my husband at night. I’m with my
            kids all day (sahm), they can be without me while they sleep! So, yes
            it’s possible to plan on not bed sharing. My daughter is 3 and my son is
            6 months and both are great at self soothing and going to sleep on
            their own.”

            From the very beginning I determined not to…I was too scared of rolling over on her.
            pushed her far enough away in her bassinet that I’d actually have to
            practically get out of bed to lift her up. I also placed a rocker and
            boppy right next to the bassinet so I would get up to feed her instead of doing it in bed.
            also has safe sleep places sprinkled throughout the house (bassinet in
            my room, crib in nursery for later, pack n play in the living room for
            naps and so I can clean and get things done around the house)
            have Netflix and started series so I could be fully awake while feeding
            especially in those first few weeks when she’d eat for an hour every
            two hours.
            My mom also comes over once a week and I often take a nap during that time.”

            found having baby’s bassinet close to me but having him in his own
            sleeping space useful. I could see him and he was right there but I knew
            I couldn’t roll on him etc.”

            ” Probably the biggest thing was get up and out of bed to feed baby.
            a hard look at the benefits of breastfeeding versus the risks of bed
            sharing. The risks of bed sharing greatly outweigh the benefits of
            breastfeeding when everything else is equal (developed country, clean
            water, available formula, full term baby, etc) if you cannot stay awake
            and breastfeed consider bottle feeding (expressed breastmilk or formula)
            and when possible take shifts”

            to piggyback on this, if you are breastfeeding, consider if possible
            doing one bottle session per night with another caregiver, so you get
            one longer stretch of uninterrupted sleep. If you are getting more
            sleep, you’re less likely to fall asleep breastfeeding.”

            you believe you might fall asleep, with no one to help you out, my
            theory is, lay down on the floor. It’s flat, the baby can’t fall, and
            it’s uncomfortable enough that you probably won’t stay asleep long. Make
            sure pets are out of the room if you do this.”

            ” Well I grew a baby who lived inside of me for 9 months and then birthed it, so after that nothing seems impossible lol
            found breastfeeding in the beginning easier to do in the chair, while
            we were establishing breastfeeding. Creating a safe space for
            baby a few feet from my bed helped. I had 3 csections and it was
            difficult getting in and out of bed, but I was lucky to have a partner
            who was able to wake with me and help me out of bed, change diapers and
            then put baby back to bed. It helped him bond with the baby even tho I
            was doing all the feeding. He got to rock baby back to sleep and get his
            cuddles that way.”

            ” I made sure I had 3 safe sleep spaces.
            1)bassinet by my bed 2)crib in his room 3)the box the state gives you for safe sleep in my living room on the floor
            helped the most was doing the same routine no matter of it was bedtime
            or naptime. Biggest draw back was I had to physical get up in the middle
            of night to get him which woke me up even more. I just tell those
            parents it’s not impossible but it’s hard work”

            ” I
            bedshared before and was determined this time I would not. I just made
            it crib sleep EVERY sleep. Even if I was there, even if I thought I
            could stay awake (three other kids too so it’s not like I could really
            hold her for naps). I put the crib right
            next to the bed so I could put my hand on her chest and shush her
            easily when she was tiny. It took a couple weeks and then bam, 2 months
            old and sleeping through the night. My first baby with good sleep
            habits, first baby to ever be on a schedule. So many benefits. Of course
            safety number one.”

            ” Yes!
            I got up and still get up every night. I watched tv and ate while
            nursing. If it was a particularly rough day/night I had alarms set on my
            phone to go off every few minutes. I also tracked using the Glow Baby
            App. Keeping up with that keeps me engaged.

            Baby always got his own sleeping space.

            the beginning I always came out to the living room. Now I just nurse in
            a glider and go back in my room after he finishes nursing and I put him
            in his crib. He’s almost 10 months old.”

            ” I
            don’t even have our bed as an option. I have my youngest in her own
            room right from birth so I physically have to walk to her each time she
            wakes up and that allows me to be more awake. My 8 month old hasn’t been
            in our bed once in her whole life because it’s too tempting for me to
            fall asleep with her after bedsharing with my first.”

            ” It’s
            definitely possible to PLAN to avoid bedsharing, and success is more
            likely if you resolve to not bedshare and then come up with ways

            I bedshared w/ my 11 yo as a baby (I look back in horror at pictures I took of him sleeping – maybe I’ll
            be brave enough to share in here at some point, but blankets
            galore…). I resolved to not bedshare with this baby after a) knowing
            my mattress was NOT safe even according to the faux-safe-bedsharing
            standards, and b) reading the stats regarding
            SIDS/asphyxiation. Before that, I truly believed the woo about it being
            safe to bedshare in certain circumstances. Those stats felt like a
            bucket of cold water on my face.

            Anyway – I still
            like having the baby close to me, so I planned to avoid bed sharing by
            getting the halo bassinet. Close enough to me that I feel like the baby
            is right next to me, I can reach my hand over the sides and down and pat
            him, stroke his head, etc. But he is higher than the mattress/pillows
            and separated by a mesh and a firm sleep surface, so it’s really safe.

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

            “For my husband and I personally:
            1. 3 safe sleep spaces scattered around.
            2. Shifts during the night with an accountability partner.
            3. Staying upright and setting an alarm when feeding baby.”

            ” I
            planned to avoid it with my third & I have! 13 months & we’ve
            never bed-shared. I bed shared with my older two & I was told it was

            I had to power through sleeping next to the crib on the floor.

            is definitely possible, however, I am on my third rodeo & have
            experience in my brain/soul that all of the tough periods eventually

            I also have the privilege to stay at home. So
            it might be different or more difficult if I had to function at a job
            outside of keeping small humans alive.”

            ” The
            other thing that I think is missing from a a lot of parents plans is
            understanding normal infant sleep. Infants in the first 3 months of life
            may nap for 45 min to 3 hours or more with no particular pattern. In
            the first months they may be quite awake
            for an hour or so during the night. They don’t develop circadian
            rhythms until closeto 3 months of age and they don’t consolidate sleep
            cycles well until then anyway.

            The amount oftime and
            energy wasted on trying to change this by buying gadgets like swings
            etc (which are unsafe anyway) is just futile and a waste of resources.
            Just know that sleep is going to suck forthree months and figure out
            some respite care during the day or split nights with your partner.

            Single parents are going to have to look for daytime help.

            don’t waste your time trying to make the baby sleep better in the first
            2-3 months. Behavioural interventions are best used in older infants
            and the time you spend running to target for some kind of magical swing
            or rocking bassinet is time you should have spent resting.

            And setting expectations goes a long way to being able to endure this time.

            baby has just at 13 weeks stopped eating every 2 hours overnight. He’s
            now fat enough to go 3-4 hours. If I had wasted time and energy thinking
            I needed to fix that I would have been way unhappier with my sleep

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 12:49 pm #

            “One of the biggest drawbacks was being first time parents and not realizing that baby does not want to be put down. People always tell you “you won’t sleep” but they don’t tell you why or prepare you for the reality that you may need to take shifts holding your sleeping newborn who refuses to be put down. It puts panicked and sleep deprived newbies in a
            vulnerable state.”

            “I know it is possible to plan to avoid bedsharing because we did. We set that standard while still pregnant, had safe sleep spaces and boundaries with other caregivers well established, and planned
            everything down to food and stuff so that the first few weeks would be as easy as possible to make exhaustion as minimal as possible.”

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

            Common denominator: all of these parents planned to avoid bedsharing.

          • Sarah
            November 19, 2017 at 8:55 am #

            Much as I appreciate that you took the time to copy and paste (and that’s not sarcastic) none of those have provided any assistance that would’ve been pertinent to mine and my husband’s situation. None of them include an ill mother who wasn’t able to stay awake at night and a father who had to work and thus wasn’t able to stay awake at that point either. It’s all very well talking about arranging more caregivers etc- we did! They’re all predicated on having a baby who will be put down in some form of safe sleeping space and/or someone with the ability to stay awake all night.

          • yugaya
            November 19, 2017 at 9:21 am #

            Of course. your baby is more special than that. You were more sleep deprived than any of them. YOUR situation was nothing like that. Even if in hindsight you were to have been exposed to more safe sleep message, it still would have made no difference.

            Yeah, sure.

          • Sarah
            November 19, 2017 at 9:49 am #

            Well, in another post you seemed to accept that there are families in that same situation, indeed claimed to have helped them IRL (though hopefully you managed to restrain yourself from the special snowflake routine then). So one wonders why you don’t think that was the case here. A cynic would think it’s because it’s inconvenient to your argument.

            Anyway, do feel free to let me know when you’ve thought of or encountered anything that would actually be useful in this situation. Because you’ve failed hard so far, which is why you’re foot stamping now.

          • yugaya
            November 19, 2017 at 10:12 am #

            “So one wonders why you don’t think that was the case here” Because you are basically shitting on all these parents who have successfully made a lot of effort to take bedsharing off the table as one of the options and to keep it that way and to keep their babies safe. Because for many of them exposure to more and consistent safe sleep message made the difference, which in your special case would have of course made no difference.

            “Anyway, do feel free to let me know when you’ve thought of or encountered anything that would actually be useful in this situation. Because you’ve failed hard so far.”

            Right. Planning to avoid bedsharing is not possible. I have just fabricated all of these people and their stories. You of course did EVERYTHING they are talking about. Every little thing.

            For those being more honest to themselves – planning not to bedshare is a huge factor in managing not to resort to it once baby is here. Consistency too – these parents avoided other unsafe sleep spaces like swings as well, probably because they understand that these *work* for the same reason adult beds do – they compromise baby’s arousal. There is nothing special about any baby sleeping *better* or at all on any unsafe surface. All babies will sleep on/in them *better* if given the opportunity.

            Acknowledging that someone in real life situation is at a breaking point when they need immediate assistance to keep their baby safe and validating your half-arsed excuses and lies you tell to yourself is two different things. Keep lying to yourself how bedsharing in your case was 100% unavoidable. I’ll keep concentrating on parents who are willing to at least try not to.

          • Sarah
            November 25, 2017 at 10:45 am #

            Pointing out that the circumstances they describe are different to mine is not shitting on anyone. That is an utterly ludicrous statement to make.

            And nobody said planning to avoid bedsharing wasn’t possible. Equally idiotic claim of yours. You have now been reduced to simply making things up. What has been said, and is a fact regardless of whether you are able to comprehend it, is that there’s a distinction between planning something and it being a possibility.

          • yugaya
            November 26, 2017 at 9:56 am #

            “You have now been reduced to simply making things up.”

            Yeah like claiming that your decision to bedshare was not a decision at all, and is thus not subject to any possibility of having been avoided, despite the evidence that shows the more a consistent safe sleep message is forwarded, the more parents manage to avoid bedsharing.

            “Pointing out that the circumstances they describe are different to mine.

            This reply to that post in our group where hundreds of people poured through “your” circumstances should tell you something. Or not.

            “Ummm that sounds like almost all of the moms here… she’s not that special”.

          • Sarah
            November 26, 2017 at 10:11 am #

            Nope, you’re still making things up. Because nobody said it wasn’t possible to plan. That isn’t a matter of opinion: you can either agree with me there or be wrong. Those are your choices. And the fact that you quote some other people who are equally wrong doesn’t mean you’re not (although to be fair to the women in your group, the fault there could lie with your inaccurate instructions to them rather than any failure of understanding of theirs- I don’t want to blame them for what could simply be down to your stupidity).

            The reality is that all the ‘solutions’ you offer, kindly leaving out the obviously irrelevant ones like supplement, involve either a baby who would be put down or someone being able to stay awake while the baby slept. One of us turning into someone who was able to stay awake all night. This isn’t a matter of opinion- that is what everything you mention requires. Given that this was not possible, you made a claim you have still been unable to prove.

            Incidentally, have you ever thought about being an LC? Because you’ve got the ‘logic’ right down.

          • yugaya
            November 26, 2017 at 10:24 am #

            “Nope, you’re still making things up. ” Sure. Stay special Sarah. Your bedsharing was 100% unavoidable. 🙂

          • Sarah
            November 26, 2017 at 10:42 am #

            If you think I was the one doing the bedsharing, you can’t have been paying much attention to my posts (though the tips about supplementation were a bit of a giveaway there).

            Anyways, you’ve still failed to prove your claim. I’d actually be delighted if you or anyone else could come up with something other than one of you be able to stay awake all night or speyshul snowflake smileys distract deflect. After all, it might be of use to someone reading. Sadly you have been unable to do so.

          • yugaya
            November 26, 2017 at 10:47 am #

            “If you think I was the one doing the bedsharing, you can’t have been
            paying much attention to my posts (though the tips about supplementation
            were a bit of a giveaway there).”

            Tips for suplementation were prefaced with “usually”. Yeah I’ve read all of your comments, “your” bedsharing refers to your partner doing it.

            I’ve tried to highlight days ago that your “special” is part of a deeply faulty narrative that runs through pretty much all of the comments on these posts, covering going against any and all safe sleep recommendations. I really can’t spell it out more clearly than that for you, given that all your subsequent comments are still all about – you.

          • Sarah
            November 26, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

            Complaining that a discussion concerning my circumstances is all about me? Now you really are scraping the barrel.

            The point remains that you have yet to evidence your claim, and all your proposed remedies involve someone being able to stay up all night or the baby going down. This isn’t a matter of opinion- that is literally the sum of your attempts at advice. Your insistence on characterising something that doesn’t fit within your range of experience or preferred mode of thinking as someone being ‘special’ not only doesn’t fool anyone into not noticing that you aren’t proving your claims, it makes you sound like the worst kind of NBC head berating a woman who can’t birth vaginally.

          • yugaya
            November 26, 2017 at 4:20 pm #

            “a discussion concerning my circumstances”

            Yeah. Your “special” circumstances. 🙂

          • Sarah
            November 27, 2017 at 5:57 am #

            Your continued failure to prove your claim is noted.

          • November 26, 2017 at 10:31 am #

            You guys are both awesome commenters here. You’ve both raised some thought-provoking points, and I think you’re not going to be able to clarify your positions any more than you’ve already done. Honestly, at this point, the discussion seems to be engendering acrimony, but not accomplishing much else. Maybe leave it alone?

          • crazy mama, PhD
            November 19, 2017 at 11:46 am #

            Props to you for going at it with this one for so long! She (he?) got aggressive with me in another thread about the exact risk of sleeping in baby swings, and flipped to name-calling when she ran out of actual points to make.

          • yugaya
            November 19, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

            “Name-calling” is when you notice that someone is suffering from a case of cognitive dissonance so bad that they start making claims which are not evidence-based about what is more or less a risk?

            Carry on enjoying your asspats, you sure are in major need of someone telling you how you did the right thing, knew the risks, had no other choice, nothing would have made any difference etc.

          • crazy mama, PhD
            November 19, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

            Ah, an excellent example of my point. Thanks!

          • yugaya
            November 19, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

            Eeeew. This place used to have much higher argumentation standards than “You do you mama” /
            ” You considered the risk of dangerous levels of sleep deprivation and did what you had to do”.

          • crazy mama, PhD
            November 19, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

            Nobody’s making you stay. 🙂

          • yugaya
            November 19, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

            Thanks, but I’ve been a regular here a bit longer than you have, without making such crap statements. Go figure. 😛

          • crazy mama, PhD
            November 19, 2017 at 3:43 pm #


          • Dinolindor
            November 19, 2017 at 5:22 pm #

            Yeah, I gotta say this is one of the most bizarre arguments I’ve ever witnessed in this site’s comment section. Between 2 regulars right? I’m still trying to figure out what they’re arguing over exactly…aren’t both saying co-sleeping is dangerous and scary? Is the difference that Sarah says sometimes it happens by accident/out of desperation (been there; just assumed I wouldn’t co-sleep with my first baby because I knew it’s unsafe, and then had no backup plan for reality. Much like my experience with breastfeeding), and yugaya is saying those accidents are really just “accidents” and true accidents aren’t really that dangerous? It’s hard to pick out yugaya’s point because there’s such vitriol and sneering mixed in.

          • yugaya
            November 19, 2017 at 5:56 pm #

            “It’s hard to pick out yugaya’s point because there’s such vitriol and sneering mixed in.”

            Tone trolling . Lovely.
            Here, let me help you with “getting my point”:

            -Accidental bedsharing in adult bed is not associated with risks that are there when you bedshare intentionally, and when adult bed is baby’s usual sleep place. ( link shared)

            – Consistent and repeated exposure to safe sleep message not to bedshare cuts down the number of parents who bedshare. ( link shared)

            – Magnitude of the risks of unsafe sleep is such that it kills more babies than all other top ten causes of accidental injury death combined, and it kills more babies than all other causes kill all other age groups between birth and getting their drivers license. (links shared)

            – Everyone who resorts to unsafe sleep practices claims their child was an exception/special. Some on this post claim that all of their children were exceptions to pretty much all safe sleep recommendations. ( Slide shared, I can add link later).

            If only I had made my point more clearly and using nicer words. /s

          • Dinolindor
            November 19, 2017 at 6:58 pm #

            Tone trolling? That was your take away? Why on earth would I be reading here for the past 6 years if I cared about tone. My mistake.

            Here was what I wanted to be the takeaway. Your initial arguments in this thread sound exactly like Sarah’s. Is it seriously just that she said accidentally bed-sharing is dangerous too? And that you say that the stats show accidental is not as dangerous as planned bed-sharing? And are you also claiming that any minuscule deviation from the message that you need a specific plan to not bed-share is actually more dangerous than acknowledging that sometimes your plan turns out to be crap once the newborn arrives? Did I catch that? That was genuinely difficult to piece together from what you were saying to Sarah.

            The fact that you immediately went on the attack when someone mildly asked about a perceived flaw in the messaging is genuinely baffling to me.

          • yugaya
            November 19, 2017 at 7:52 pm #

            “Your initial arguments in this thread sound exactly like Sarah’s”

            False. She claims that her bedsharing is the type that no amount of safe sleep message, planning ahead or doing things differently would have prevented . Zero. None. She also claims that she did exactly everything that the parents whose stories I shared did ( which is humanly impossible but nevermind). She tries to claim that her bedsharing was … not the same cohort as that bedsharing for which loss parents sharing their stories and repeating the importance of safe sleep environment make a difference and help save lives. She’s too exceptional for them too.

            “The fact that you immediately went on the attack when someone mildly asked about a perceived flaw”

            Passive-aggressive is the new SOB.
            No I’m not tone trolling, I’m just saying your tone is not nice.
            Such vitriol.
            Much sneering.
            Tsk tsk.

            And for no good reason at all – the comments section of this post is only filled with one after another anecdote how whatever works for you mama is ok, whatever being:

            -prone position
            -side position
            -use of car seats for routine sleep at home
            -use of swings for routine sleep at home
            -bedsharing in adult bed with additional risk factor of being overtired
            -propping babies in crib
            -elevating the crib
            – in bed cosleepers
            -rnp (a lifesaver!)
            -use of blankets

            I may have missed a few, but basically it’s ok to ignore pretty much everything that is an evidence-based safe sleep recommendation intended to help parents prevent sleep-related infant deaths.


          • Dinolindor
            November 19, 2017 at 11:25 pm #

            No, it’s not that your words or tone are not nice. It’s that your words have been 90% UNCLEAR on what your message is, and that is mostly due to you taking the time to make petty remarks. Also surprising, and quite unbelievable, is you seem to disregard that mistakes happen, or else you (unknowingly?) imply that it is possible to make a perfect plan ahead of time when it comes to a baby, and so therefore all accidents are not actually accidents.

            Also, is it really that shocking that lay people would assume falling asleep accidentally in a known unsafe location is more dangerous than having an imperfect plan to get some sleep?

            And just in case you’re still left wondering, a clear argument + petty remarks are a-ok in my book. But the emphasis should be on clarity.

          • yugaya
            November 20, 2017 at 12:20 am #

            “is you seem to disregard that mistakes happen,”
            I never said that or anything similar.

            or else you (unknowingly?) imply that it is possible to make a perfect plan”
            That neither. I said it is possible to plan to avoid bedsharing.

            “seem”…”imply” ….. is an awful lot of petty subjectiveness for someone who insists that I have an objective problem with “clarity”.

          • Sarah
            November 26, 2017 at 10:30 am #

            ‘She tries to claim that her bedsharing was … not the same cohort as that bedsharing for which loss parents sharing their stories and repeating the importance of safe sleep environment make a difference and help save lives.’


            Quote me the exact post where that happened. And while you’re trying and failing to find it, reflect on the fact that you’re the only one who thinks that.

          • yugaya
            November 26, 2017 at 10:39 am #

            ‘She tries to claim that her bedsharing was … not the same cohort as
            that bedsharing for which loss parents sharing their stories and
            repeating the importance of safe sleep environment make a difference and
            help save lives.’

          • Sarah
            November 26, 2017 at 10:47 am #

            Well done for using the yellow highlighter. That doesn’t tell us why you think the quote proves your claim, though. Do better.

          • crazy mama, PhD
            November 19, 2017 at 8:41 pm #

            I think that’s the gist of it, yeah.

          • Chi
            November 19, 2017 at 8:50 pm #

            Actually I think what Yugaya is trying to say is that there is no excuse for accidents because parents should have safe sleep places and practices all thought out and so there is no reason to ‘accidentally’ co-sleep.

            At least that’s the implication I’m getting.

          • Sarah
            November 25, 2017 at 10:41 am #


          • maidmarian555
            November 20, 2017 at 8:23 am #

            I’ve been following this thread and the only thing I can think of which hasn’t been mentioned is dummy use. Both my children have settled in their own cribs (if you don’t include the first couple of weeks) and whilst I’m pretty sure a big chunk of that is down to my extraordinary good luck, I do believe that liberal and persistent dummy use has helped immensely in their ability to self-settle (also it’s slightly less exhausting when all you have to do is wander over and shove it back in their mouths in order to get some peace and quiet at 2am, rather than attempt a feed or cuddle/rock when you can barely keep your eyes open). Apologies if I’m just adding to the list of wildly unhelpful suggestions (we didn’t have any family or friends to help us either and I know that in itself limits choices when it comes to infant care), I was just curious as dummies have been an absolute godsend for us and I’ve not seen any mention of them here.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
            November 20, 2017 at 9:47 am #

            Dummy/pacifier use worked for me, and yeah it was easier, especially once I had to go back to work at six weeks, to just go put the pacifier back in her mouth at night when she was just grizzling/fussing. She found her thumb a few months later and stopped wanting a pacifier. I also had a CD player in the baby’s room and got a CD that was all women’s voices(no words) over sounds a baby would have heard in utero.

          • November 20, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

            Mine wouldn’t have pacis, worse luck.

          • maidmarian555
            November 20, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

            Yeah I know some babies won’t. And some parents don’t like to as you end up with the problem we have now with my 19mo who absolutely LOVES his “Nomnom” and will not part with it for anything. I just thought it was odd to not see it as a suggestion as way more people have access to dummies than to extra people to come and help look after a baby while you nap.

          • Sarah
            November 25, 2017 at 10:43 am #

            Appreciated! Believe it or not, our happier to be put down first child never had a dummy and the one who refused to be put down for her first few weeks did! Contrary little bugger she was. Otoh she became a better sleeper than the first after those first awful few weeks had passed… so maybe my anecdote chimes with yours.

          • AnnaPDE
            November 19, 2017 at 11:14 pm #

            Wow. You’re doing the perfect lactivist routine here, just with a different topic.

            “EBF/100% safe sleep adherence works out for everyone if you just try hard enough and do it right. One well considered occasion of doing otherwise will harm your baby, regardless of the real and present alternative that you’re trying to avoid. No, your situation and arguments are not legitimate reasons to decide otherwise, you’re just trying to make yourself look special to find excuses. Here, look at this list of in practice unworkable recommendations that only take a little planning. Here’s a list of parents who weren’t such shitty losers as you are, did their homework and make it work.
            What, now why are you getting defensive? I’m only educating you on how to not hurt your baby through careless ignorance and selfish laziness!”

          • yugaya
            November 20, 2017 at 12:27 am #

            Saying that planning ahead to actively avoid something is insisting on 100% adherence? Since when?

            “look at this list of in practice unworkable recommendations”

            AAP. Those imbeciles. Right?

          • AnnaPDE
            November 20, 2017 at 11:58 pm #

            Not a single one of your list was the AAP one. In fact, several contradicted it.
            And might I just note here that the AAP seems to have noticed that theory and practice are different, seeing how their recommendation now tries to mitigate the “what if you really fall asleep” case instead of pretending that it never happens, and that the dangers are the same everywhere.

          • yugaya
            November 21, 2017 at 12:34 am #

            AAP has official guidelines for parents who want to stop bedsharing in adult bed? Quote and link please. :)))

          • AnnaPDE
            November 21, 2017 at 2:06 am #

            I’ll be lazy and just copy/paste your summary:
            “Accidental, non-habitual falling asleep with baby in adult bed and returning baby to their safe sleep space immediately when you wake up is not associated with same risks that placing baby intentionally to sleep in adult bed is – that is the basis for the new AAP recommendation where to feed your baby if you are at risk of falling asleep – in adult bed, with all direct suffocation risks removed.”

            That’s simply the understanding that
            a) in some situations, there’s no certain way to avoid falling asleep with a baby, and
            b) there are more or less dangerous places for this to happen.

            Now for all of us who already understood the idea of a fallback plan and the range of values between the 0% and 100% bookends, this is a “duh, obviously” thing, but clearly it has to be spelled out for the fanatics.
            That’s also why it directly contradicts some of the advice you posted from that group — you know, to put the crib far enough from the bed to have to get up and walk to it, and to feed in a chair and not the bed.

          • yugaya
            November 21, 2017 at 2:34 am #

            That is not a guideline for preventing or stopping habitual bedsharing in adult bed. These parents are already actively minimizing the risk of falling asleep while feeding their baby. I’ll be just as lazy:

            “Anyway, do feel free to let me know when you’ve thought of or encountered anything that would actually be useful in this situation. Because you’ve failed hard so far, which is why you’re foot stamping now.”

          • yugaya
            November 19, 2017 at 11:18 am #

            ” another common denominator is that they’re all predicated on having a baby who will be put down in some form of safe sleeping space”

            Backpedaling through editing. Nice.

            The predicated that they will under any circumstances ONLY try to place baby into safe sleep space from day one. That was important to them. All those babies, not a single one like yours. They were just lucky – some babies love cribs like that, babies less special and less needy than your baby.

            Active planning had nothing to do with it. Understanding what was at stake – the true risks – had nothing to do with that. No one else had a husband who works, or had a complicated birth that rendered them unwell for weeks.

          • Sarah
            November 25, 2017 at 10:40 am #

            It’s interesting that you miss out several of the things that made the circumstances I described different to the ones these women mention. Almost like you’re trying to downplay the difference because you know you still haven’t been able to back up your claim.

            Also, I thought you said active planning was significant here? Make your mind up.

          • AnnaPDE
            November 19, 2017 at 11:38 pm #

            Do you even notice that almost every one of these has a contradicting one close by? “Keep the bassinet far away so you have to get up” vs “keep it at hand so you can easily put the baby back” is the most obvious one, but the “feed in a chair” one vs the aap recommendati to sit in the adult bed is a close second.
            Also I just love the assumption how many adults are there to sacrifice themselves for the purpose of supervising a baby 24/7. That’s not safety, that’s obsession and paranoia.

          • yugaya
            November 20, 2017 at 12:29 am #

            Yeah, “sacrificing” infant arousal is so much healthier. I mean, not that many babies die as a consequence anyway.

          • AnnaPDE
            November 21, 2017 at 2:28 am #

            Exactly: No, babies do not die in droves from a lack of 24/7 supervision, as provided by 4 or more adults who take shifts around the clock to hold and watch them during sleep. Even if their sleeping surface is elevated by a few centimetres for the duration of a cold. What that recommendation was describing is well outside the realm of sensible precautions and in full on control obsession territory.

            Look, I understand that SIDS and accidental suffocation is a very scary part of the whole problem that babies are just so damn fragile. But the logical consequence of what you’ve clearly identified as the underlying cause — a lack of arousal in some infants — would be to simply never allow babies to sleep properly, or to monitor their breathing continuously. In Germany, a prescription for medical-grade home monitoring is standard for babies who are considered at-risk. It involves putting electrodes on the baby for every sleeping moment, but it does save some kids. Interestingly, not a single recommendation went that far — I wonder why.

            Maybe because in reality, you have to draw the line somewhere, and there’s the point where you consider the gain in safety not worth the additional effort.

            Just like we go for a 200km each way drive to grandma every few weeks — even though people die on the motorway in accidents every week-end, especially during holiday season — and trade a tiny increase in the probability of harm against something that’s really just for fun and objectively unnecessary.

            You draw your line where you do. Please stop pretending that your line is what works best for everyone else.

          • yugaya
            November 22, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

            ” Please stop pretending that your line is what works best for everyone else..”

            The line is drawn by AAP safe sleep recommendations. That is not *my* line. It is the best available advice based on best available data. It is the line between preventable sleep-related infant deaths and the tiny portion of them – 1%-2%, those that would not be prevented at this point in time even if all infants were put on medical grade monitors. ( Answer to your question why no recommendation extends to use of medical grade home monitors as a tool for prevention is because no clinical threshold can be identified : )

            It’s the line between 400 and 4000 grieving families a year. It’s the line between “we need more research to prevent even these 400 that are now unpreventable ” and “we need to have more babies sleeping in safe sleep environments so that 3600 babies are alive instead of dead from completely preventable risks that we have long identified.”

            ” a tiny increase in the probability of harm ”

            It is a completely preventable harm. The risks are intrinsic, they can never be removed in any hypothetical harm reduction model.

            A baby cannot suffer death through adult overlay while sleeping in a safe crib.
            A baby cannot die because they ended up wedged between adult bed mattress and a wall /foot or head board while sleeping in a safe crib.
            A baby cannot suffocate on an adult pillow or a blanket while sleeping in a safe crib.

            That can happen each and every time to each and every infant who is placed to sleep in adult bed as location where the baby usually sleeps.

            I’m all for parents taking risks that they are ok with, as long as the narrative in which those risks are minimized stops.

          • AnnaPDE
            November 19, 2017 at 11:29 pm #

            Haha, it’s totally possible to plan to avoi bedsharing. It’s possible to plan tons of things, from an unmedicated yet painless birth surrounded by unicorns, to perfect EBF from day one, to how your kid is going to fit in so easily and not have colic, be clingy, have any of those faddish allergies or otherwise be “special” in that annoying sense.
            Except we all know that such plans are purely hopes, and whether they’ll work out in practice is mostly down to the luck of the draw. Sure, better to have thought about the issue beforehand at all than having a complete surprise, but that’s about it.

  3. Sue
    November 16, 2017 at 6:22 pm #

    “bedsharing breastfeeding mothers nurse their infants 5.75 times during the night (often without realizing it)”

    Therein lies the problem.

  4. November 15, 2017 at 10:39 am #

    OT, but I see that ol’ ex-goodwill-WHO-ambassador Mugabe is on the out. I sure hope Zimbabwe’s situation doesn’t deteriorate.

  5. cw
    November 14, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

    Oh yeah, i forgot to add that w baby number two i was practically forced to cosleep while at the hospital. The bassinet was too high for me to reach from my bed, there was no nursery, and I had a repeat c section so i could not get up and sit down easily. The nurses said they could take my baby for a few hours a night. Thats it. It made me nervous, i guess they must habe just wheeled her to the nurses station?? Pushing the nurse button every time she needed to be picked up or put down was not really possible, they have other patients and all. I guess phasing out nursery is the wave of the future, it’s awful.

    • mabelcruet
      November 14, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

      Out of interest, how long do USA mothers stay in hospital after delivery? In the UK there was a huge push to get mums out quickly, and in many hospitals it can be within hours of delivery (UK mums who have sprogged will be able to be more accurate, but in some places it can be 6 hours)

      • MaineJen
        November 14, 2017 at 4:55 pm #

        2 days is pretty standard in most places. 6 hours seems…dangerous.

        • mabelcruet
          November 14, 2017 at 5:28 pm #

          I think the UK has the quickest discharge after childbirth compared to most other developed countries. The average seems to be about a day or so.

          My older sister had two homebirths with NCT midwives (approx. 23 years ago), and her third in hospital. She hated the ward so much she signed herself out against medical advice, and left within 90 minutes of having him-he was still covered in all the goo but she was adamant she wasn’t staying. She’s a bit of a loon at times. The community midwife was round later that day to check them both and sis got a bit of an earful for taking the risk, but said baby is now a 6 foot 4 enormous man-mountain.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            November 14, 2017 at 5:46 pm #

            we also do not usually have community midwives coming around. My current county does, but my home county doesn’t.

        • Lilly de Lure
          November 15, 2017 at 6:19 am #

          I think it is only meant to be used for the most straightforward of deliveries, certainly I’ve had friends who were sent home after 6 hours and all of them have been vaginal births with no complications – however as is often the case with UK maternity services the term “trouble free delivery with no complications” once established has a horrible tendency to stretch to include more problematic cases.

          In my case I was kept in 48 hours after an emergency c-section prior to discharge but was taking my son in to the neonatal ward practically on a daily basis for the first week he was at home to monitor his jaundice (thankfully it never rose to the level where light therapy was required but it needed keeping an eye on).

          • Cat
            November 15, 2017 at 7:03 am #

            I know someone who was sent home after 6 hours notwithstanding that she’d had trouble delivering the placenta and lost quite a bit of blood. She was desperate to get home, which might have tipped the scales in favour of letting her go, I guess. She was fine but I gather the baby had to be readmitted because it wasn’t feeding properly and lost too much weight.

          • Dr Kitty
            November 15, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

            I’m getting a bit sick of people sent home 6hrs after normal deliveries of their second and subsequent babies with things like “baby hasn’t passed urine yet- mum aware to come back if not passed urine by 12 hrs” or “Poor latch noted, mum sent home with BF advice” or “Mum reporting headache. Paracetamol given before discharge”.

            Posterior urethral valve, readmission with jaundice and postpartum pre-eclampsia… all picked up later than they should have been.

        • Sarah
          November 18, 2017 at 7:19 am #

          Women tend to be keen to get out as quickly as possible because you don’t get any sleep. There are also some wards where partners are allowed to stay overnight, which motivates some women to leave earlier than they otherwise would.

          I’m not saying any of this is good by the way. Just explaining why women may be willing to leave very quickly.

      • crazy mama, PhD
        November 14, 2017 at 5:53 pm #

        By law, if a US health insurance plan covers childbirth, they have to pay for a 48-hour stay after a vaginal birth or a 96-hour stay after a C-section. In my experience, hospitals encourage you to leave after about half that time. People without health insurance (or whose insurance has figured out ways to not cover maternity care) probably leave as soon as they can.

        • Zornorph
          November 15, 2017 at 10:23 am #

          In my case, they let out the surrogate mother after 24 hours and I had to stay an additional 24 hours with Boy-O. Then they couldn’t figure out if I had to be wheeled out in a wheelchair or not since I wasn’t actually a patient but decided Boy-O did need to so I sat in the wheelchair and held him. It was amusing.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            November 15, 2017 at 12:14 pm #

            I hobbled out on my own 🙂 But then, I let my sister carry one and the NICU nurse carry the other.

          • crazy mama, PhD
            November 15, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

            Lucky! I didn’t get to be wheeled out in a wheelchair after either birth (and I kind of needed it after the C-section).

        • Merrie
          November 17, 2017 at 6:22 pm #

          We left after 24 hours with our third. We could have stayed longer but everything was ducky, so it didn’t really seem necessary. Got about 36 hours with the second one (he was born at about 10 at night, we were out before noon a day and a half later). We stayed the full 2 days with the first because we were still kind of figuring things out, but by the third time around we didn’t need help breastfeeding or changing diapers anymore.

      • Mishimoo
        November 15, 2017 at 4:19 am #

        6 hours minimum after a vaginal birth where I am (Australia) with home visits from a CNM after discharge. I was so glad to go home fairly quickly (more like 12+ hours in my case) because I can’t sleep in hospitals and had better support at home.

      • Wren
        November 15, 2017 at 1:37 pm #

        I was out in 12 hours after my second. My first was a c-section so in for a few days.

        We do get a midwife visit soon after coming home too.

        • Gæst
          November 15, 2017 at 5:36 pm #

          That depends on your midwives. I got no home visits from any kind of care provider.

          • Wren
            November 16, 2017 at 2:33 am #

            I think it varies from area to area. I know where I was that home visits were the norm, but with my second one I had an office visit for the second visit because we had transportation.

          • Wren
            November 16, 2017 at 2:33 am #

            I also had home visits from the health visitor after discharge from the community midwives both times, and when we moved house with 2 kids under 5.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
      November 15, 2017 at 10:51 am #

      Yeah parking babies at the nurses station seems safe.. NOT
      (the hospitals that do this are opening themselves up to a law suit I think) Baby is exposed to anyones germs that wanders by the nurses station and in busy situation whats to stop some random person from walking off with the baby?? If they are dressed like they work in the hospital is anyone going to notice them until it’s too late?

      • Empress of the Iguana People
        November 15, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

        Depending on the ward, but several of them have some security going on. Mine you had to be let in by a nurse and sign in before you were let go into the rest of the place

        • Sarah
          November 18, 2017 at 7:18 am #

          Yes I thought it was usual practice to tag them? And the tag goes off if they’re removed from the ward. Mine both had to have them removed before being discharged.

          That’s not to say nobody inside the ward could swipe a baby though. I wouldn’t want some random grabbing mine even if they couldn’t get out of the postnatal unit with them.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 18, 2017 at 7:31 am #

            In our hospital, the doors to the birth unit would automatically lock if a baby with a sensor (on the umbilical) came near. I figured it out when we took the babies for a walk – every time you got by the door, you’d hear the click

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            November 18, 2017 at 8:45 am #

            We figured it out because they forgot to remove the sensor when we were checking out. Lights, siren, doors locking, whole nine yards

    • Wren
      November 15, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

      I was literally handed the baby and then left with him in my bed after a c-section because the midwife didn’t want to be bothered again. I made an official complaint about that particular midwife after leaving the hospital. She also denied me pain medication that had been prescribed because I have mild asthma, never bothering during her shift to call the doc to get it sorted out. As it turns out, the meds in question were some I had taken before and no problem with asthma.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
      November 15, 2017 at 4:33 pm #

      Yes probably they would take your baby to the nurses station for a few hours at night. Getting rid of well baby nurseries is stupid and short sighted. I don’t think most OB nurses are happy about it either:

      From the article:
      ” I have found myself with a bassinett at the nurses station, the other nurse admitting a patient, the CA on her lunch break (as she has a right to do) the secretary answering the phone and door ( and not allowed to watch babies- due to policy/ no NRP) and myself trying to figure out how to answer 3 call lights –

      Dragging the bassinet down the hall and opening the door: “can I help you”
      ” yes, I was wondering if you could give my baby a bath”
      ( explained about newborn skin care, not bathing daily etc)

      Next room: needed pain medicine so I drag the bassinet to the pyxis etc

      And so on. ”

      From the comments:
      ” would much rather take a baby to the nursery than find that child in bed with a sleeping, darn near comatose mom. I’ve had several bad scares with a baby being wedged under a large mom, another mom who fell asleep and had her baby fall to the floor, and still another where a baby was stuck between a grandma and the back of the fold-out futon (that was still upright like a couch). All of the women in question were sleeping so soundly that I had to shake them to wake them up. “

      • Sarah
        November 18, 2017 at 7:05 am #

        Yep. As I’ve said before, the reality is that midwives and nurses are still caring for some babies overnight even where there isn’t a dedicated nursery. They’re just doing it outside a facility that’s been specifically designed for it. A real improvement.

    • Gæst
      November 15, 2017 at 5:35 pm #

      I can’t imagine what I would have done if my twins weren’t in the NICU. The first day after my c-section my legs were tied to the bed in those things that massage you to prevent blood clots. I was still not allowed to eat and still had a urinary catheter in, but somehow I would have been fit to care for not one, but TWO infants I couldn’t reach without severe pain? I had no partner, I might add, and only an elderly mother who visited for an hour a day. Though my hospital did still have a nursery – they claimed it was only for sick babies who weren’t critical enough for the NICU.

  6. mabelcruet
    November 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    Co-sleeping in a chair or sofa

    Slightly off topic, but this is a current bug-bear.

    British Gas has a thing called Hive they are promoting-this is an integrated remote controlled Wi-Fi thing, and the current advert is a young father trying to settle his baby to sleep. He reclines on the sofa and turns the lights down and the heating up, using the Hive device.

    I’m horrified at this. To my mind, this is a ‘how not to’ guide. I think it seems like the dad is about to go to sleep himself, and co-sleeping in a chair or on a sofa has up to a 50 fold increased risk compared to cot sleeping, and is significantly more dangerous than bed co-sleeping. On the face of it, its a lovely snuggly advert, but I’m concerned.

    So, I complained to the advertising standards agency on the grounds that the advert could be seen to be promoting a dangerous practice. Their response was that the father was clearly awake and it did not imply that he intended on sleeping there all night, so they have rejected the complaint. Completely fatuous argument-it doesn’t need dad to sleep there all night with the baby, a few minutes of nodding off will do, its precisely the scenario I’ve seen repeatedly over the years. Entirely unplanned, unintended, knackered dad trying to settle the baby and a short time later-baby is smothered.

    So I’ve emailed the CEO of British Gas directly. Does anyone else feel similarly, or am I oversensitive? I even ventured onto Mumsnet and posted there, and was pleased that the vast majority of the people who contributed to the thread there felt the same. In fact, one commentator said that the first time she saw the ad, she assumed it was a department of health safety advert on ‘do not co-sleep with baby in a chair’.

    • Zornorph
      November 14, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

      I’ll be honest – I went into that expecting to feel as you did, but after watching it, that wasn’t the reaction I had. I didn’t at all get the sense that the Dad was even sleepy – it looks to me like he’s sitting up and he’s just holding the baby in his arms. And talking about ‘the moment’ strongly suggests this isn’t the way he’s going to leave things. I actually thought it was a pretty touching advert about a father wanting to enjoy a peaceful moment with his kid and he’s glad he doesn’t have to get up to dim the lights and turn off the telly.

      • mabelcruet
        November 14, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

        Yes, I did think I was over sensitive and over thinking it, given my job, but ending it as ‘sweet dreams’ suggests that maybe both were going to sleep. It’s the unplanned ‘nodding off’ co-sleeping events that are more dangerous than planned and prepared co-sleeping. I don’t normally pay much attention to adverts, but this one got me a bit het up.

    • BeatriceC
      November 14, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

      I don’t think you’re being over sensitive. I’m not sure what the advertising standards are in the UK, or what the various professional organizations recommend, but last year when the AAP released their new safe sleep guidelines one of their main points was that both print and TV advertisers, and television, and movie producers should always show safe sleep situations. It’s a fairly big deal. People see these things and consciously or subconsciously they internalize what they see as normal and okay. So if media producers showed only safe sleep situations, then more people would be okay with babies by themselves in bare cribs and no blankets and such.

      • Roadstergal
        November 14, 2017 at 9:12 pm #


        Which is why I HATE the current trend of TV shows and movies showing people driving with one wrist at high noon on the wheel. It’s dangerous and leads to avoidable accidents.

      • Gæst
        November 18, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

        This is great. I knew safe sleeping was nothing in the crib, but the pull to put a blanket on my newborns was so strong – it was winter! I had no control over the heat! I’m sure they would have been fine, but all those pictures of babies and blankets are there in your head.

    • Lilly de Lure
      November 15, 2017 at 6:21 am #

      Not over sensitive at all – let us know how it goes!

      • mabelcruet
        November 18, 2017 at 8:02 am #

        I got a response of sorts. I posted on Mumsnet (not sure if you have that where you are or whether its a UK only thing, but its a web forum that was set up years ago by a couple of friends as an information portal for parents, and now is all-powerful and all-knowing, and terrifies politicians!). I posted on there, and one of the commentators suggested I contact the Lullaby Trust, which is a charity specifically for promotion of infant safe sleeping practices. They took it up, contacted British Gas and got a response (which is more than I did!).

        There are two versions of the advert-one in which the dad doesn’t switch off the TV and the voiceover says ‘sweet dreams, little man’ and not just ‘sweet dreams’. British Gas say that makes it clearer that the dad is not planning on falling asleep. Personally I don’t think it goes far enough as no one plans to co-sleep in a dangerous position, and simply having the TV on does not prevent you from falling asleep, especially if you are exhausted. As a middle aged person, I fall asleep in front of the TV all the time, without the excuse of a baby.

        But more importantly, they say that the first advert has been withdrawn from their YouTube channel, and the second modified advert will only be shown on their YouTube channel and not on TV, so unless someone looks for it, it won’t be reaching a large audience.

        Most of the people who commented on my mumsnet thread also thought I wasn’t over reacting-one even said that she had assumed it was a government safety advert advising on what not to do. My first ever bit of public activism!

  7. cw
    November 14, 2017 at 3:40 pm #

    I didn’t want to cosleep, but I did. My kid would not sleep any other way. It got to the point where i was going to drop him because I was falling asleep constantly, getting scarily close to that while trying to rock him or feed him in a chair. I was pushed to my limit and tried everything, bought all kinds of swings and gadgets and books. I coslept on accidrnt a few times, it was less safe than planning to do so w positioning and bedding and such, felt so ashamed. My baby wasn’t sleeping either, not good for development. I gave in and im not ashamed now, anyone who wants to judge me can try dealing w that level of sleep deprivation. Dropping him on his head woulda been a sure harm while cosleeping was a possible harm. I was a thousand times better as a parent when i finally slept for a few hours at a time. Kid number two sleeps in a crib just fine, thank christ. Try whats safest first but don’t beat yourself up about parenting the kid you have based on what works for them.

    • November 14, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

      Nah, read other people’s comments; we’re not going to judge. What we don’t like is promoting bedsharing in the name of breastfeeding, because the benefits of breastfeeding absolutely do not outweigh the risks of bedsharing, and those bedsharing risks are glossed over by lactivists promoting the Booby Uber Alles agenda.

    • mabelcruet
      November 14, 2017 at 4:57 pm #

      No judgement at all, you’ve found a way that suits you and your baby, and you’ve planned it out to reduce any risks as much as possible.

      Personally, as a child-free person, I cannot fathom how anyone could possibly get any sleep with a baby in the bed-they are wriggly, squirmy, grunty, noisy, sweaty, smelly little monsters. Honestly, I had friends staying a while back, and the baby was grunting and burping and snorting and whistling all night, I never realised they were so loud!

    • Empress of the Iguana People
      November 14, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

      i ended up cosleeping with my first for a few months, too. I just kept falling asleep during that 3 am meal. Dem handled our second’s 3 am feeds and that worked better. Plus, she was born in summer when we don’t always want to share with each other, never mind a 3rd person!

    • Mishimoo
      November 15, 2017 at 4:23 am #

      That’s where I was at with my youngest, and I ended up co-sleeping because we weren’t sleeping any other way. I was terrified the whole time and SO grateful when he finally slept in his own bed. Of course, he now sleepwalks in the night as a 4 year old, wakes me to help with the toilet, and then climbs into my side of the bed.

    • FormerPhysicist
      November 15, 2017 at 7:37 am #

      i did the same. After dropping my kid a few times while sitting in the chair nursing at 3 am.

    • yugaya
      November 17, 2017 at 4:43 pm #

      “Dropping him on his head woulda been a sure harm while cosleeping was a possible harm”

      Quite the opposite.

      Risk of baby accidentally dying from unsafe sleep during their first year of life is equivalent to risk of dying from all other accidental causes until they are old enough to get a drivers license.

      Risks of all other top ten causes of accidental infant death COMBINED are not as big as risks of unsafe sleep accidental injury death.

      So even if all other accidental injury infant deaths were caused by parental sleep deprivation ( which they are not), unsafe sleep, bedsharing in particular, would still be far more deadly.

      • Roadstergal
        November 17, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

        Homocide, unspecified. 😮 Is that Shaken Baby?

        • yugaya
          November 18, 2017 at 11:52 am #

          Yes and no – it will depend on the amount of information available in death certificate. So both homicide categories will have deaths from abuse in them. Child fatality review reports are more accurate source, but hey are only available for individual states

      • AnnaPDE
        November 17, 2017 at 9:10 pm #

        But the prevalence in the general population is not what matters here. We’re talking about conditional probability.
        When you notice all the signs that you’re one of those people who are going to drop their baby or drive into a tree falling asleep at the wheel, your probabilities work out differently to the set of all parents.
        Just like when you see this ticking device with a countdown on the bus seat next to you, the “bus bombings are extremely rare, but driver distraction is often deadly, so I better not get up and tell the driver” lone of argument is a bit off.

        • yugaya
          November 18, 2017 at 4:16 am #

          ” We’re talking about conditional probability.” We are talking abut magnitude of the risks because taking one risk (bedsharing) is excused with the claim that it mitigates all other risks of accidental injury infant death. And for that the numbers do not add up at all.

          • AnnaPDE
            November 18, 2017 at 5:57 am #

            So how do you know how many dropped and otherwise fatigue injured babies are avoided by parents who decide to bedshare? When you don’t have the data about why parents did what they did, this kind of argument just doesn’t work. When you exclude the obvious, easily anticipated and controllable risks, it’s the rare and hard to control stuff that remains as the prevalent cause. This doesn’t mean that the obvious stuff is actually harmless, just that it’s effectively avoided.

            Look, I’m not saying that bedsharing is particularly safe. I’m all for not doing it as a default. But reality is varied. The argument is that risks need to be weighed in the individual situation, in which population level statistics without information of preconditions are of very limited use.

          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 7:03 am #

            Indeed. What this doesn’t deal with adequately is the possibility that parents who bedshare for non-crunchy reasons are dealing with something that would put the infant at greater risk of harm or death however they chose to mitigate it. They have a characteristic that makes them different from the cohort as a whole.

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 10:51 am #

            Sure. For people special enough, the biggest preventable killer of infants is a “life-saver”.

            Except in that hypothetical scenario where parent is driven to beshare out of complete, life-threatening exhaustion, that same parent when they bedshare has an additional risk factor of overtiredness, same as being drunk or high. “They have a characteristic that makes them different from the cohort as a whole.” Additional risk factors are something that makes bedsharing a risk even according
            to those who argue how it can be done *safely*, and it puts you right in the cohort that places their babies at greatest risks when bedsharing.

          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 10:57 am #

            Could you define what you mean by ‘special enough’? I think it’s important that you clarify.

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 11:17 am #

            Breastfeeding non smoker privileged SES not using drugs or alcohol, those mothers that are so special that they know how parental overtiredness is one of additional risk factors for bedsharing so they never ever ever bedshare when they or their partner is overtired, or when baby slept less than 4 hours the longest during previous 24 hours – so never ever ever bedsharing when baby is overly fussy, teething, congested or cluster feeding.

            ” “Proponents of bedsharing…attribute these deaths to specific risk factors, such as:maternal smoking, prone infant sleep, drug use, sleeping with other children, sleeping on pillows or in beds with gaps, And, expect parents to identify and eliminate ALL risk factors, even when we don’t necessarily know what all the risk factors might be,
            order to “safely cosleep”. Those are an awful lot of caveats to try
            and make an UNSAFE practice seem safe for a very select population of
            who would have to be vigilant to their infant’s safety even while


          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 11:29 am #

            Right. Your description of the group is an inaccurate one, then: note that in the post you replied to, I was referring to those who cosleep for non-crunchy reasons (which includes some of us whose babies were never breastfed once!)

            With that in mind, hopefully you’ll understand the point being made, which is that if you’re cosleeping with your baby because the baby won’t go down and there’s nobody to stay awake with them, the baby is at an additional risk compared to babies for whom that’s not the case. Because it isn’t possible for them to sleep in the safest way, whereas for other babies there is. Put bluntly, for some babies it’s planned cosleeping in a bed versus unplanned in a bed or somewhere even less safe.

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 11:44 am #

            “Because it isn’t possible for them to sleep in the safest way, whereas for other babies there is.” Ah, it’s not you – your baby is too special to sleep safely. Got it.

          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 11:53 am #

            So to be clear, are you suggesting that a young baby who refuses to be put down or to self settle when they are isn’t a thing, then?

            Or perhaps it’s just the fault of the parents. I’m sure I could have got her to sleep if I’d only tried harder, just like I could have delivered her vaginally if I weren’t such a special snowflake.

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 11:58 am #

            No, I’m illustrating that your claim how your baby is too special to sleep safely is so fucking predictable that it has made it into PPPs about the most common excuses for parental *choice* to entertain unsafe sleep environments for their babies.

          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 12:02 pm #

            All you’ve managed to illustrate in your series of posts this afternoon is that you cannot comprehend that a family could comprise both a baby who refuses to sleep and no adult who is physically able to stay awake with them all night.

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

            Yeah. That is why I have on multiple occasions reached out to social workers, health visitors, crisis nurseries on behalf of such parents in those exact scenarios. Priority was still to keep babies sleeping safely while helping them.

          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

            So to be clear then, do you think newborns who won’t be put down and who don’t self settle when they are exist or not? A yes or no would be useful here.

            (I expect it’s safe to assume you are aware that some adults aren’t able to stay awake all night- do tell me if that’s not the case).

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 12:13 pm #

            Moar logical fallacies. Great.

          • Sarah
            November 18, 2017 at 12:18 pm #

            You’ve lost me.

            You’re talking about ‘this exact scenario’ but your use of too special et al didn’t sound like you thought that scenario existed. Clarification would be useful, in case I have misunderstood your meaning. I’m surprised you don’t want to provide it.

          • yugaya
            November 18, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

            “You’ve lost me.”

            This: “So to be clear then, do you think newborns who won’t be put down and who
            don’t self settle when they are exist or not? A yes or no would be
            useful here.” =


            Mind you, you’ve already hit a bingo of them:

          • Sarah
            November 19, 2017 at 9:03 am #

            You’re still not telling us whether you agree that newborns who won’t be put down or self-settle when they are exist, then. Shocker.

      • mabelcruet
        November 18, 2017 at 8:11 am #

        As I’ve said before, I am an absolute numpty when it comes to figures and statistics, but I agree completely that short falls are very unlikely to result in serious harm. Babies are bouncy and quite bendy, and rolling off a sofa or off a bed onto the floor, especially onto a carpeted floor isn’t usually going to cause much damage, mostly because their mass isn’t enough to work up momentum. Plus they generally don’t tense up on falling, its like being drunk. Even falling downstairs-falling down a flight of stairs is generally not that dangerous either, because it’s a series of short little bumps, not one giant high fall. There was a paper from Australia looking at rates of injury in witnessed falls, and any injuries that were caused were fairly uncomplicated simple fractures.

        One of the issues we always look at in infant deaths when we find trauma-bruises, fractures etc-is ‘does the injury match the parental explanation?’. A short roll off the sofa does not cause complex comminuted depressed skull fracture with subdural haematoma and multiple fractured ribs.

        We had a case here where there was a huge basal skull fracture-basal skull fractures need significant trauma to cause them. The dad’s explanation was that the infant had slipped in their plastic bath and bumped his head on the rim. Aye, right.

        • Empress of the Iguana People
          November 18, 2017 at 8:51 am #

          are you saying shaken baby syndrome -isn’t- caused by vaccines? Shill! /sarcasm
          Mind if I copy this for Dem? He’s heard of that American Footballer concusion brain damage once too often and worries far too much over every tiny bump

        • Dr Kitty
          November 19, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

          I’ve seen a skull fracture in a non mobile infant that was put in a Bumbo on a kitchen worktop and somehow fell to the floor.
          Witnessed by both parents, who were both absolutely distraught and there was no suggestion of NAI.

          But bed or sofa to floor- that’s a bump, not a brain injury.

          My son managed to run full tilt into the corner of the dining table leg the other day. He had a literal goose egg on his forehead, but was absolutely fine.

          • sdsures
            November 19, 2017 at 4:18 pm #

            Ouch! Sorry about the goose egg! I had a LOT of those myself as a kid. Glad he’s OK. Oww, though! *cringe*

          • mabelcruet
            November 21, 2017 at 11:34 am #

            I can see that a kitchen worktop is a bit higher than a standard sofa, and a kitchen floor more likely to be tiled than carpeted, so its not entirely unexpected that a more complex injury occurred. You know as well as I do that there are other issues to be considered-is there is a delay in seeking medical attention? Is there discrepancy between parental accounts? Does the account keep changing? Is the parental response appropriate? I was involved in one case where there was absolutely nothing found at autopsy, looked to be a true SIDS, but the investigating officer wasn’t happy with how the mother was behaving and kept pushing. It turned out that she’d suffocated the baby using an inflated balloon-didn’t leave any marks at all. Scary.

  8. ToBMomof4
    November 14, 2017 at 3:33 pm #

    You continue to to confuse co-sleeping, which is a general term, with bed-sharing. Co-sleeping can include having a crib in a parent’s room or a bassinet next to the bed. Setting up a safe co-sleeping arrangement from the get go can prevent dangerous bed sharing out of exhaustion. It is MUCH easier to sit up and grab an infant from a bassinet next to the best and then return the baby after a feeding than to run down the hall to a separate bedroom.

    • crazy mama, PhD
      November 14, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

      I understand that you feel really strongly about this, but I don’t think anyone is actually confused here.

    • MaineJen
      November 14, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

      No, to me ‘cosleeping’ means ‘in the same bed.’

    • mabelcruet
      November 14, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

      Technically, yes co-sleeping could include room sharing, but in medical terminology co-sleeping is used to signify bed sharing (and also covers co-sleeping on a sofa, or chair sharing).

    • AnnaPDE
      November 14, 2017 at 8:12 pm #

      Yes it is easier. Still I have to admit that I have fallen asleep with kid in my arms both when his bed was next to mine and since he’s in his own room. The effort to get up and start doing stuff is different, but after the first 5min the sleepiness falls back to the same level.

    • Monica
      November 15, 2017 at 7:39 am #

      Considering that what this was written in response to the other author who mentions that babies often feed without their mother’s knowing I’m pretty sure bed sharing is what’s being promoted by Bartick.

  9. Zornorph
    November 14, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

    When Boy-O was an infant, I had him in the bed, but he was inside of a bassinet. Granted, it was just me one and a king sized bed so there was space for that, but I would think if you wanted the baby in bed, putting him safe inside his own container would be the way to do it. Of course, I wasn’t try to feed him when I was half-asleep, but I had bottles of water ready to do in the bedroom – just needed to add formula(he liked it room temperature) and so I just had to sit up in bed.
    I will admit, that I was more paranoid that my cat or beagle would get in the bassinet to snuggle with him, but then I read that cats smothering babies was pretty much and old wives tale.

    • Merrie
      November 17, 2017 at 6:25 pm #

      In-bed co-sleepers aren’t considered safe either.

  10. Empress of the Iguana People
    November 14, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

    waaay OT: Nancy Zieman, of Sewing with Nancy fame, has passed away. I used to watch her show with my mother when I was a little kid and I’ve watched it with my own spawn. She was 64. My crafty friends are all saddened, though it doesn’t make a ripple with the rest of the world

    • momofone
      November 14, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

      I saw that too and was sorry. I am more wannabe than person with actual ability when it comes to sewing, but I really enjoyed watching her.

  11. mostlyclueless
    November 14, 2017 at 12:47 pm #

    I think it could be very beneficial if you were to write a post specifically addressing the fallacy that cosleeping is only dangerous in the presence of risk factors like obesity or thick bedding.

    Long ago when I was weighing the pros/cons, like you, I became persuaded (unwillingly) that the evidence is quite clear — even with all risk factors removed, bedsharing is less safe than the alternative.

    Yet I routinely see very reasonable, evidence-believing people fail to understand that bedsharing itself is the risk factor, and the others only modify/increase the risk. It would be really handy if you could put together a post with references demonstrating that. Just a thought.

    • Gene
      November 14, 2017 at 12:53 pm #

      Agreed. “. Cosleeping is dangerous for OTHER people but not me because I’m doing it for the right reasons and safely. “ Yeah, you can make it safer: don’t drink, smoke, take sedating meds, sleep on a futon pad on the floor without a pillow or sheet, no other people in bed besides mom and baby. But even then, the supposed benefits do not outweigh the known and documented risks.

      • mabelcruet
        November 14, 2017 at 3:25 pm #

        Being the pathologist who gets these babies after death, this is the biggest issue to get across to the population. Yes, people have co-slept with babies since forever, but that doesn’t mean its completely safe. Yes, most babies who co-sleep with parents don’t end up dead, in exactly the same way most drunk drivers don’t wipe out pedestrians on most journeys. You can modify your risk, you can bring it right, right down (particularly if you use one of those alongside/side sleeping cots), but there is still a risk, Parents and carers have to make a considered choice to determine whether they are happy with the risk, and health care providers do them an absolute disservice if we pretend that the risk doesn’t exist.

        The trouble is, trying to get the public health message across is difficult-it is easier to say ‘do not ever sleep with your baby until they are 12 months of age’, rather than saying ‘the risk is X, if you do A, B and C, your risk reduces to Y, but if you do D, E or F it goes up to Z’.

        • CSN0116
          November 14, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

          In your experiences, which is more deadly – prone sleeping on a flat, separate, blanket-free space or bed sharing? I imagine suffocation AND SIDS risks exist in a bed sharing environment, and SIDS but not-so-much suffocation in the prone scenario I described (?)

          In regards to weighing risks, I’m just curious and you’re good and explaining 😉

          • mabelcruet
            November 14, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

            When it comes to statistics, my IQ plummets to around 55, so I have no grasp of figures. Its hard to apply population stats to an individual-whenever I have a case I have to say to the coroner that ‘parental cigarette smoking is a risk factor for sudden infant death, but just because the mum smoked, you can’t say that the baby died just because she smoked’ (I think his grasp of stats is as vague as mine).

            In general, the deaths that I’ve had have generally been in families where parenting could be said to be chaotic or disorganised. We honestly don’t see very many deaths anymore in higher socio-economic groups, which goes against what FSIDS promotes-SIDS/SUDI, whilst it can happen to any family, happens far more commonly in those families where parents smoke or drink more heavily, where there is more use of illicit drugs, where there is a single parent, where there is a low income etc. Its possibility due to issues like smoking mothers have babies of slightly lower weight, and lower weight or prem babies have a higher risk of SUDI.

            In general, the vast majority of my cases don’t happen in parents who plan their co-sleeping, whether that’s on a flat futon or normal bed, it happens where the co-sleeping event was unplanned and spontaneous. Examples:

            1. Baby normally slept in a cot in the parents bedroom (safest place of all), but wouldn’t settle, so dad picked baby up for a cuddle, brought baby into bed and fell asleep-baby rolled off his chest and was found an hour later face down on the pillow.

            2. Baby slept in a cot, mum woke early, brought baby into bed for a play, made a sort of sling with the bedsheet, separating her legs so the baby was lying on the sheet sort of elevated so mum could see her. Mum fell asleep, woke up a while later having turned over in bed, and the baby had been wrapped tightly in the twisted sheet and asphyxiated.

            3. Baby wasn’t sleeping in the cot, so dad took baby downstairs so mum could sleep. Next morning, mum came downstairs, couldn’t see baby, and baby was found face down underneath dad’s legs on the sofa-he’d put the baby on his thighs the night before, thinking that the natural depression between his thighs would act to keep the baby rolling.

            4. Dad who tried to settle the baby to sleep, laid down on the sofa with the baby on his chest, and clamped his hands on the back of the baby so that the baby wouldn’t roll. He fell asleep and the deadweight of his hands on the baby’s chest prevented the baby breathing-mechanical asphyxiation.

            5. Mum fell asleep on the sofa with her head on a pillow on the arm of the sofa, and the baby wedged between her shoulder and head on the pillow and the back of the sofa. A short while later, mum awoke and found the baby had slipped down the pillow, and was facing towards the soft back of the sofa-asphyxiated.

            6. Parents sleeping in a double bed with a pillow each, and a sort of void at the level of the pillows in the middle of the bed. They’d put the baby in the void, on his back. During the night, the relative movements of the adults made the pillows shift towards the middle and ended up covering the baby’s face.

            What seems to be common is the lack of planning. I think if parents make a deliberate choice, and plan, and keep the room cool, and reduce the risk factors by not smoking or drinking or taking drugs, the risk of death is minimised. Its the unplanned and spontaneous co-sleeping which is the biggest killer.

          • Who?
            November 14, 2017 at 4:12 pm #

            Nightmare scenarios.

            Given number 4, I understand your anxiety about the gas ad, above.

          • mabelcruet
            November 15, 2017 at 4:57 pm #

            I’ve had a couple of cases with this scenario with the hands/arms on baby’s body to stop them rolling off, and quite a number where parents have wedged the baby onto a bed or the sofa piling pillows and cushions around them so they don’t roll, but the baby ended up rolling into the pillow and suffocating.

            Rolling off a bed or a sofa is not going to harm a baby usually-they are quite bouncy and a short fall won’t hurt them given their small mass. Its far safer not wedging them in place and not using pillows.

          • CSN0116
            November 14, 2017 at 9:39 pm #

            You’re my favorite person I’ve never met. Every time I read something you write, I walk away 14 times more informed than when I started. Again, thank you for the time spent explaining.

            I read a study somewhere – or cluster of studies – which found that *suddenly* changing a baby’s usual sleep position is *more dangerous* than always sleeping a baby in an undesirable/unsafe sleep position. The researchers were looking at SUID/SIDS rates as they related to daycare and babysitter use. Rates are higher when babies are in the care of people with whom they do not reside. What they found was basically when a baby who was always slept supine at home and Grandma or a sitter took over and _for the first time_ suddenly slept baby prone, SUID was more likely to occur. Babies regularly slept prone were not at as much risk. Something about the sudden shift in position and environment created excess risk. I’m not describing it super well, but it was fascinating and seems to correspond with what you have seen.

          • mabelcruet
            November 15, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

            Thank you very much! As a pathologist doing autopsies, I’m always aware that parents might read my reports, and it could be fairly gruesome for them, so we offer them ‘lay’ versions of it with less use of specific medical terminology, and I always try and put things in a way non-medics can understand too.

            The problem with cot deaths is that they become the jurisdiction of the coroner, so they are investigated legally-obviously that’s just in case the death was the result of inflicted injuries, but the vast majority are simply a horrible, devastating accident. I know accidental suffocation or asphyxiation is unnatural, but the parents end up in the coroners court giving evidence, and it gets published in the local papers, and the coroners generally give a verdict: our coroner sees himself as having a public health and safety role so he will always make a statement saying co-sleeping is dangerous etc. I can see objectively that’s useful and appropriate, but I feel so sorry for the parents who go through this.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            November 14, 2017 at 10:07 pm #

            That made some grim reading, but thank you. #4 was me pretty much every night until DD was a couple of months old. She’d spend the first part of the night in her bassinet (alone, no blankets, on back, all that good stuff), but then would have the world’s hardest time settling and staying settled after a 2 AM feed, so I’d put her on her tummy on my chest while I semi-reclined on the couch with my hands over her back.
            The snuggles and sleep were nice, the possibility for suffocation, not so much.
            That will *not* be happening in the future.

          • Cat
            November 15, 2017 at 3:35 am #

            Chillingly, number 6 is pretty much what the midwife who visited me on day 5 recommended as an example of “how to co-sleep safely”. How are parents meant to get it right with professionals misrepresenting the guidelines?

        • yugaya
          November 17, 2017 at 5:01 pm #

          The problem is that lactavists claim how there is no risk at all if you do their A, B, and their ABC is not evidence based at all. It’s crap they pulled out of their behind.

          First image is from LLL book that promotes *safe* bedsharing. LLL is funded and endorsed as official partner for safe sleep projects on national level in USA.

          Second image is from a UK source that is NHS endorsed, taken straight from their website section with images that they endorse as approved to be shared and used in order to show what *safe* bedsharing looks like

          I know that you know exactly what is wrong with these pictures.

          • mabelcruet
            November 18, 2017 at 8:14 am #

            I shudder when I see pictures like that.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      November 14, 2017 at 12:54 pm #

      I’ve written something similar in the past:

      • mostlyclueless
        November 14, 2017 at 1:55 pm #

        Cool, thank you!

  12. Gene
    November 14, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

    The whole breastfeeding “often without realizing it” is complete and utter bunk, and here is why: if you are breastfeeding an infant and sleeping WITHOUT a bra or some sort of tank top, you WILL wake up in a puddle of milk. They sell breast pads for a reason. I couldn’t even walk around braless under a robe or sweatshirt without randomly gushing milk. And not just in response to a baby crying or snuggling. I couldn’t go braless to bed until afte I’d weaned. So unless your baby has the dexterity to open a bra (and by that point, that child had better be sleeping through the night), I call total BS of the sleeping midnight snack.

    I’ve taken care of babies who died via mechanical suffocation (SIDS is cause unknown, babies who get rolled over on or tangled in sheets or against walls are SUFFOCATED) or falls from beds. “Safe” cosleeping means mom and baby on a hard (non pillow too, no memory foam) mattress less than 12” from the floor without pillows or sheets or comforters. And mom cannot be on any medication that affects her sleep and must not be sleep deprived or over tired.

    Best of both worlds: a basinette or cosleeper next to the bed. Room sharing is fine. We had the Arm’s Reach version and love it. Safe sleeping space for baby, easy to grab baby for night feeds for me.

    • maidmarian555
      November 14, 2017 at 2:17 pm #

      I thought this. I was thinking how awful it would be to wake up in a puddle of your own breastmilk. It would stink something rotten and you’d be washing sheets every day. Which is exactly what you need with a new baby. More bloody washing.

      We have a co-sleeper in the bedroom. Technically it can be strapped to the bed but we’ve never bothered doing that and just use it like a bassinet. My son slept in it until he was 7months old and we have my daughter in there now. The advice here is to have your baby in your room until at least 6months (apparently there is talk of extending the guidelines to 1yr but I don’t know why they’ve started saying that).

    • mabelcruet
      November 14, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

      I think the Royal College of Midwives in the UK had, at one point, maternal obesity as a risk factor for co-sleeping deaths. The theory is that the larger parents may not be quite as aware of their extremities and risk overlaying by not realising the relative position of the baby and their outlying bits. I think this was withdrawn a while ago-as I recall, they got an awful lot of abuse about it.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        November 14, 2017 at 10:12 pm #

        That I could totally believe. Speaking as a formerly-obese mom, that was one of my biggest beefs with the hospital when I had my first: that I was told by an IBCLC that I, an obese mom (by definition, there was a lot more of me!) should cosleep with my baby lying propped on a pillow and under the blankets against my side, and me on narcotic painkillers and severely sleep-deprived.
        I will say that I (eventually) reported this madness, and that by the time I had the second kid, no one suggested anything so phenomenally stupid. Not that that scenario would have been much better if I’d been thin, of course, but, well, bigger, squashier mom lying next to baby does seem to increase the suffocation potential over a smaller, less-squashy mom doing so.

    • Dr Kitty
      November 14, 2017 at 5:36 pm #

      I think the “without realising it” is more about feeding the baby while not fully awake.

      That is perfectly possible.

      I’ve done it myself, somewhere in that horrible sleep deprived bit between 3-6months.

      I went to sleep with full breasts and the baby fast asleep in a Moses basket beside me and woke up 6hrs later with empty breasts and the baby fast asleep in bed beside me on more than one occasion.

      I didn’t remember waking up or feeding the baby, because I clearly wasn’t fully awake when I did, but I obviously did.
      No, I didn’t intend to bed share, but clearly my half asleep lizard brain didn’t get the memo to put the baby back in the Moses basket after a feed and decided to fall asleep with the baby in bed instead.

      Oh, and I never leaked milk or needed breast pads, despite my plentiful supply. I wore nursing bras and vests to bed. Apparently half asleep me can work those plastic catches.

      Those occasions absolutely terrified me, but at that point I was so tired that it was either going to be falling asleep in bed or on a sofa or chair, and of those bad options bed wash the safest. I just didn’t have the capacity to stay awake for the duration of a 4am feed at that point.

      My kids both went into cots in their own rooms at six months, which was the best place for them.

      • Empress of the Iguana People
        November 14, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

        This has happened with both my kids, but I suspect their dad did it. He stays on autopilot for up to half an hour after “waking”.

        • Dr Kitty
          November 15, 2017 at 4:14 am #

          I would suspect my husband, if he didn’t sleep so deeply that he normally doesn’t wake for *anything* except his alarm.
          Including crying babies.
          Which is why getting him to do night feeds was a non starter.

    • Allie
      November 15, 2017 at 6:05 pm #

      There was a death associated with the Arm’s Reach in Canada and they are banned. It occurred in my own city, where an infant got stuck between the bed and the sleeper. I’m guessing it was installed incorrectly, but I don’t know that for sure. We swapped between an in-bed bassinet and a beside-the-bed bassinet until 5.5 months and have been bed-sharing since then (she’s 4 now). I have the fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on your viewpoint) condition of being completely unable to fall or stay asleep if my baby is awake, no matter how tired I am. I think it is likely genetic and related to my inability to sleep in conveyances of any kind: cars, planes, trains, you name it. I believe our sleeping arrangements are safe for us, based on our individual sleep patterns and circumstances, and they are agreeable to all parties.

  13. kilda
    November 14, 2017 at 11:24 am #

    the fact that a bedsharing mother can breastfeed her baby “often without realizing it” is exactly why sleeping with an infant isn’t safe. If you’re not conscious, you can’t be keeping your baby safe! If you are not awake enough to even remember feeding the baby, you are not awake enough to be sure you don’t roll on the baby, or let it get into an unsafe spot under the blankets or against the wall.

    • Kim
      November 15, 2017 at 9:24 am #

      It’s a bit more complicated than that. Professor Helen Ball of Durham University has found that breastfeeding mothers and babies who co-sleep instinctively move away from each other as they get warmer and closer together when they are colder. A summary of the recent research about co-sleeping says: “Most bed-sharing deaths happen when an adult sleeping with a baby has been smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking drugs (illegal or over-the-counter medicines) that make them sleep deeply.”

  14. Kathleen
    November 14, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    Look…I LOVED holding my babies. As exhausted as I was though, I knew co-sleeping (bedsharing) was dangerous. It was difficult, especially with my first who was a non-sleeper, to not just fall asleep with them next to me. But I just couldn’t do it. Now, of course, my babies are almost 6 and almost 4 and they sneak into bed with me.

  15. 3boyz
    November 14, 2017 at 11:19 am #

    While I understand that bed-sharing is risky, I think doctors need to be more realistic about acknowledging that a lot of parents do it out of sheer exhaustion and desperation. The practice should be discouraged, but there needs to be more help for parents getting their babies to sleep and discussion about ways to make bed-sharing safer just in case the baby does end up in the bed. I’ve had babies that ended up spending nights in my bed because they just wouldn’t sleep otherwise, and I was wracked with guilt (even though I implemented the safety guidelines, like no pillows or blankets, firm mattress, etc) but I just couldn’t handle the exhaustion and was falling apart. And then when I’d ask the doctor for advice, I’d just get told off for bringing the baby into bed. Well, tell me what to do so that it won’t happen! Really, I’ve not lucked out in the sleep department. All my kids have been crappy sleepers. Great eaters though. I guess you can’t have it all.

    • Sarah
      November 14, 2017 at 11:52 am #

      Couldn’t agree more, as also discussed in my comments on the other thread. I am very grateful to have been able to access information about how to minimise the risks.

    • Jen
      November 14, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

      Totally agree. My first ended up cosleeping purely because he would not sleep at all in his own crib. Gave up and brought him in our bed and he slept 14 hours straight through. I felt incredibly guilty for putting him at risk. Not enough to go back to screaming for an hour every hour when we could be getting 12-14 hours of blissful sleep. My second will only sleep alone, in the dark, in the crib. Kids are different with different needs. It would be incredibly helpful to discuss mitigating co-sleeping risks and tactics to get the baby to successfully sleep in the crib.

    • mostlyclueless
      November 14, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

      I strongly agree, I think a “harm reduction” approach to co-sleeping is the most prudent, rather than recommending total abstinence. I swore I would not cosleep with my son but after accidentally falling asleep nursing him once, I decided that planned cosleeping was better than accidental cosleeping, at least, and I did what I could to make the sleep surface as safe as possible.

      • Cat
        November 15, 2017 at 3:40 am #

        Yeah, I have no objections at all to the message that “this isn’t best practice but, realistically, it’s where a lot of parents end up, so here’s how to mitigate the risk as far as possible”.

        I reserve my ire for the crunchy types who promote bedsharing to parents as a way actively to prevent SIDS.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      November 14, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

      I’m not sure what “being more realistic” means. We all cut corners out of exhaustion and do things we would never do if we weren’t frazzled, but that doesn’t make them safe. Yes, mothers can be reassured that they are doing the best they can when they turn their back for a minute and a toddler hurts himself but that doesn’t mean that we don’t advocate for baby proofing or that we would suggest that it’s a small price to pay for a little time to rest.

      What I find ironic is that one way to reduce a mother’s exhaustion is to let her sleep and have someone else formula feed the baby a bottle in the middle of the night. But women who do that are demonized by lactivists, not reassured. So why do they think it is okay to reassure a mother who co-sleeps?

      • November 14, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

        They don’t. They have jack-all useful suggestions, though–just “don’t do it”! I finally placed my daughter prone in her bassinet, and I believe that was safer for us than when I was falling asleep with her on top of me because she WOULD NOT STAY ASLEEP supine. Was it riskier than trying to keep her on her back? Yes, with regards to SIDS, but when I started getting more sleep I wasn’t getting behind the wheel in a severely impaired state.

        Sorry, I realize that this isn’t strictly about the risks of not breastfeeding and cosleeping, which of course is what you are discussing. But in spite of the success of the Safe to Sleep campaign, I still believe that health professionals do a terrible job addressing the needs of families with small babies.

        • CSN0116
          November 14, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

          Non-negotiable and unachievable safe sleep standards are why things like Rock n’ Plays, swings and other contraptions which are NOT approved for safe sleep –
          but aren’t _totally_ stigmatized either – are bought up like candy by new parents.

          Not one of my five babies would sleep flat on its back in a flat crib. Not one. I had to modify something about the sleep environment for each one: elevated mattress, propped to side, prone position. We used paci’s, fans, firm mattress, separate sleep space, no blankets, etc. But we could never adhere 100% to all of the rules. I may have never bed shared, but I can’t really proclaim that I’m “angelic” here either. I am a safe sleep sinner and I think a lot of parents are. Someone needs to talk about it.

          • November 14, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

            Completely agree. I don’t know what the solution is, because certain factors–nonsleeping babies, parents with work/family/other obligations are not easily modifiable. More support in the early days and weeks (ie, helpful people sleeping over to take turns with the infant) would be great, but for most of us that isn’t going to happen.

            That said, it was a real surprise to me to learn that SIDS is much less frequent than stillbirth.

          • Sarah
            November 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

            And the thing is, even when like me you have objectively shitloads of support (spouse around on full pay for first 3 weeks, several hours a day of family help) the reality is that most people do not have overnight cover.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            November 14, 2017 at 10:24 pm #

            Ohhh, yeah, and especially if you can’t be sure that someone who is willing to do the 4 AM stuff will do so safely, whether intentionally or otherwise.
            My otherwise fantastic MIL apparently co-slept with DD one night that she helped me with. Granted, she did so as safely as possible (just the two of them, thin flat mattress on the floor, all that jazz), but I wouldn’t have been okay with it if I’d known at the time. And DH is willing to help when he can, but can’t stay awake past a certain point, so he’d be the dad who gets up at 2, changes baby, gives baby a bottle…and falls asleep on the couch with baby on his lap while doing so. No fault of his own, and he’d agree it’s not safe, but there ya go.

          • Sarah
            November 15, 2017 at 4:02 am #

            Yes, that’s another good point. My parents were both hugely helpful and fairly young for grandparents. But the reality is that even for people in their late 40s and 50s, the stamina to do an overnight with a newborn isn’t necessarily there. Many grandparents are much older than this.

          • BeatriceC
            November 14, 2017 at 8:46 pm #

            A friend of mine was recently gifted an overnight baby nurse (paid for by the gift giver) every other day for the first 2 weeks of her newborn’s life. She said it made an enormous difference in her recovery.

          • Sarah
            November 15, 2017 at 4:00 am #

            When my sister gave birth last year, I took the money I would’ve spent on baby and christening presents and paid for an overnight nurse for one night. My pockets aren’t as deep as the person you mention, but I flatter myself it was a useful gift!

          • sdsures
            November 19, 2017 at 4:20 pm #

            That’s absolutely brilliant!

          • guest
            November 15, 2017 at 10:31 am #

            Yes, neither one of mine would sleep flat on their backs with no blankets. The first few weeks, husband and I took shifts at night and it pretty much consisted of lay baby down, watch TV for 15 minutes, go get baby that was now crying and soothe them, put baby back down, watch TV for another 15 minutes, then go pick up now crying baby again….repeat, repeat, repeat. 1st learned quickly to sleep the “correct” way, 2nd never did. She spent most of the first year sleeping in her car seat on the floor next to me. We really need some better options for getting babies and parents enough sleep at night.

          • Allie
            November 15, 2017 at 6:14 pm #

            I think I would have died without the Rock ‘n Play. It was a godsend.

          • CSN0116
            November 16, 2017 at 8:55 am #

            I completely understand! You and millions of others. We’ve used it intermittently when babies were congested and such. But it does break the “safe sleep” rules. We are safe sleep university dropouts 😉

          • November 16, 2017 at 10:52 pm #

            Mine would pass right out in the swing. We called it “the cheater.” He’d eventually sleep in his bassinet or crib, but for a long time it took rocking him to sleep and carefully laying him down. I vividly remember sobbing when I put him down and he woke back up.

      • 3boyz
        November 14, 2017 at 1:13 pm #

        I agree it will never be the safer alternative, but as another poster said, a harm-reduction approach is likely better than the current approach. Many parents who end up bringing the baby into the bed are not doing it because they’re crunchy attachment parents or because they’re not educated on the matter. It’s because they’re desperate. And even formula fed babies can be crappy sleepers.

        Sure, sharing the bed will always be risky, but there are ways of making it less risky. We all take risks with our kids. A tired parent is also at risk of killing their kids by crashing the car or dozing off while the child is awake and mobile and capable of getting into things they shouldn’t. Better to acknowledge that co-sleeping is sometimes going to happen, even among parents who know they shouldn’t, simply because of a risk-benefit calculation.

      • Sarah
        November 14, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

        I would imagine being more realistic= accepting that sometimes small babies simply won’t be put down (even when exclusively formula fed!) and that exhaustion plays a part in the decision making process. We were in that position and the only help I got was from a health visitor who both told us not to bedshare and not to leave the baby to scream, and when we asked which to prioritise simply evaded the question. Thankfully we were able to access information from elsewhere so we were able to learn that eg bed is safer than sofa, no duvets etc,

        I’ll reproduce a comment I made on yesterday’s post that may be of use as an example of how this might come about. It was specifically addressing a couple of other comments, but I think the general account is useful:


        This, unfortunately, was my second rather than my first, so I also had the sleep and daytime care of a toddler to consider. It wasn’t snapping that worried me: sitting crying in the face of it would’ve been more my style at the time. It was what might happen if I unexpectedly fell asleep caring for either or both.

        And this was with a partner who had 3 weeks of paternity leave on full pay, during which he did all night feeds because yay formula, and also for a couple of weeks thereafter, and several hours of assistance from other family members during the day after my husband had to go back to work. So I was very, very lucky compared to many. I can’t imagine how much worse it could’ve been without that support- you are right to highlight it.

        Unfortunately though, the baby’s period of refusing to be put down lasted longer than the paternity leave did, and the family assistance still left several hours of the day with me solo. Having had an an EMCS and a haemmorhage left me rather more wiped out than I’d expected to be. We did split shifts while my husband was on paternity leave, but after that, he could no longer stay awake all night then catch up during the day, and I was still having trouble staying awake and was afraid of what might happen if I got even more tired. We were not under any delusions that what we were doing was optimum, but the baby co-sleeping with the not ill parent was the best option available to us at that point. Toddlers in the bed is one thing but we certainly didn’t want a newborn anywhere other than the basket.

        Choice didn’t come into it

        • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
          November 14, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

          I will probably be seen as mean , but why not let a baby cry for a bit when you put them down for the night? In their own bed.
          I don’t mean scream for a half hour but why do people think crying some before they sleep is something that “Must not happen!!!” It’s hard at first but it seems to be better for the kid because they learn to self soothe and to sometimes get themselves back to sleep when they walk momentarily (which they will multiple times a night).

          My daughter had a weird quirk that nearly gave me heart failure until I understood it. about a half hour after she went to sleep (sometimes happened at naptime too) she would let out a piercing wail. I would jump out of bed , race to her room, and she would be sound asleep. I still don’t know what that was…REM sleep weirdness?

          • Sarah
            November 14, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

            Because when we tried that, it woke up our other small child, and kept us all awake longer. When I in particular was barely functional during the several hours a day of solo childcare I had to do for a newborn and toddler, and my husband had to work (and commute) having done all the night feeds. Thus, it was not a possible solution.

            The irony being that this is the child who slept through pretty young. Stopped night feeding by 10 weeks. It was just those first few that were horrifying.

          • maidmarian555
            November 14, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

            Both mine do the random shrieking wail thing. It’s a total delight at 3am.

          • mostlyclueless
            November 14, 2017 at 6:45 pm #

            Unfortunately I could never convince either of my babies to read that French book that said if I let them fuss a bit they would go to sleep in a few minutes.

            Instead their fussing escalated into long-term wailing, unless otherwise tended to. So, eventually I learned to cut out the wailing and just tend to them right away.

          • Sarah
            November 15, 2017 at 3:53 am #

            Indeed. The letting them self settle theory is rather reliant on having a baby who actually will self settle. I had ordered one of those, but unfortunately there was some kind of mix up.

          • Lilly de Lure
            November 15, 2017 at 6:47 am #

            If only we could persuade babies to actually read the bits in the parenting books detailing what they should or shouldn’t be doing motherhood would be so much easier 😉

          • November 14, 2017 at 8:50 pm #

            My second and third will fuss for a bit, then usually go to sleep; my first just howled until she threw up. No sleep training for that one.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            November 14, 2017 at 10:21 pm #

            Depends on the kiddo.
            DD, once woken, would not self-soothe for ages–many months, at least, it’s all a bit of a blur now. DS was self-soothing at a couple of weeks, to the point that he was sleeping 6-7 hour blocks at night by 4 weeks, and believe me, hard-hearted though I am, I was *not* sleep-training him that young! Their personalities reflect that, too. DD is very intense, never wants to miss anything, very dramatic, while DS is the opposite: if he’s clean and dry, has a full tummy, and has been cuddled recently, he’s a happy baby, and just sort of takes life as it comes. Nighttime feedings for DD consisted of some eating, and quite a lot of yelling about how she didn’t want to eat, didn’t want to go back to sleep, was Not Impressed With Life Outside The Womb And Wanted A Refund, etc. Nighttime feedings for DS consisted of *here’s a bottle,* *chug, chug, burp*, followed by 5-10 minutes max of rocking and cuddling before he was passed out again.

          • Lilly de Lure
            November 15, 2017 at 6:44 am #

            “Not Impressed With Life Outside The Womb And Wanted A Refund” – love this phrase, is it available for shameless stealing?

            I know what you mean though – my DS is the same as yours so I’ve been able to let his sleeping patterns develop on their own, if we wakes up seriously in the night (rare these days) he’ll either go back to sleep if I sing a quick lullaby at him (I used to take him out of the cot for a cuddle automatically but I’ve taken to verbally soothing him first now, it works pretty well, lets him know I’m there and doesn’t get him to associate comfort during the night with being lifted out of the cot – at least that’s the theory), or he’s hungry/ needs changed and will pass out after whatever is up has been attended to. My friend’s child on the other hand never let her get more than about 2 hrs sleep at a stretch until she was almost 10 months old – no rhyme or reason that we could detect, just different babies.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            November 15, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

            Go for it!

          • sdsures
            November 19, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

            I love it too!

          • MI Dawn
            November 15, 2017 at 8:11 am #

            OMG. Did you you have my eldest by mistake for your DD? She did the exact same thing for months, and my poor husband would call me at work in despair (I worked nights, he worked days) because “she won’t stop crying” . Being held didn’t help, so we had her cry it out. She just was a very intense baby who couldn’t relax until she’d cried herself into exhaustion. Note: at 30 years of age, she has learned other ways to cope – running, mountain biking, etc. She’s still an intense person.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            November 15, 2017 at 3:26 pm #

            It sounds like it! DD was the baby who the ped gave us the go-ahead on sleep training at 3 months because my trying to rock her to sleep just made her madder and madder, and that process would then take upwards of an hour. CIO was far pleasanter for all involved, to put it mildly.

          • sdsures
            November 19, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

            I was HUGELY reassured by learning about the “period of purple crying”. Have you heard of this?

          • sdsures
            November 19, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

            My sister’s twins, when they were really little, would babble to each other before both going to sleep. They soothed each other, and you could hear them nattering on the baby monitor. 😀

          • Tigger_the_Wing
            November 20, 2017 at 8:58 am #

            One of my twins refused to make a voluntary sound until he felt confident to speak in short sentences, at about 18 months – and we haven’t been able to shut him up since. The other babbled constantly, which totally confused the doctors when it was discovered that he was profoundly deaf.

      • J.B.
        November 16, 2017 at 2:42 pm #

        Well, with second kid you learn not to mention certain things to the pediatrician.

        I had PPA with my first and a big part of that was I was trying SO HARD to get her to nap in the crib and it was a constant miserable failure, exhausting me. We also passed out a couple of times with her in a very unsafe position. With the second I gave up and coslept for naps. Super duper light sleepers who wake up for everything do tend to lead to these challenges.

    • crazy mama, PhD
      November 14, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

      I agree. The AAP took a tiny step in this direction with their updated safe sleep recommendations last year (see #4d–f in ), although mostly in terms of parents accidentally falling asleep with baby in bed vs. on a couch.

    • sdsures
      November 17, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

      No, you can’t have it all, because we don’t live in a perfect world.

      But you CAN…not smother your kids to death just to get 2 hours of sleep.

    • sdsures
      November 17, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

      “tell me what to do so that it won’t happen!”

      What the bedsharing loss mom said is exactly what you are supposed to do: “Crib, pack n play or bassinet.”

      It’s THAT simple.

  16. crazy mama, PhD
    November 14, 2017 at 10:54 am #

    Why is number of times per night considered a valuable measure of breastfeeding anyway? Once breastfeeding is established, what makes five or six small feeds better than the one or two big feeds that my crib-sleeping baby takes? (I know that some mothers see their supply dip once baby drops to zero night feeds, but I’ve not heard of that happening when baby’s still nursing a couple of times at night. And I can see why multiple small meals would be better under specific circumstances, like reflux, but not why they’d be objectively better for all babies.)

    • Kathleen
      November 14, 2017 at 11:23 am #

      I have no idea. Early on, the argument is that their stomachs are tiny so they can only eat so much….but as a baby grows, I don’t remember if there IS an argument. I know that multiple small meals was HORRIBLE for me. My oldest was still waking up every 45 minutes to an hour to nurse at nine months (which is when we finally had to do some sleep training because I wasn’t functioning properly).

    • Charybdis
      November 14, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

      Because it seems as if to “properly breastfeed” you must breastfeed for Every. Little. Thing. The lactivist from Down Under espouses “Breastfeed for Everything! Babies (even toddlers & older) will breastfeed for hunger, thirst, comfort, boredom, upset, temper tantrums, being tired, being overstimulated, wanting to be close to Mom, whiny, agitated, fear, comfort, really ANYTHING! Don’t try and figure out what the problem actually is, just whip out a boob!” Bedsharing and sleep/dream nursing is Where It’s At, apparently, because your breastmilk changes and morphs instantaneously, depending on what your baby needs and breastmilk itself is a sleep aid.

      It appears to be another mothering contest: How many times did you breastfeed your bedsharing infant last night?

      • Wren
        November 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

        Breastfeeding for everything is fairly easy, until you and your child have to work out how to manage upsets when you’ve stopped breastfeeding. That took some serious work with my second, who was nearly 3 when we stopped altogether.

        • Lilly de Lure
          November 15, 2017 at 6:51 am #

          I get the impression with some lactivists that as far as they are concerned the ideal mother shouldn’t stop breastfeeding until the child goes to college anyway so that problem will never arise. *eyeroll*

          • Tigger_the_Wing
            November 16, 2017 at 3:01 pm #

            Why stop then? Should I not whip out a boob every time my eldest (36, father of three) has a bad day at work? I’m sixty. Should I get on a plane when I’m tired or upset and demand my 84-year-old mother ‘comfort’ me?

            Have they a book out, entitled “Why Menopause Doesn’t Have to be Bad for Breastfeeding: A Manual for the Over-Fifties.”

          • kilda
            November 16, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

            Great idea! The reason us over-fifties don’t breastfeed is probably because we don’t get enough support for it.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.