McKenna and Sarah Mosko. Puzzles, Problems and Possibilities. Cosleeping remains a cross-cultural human universal, a species-wide behavior, an expectable and physiologically normal sleeping arrangement likely designed by natural selection to maximize infant survival and well-being.
Only in a relatively few select cultures Western, industrialized societies have infants ever slept outside the company and presence of their breastfeeding mothers.
Lets never forget that. Separate surface cosleeping of this variety is recommended by all. The really good news is that over a million of these bassinets have been sold over the last fifteen to twenty years without one infant dying or being injured! There is no crib I can think of that has this safety record. The Arms Reach Cosleeper is, as it turns out, is about as safe as safe can be.
Do recall that cosleeping with an infant on a couch, recliner, or sofa, though also forms of cosleeping are, however, dangerous and should be avoided as they increase the chances of suffocation, regardless of sobriety. Is Room sharing a form of cosleeping? Roomsharing, or dare we say, mother-sharing, where the infant is simply in the room of a supervising caregiver mother or father also can describe a safe, simple, form of cosleeping.
This form of cosleeping is safe for all families and would be, in my mind, the preferred and default sleeping arrangement, especially for non breastfed infants. My one problem with this arrangement, which is, of course, minor, is the name for it. I think it best to remember that the inert walls of the room are not, of course what is being shared here, or is what is protective. Rather, what is protective is what goes on in the room between the caregiver and the infant, both in a reactive sense, but mostly in terms of a proactive behavior.
The latter stages of sleep i. Proximity, of course makes it much more likely and possible that more interaction will take place between the mother and infants during the night, including more breastfeeding and mothers are better able to detect or discover and respond to an infant in some kind of trouble. This is what I mean when I say that roomsharing is really mother-sharing or father- sharing as it is an active and not a passive arrangement. Aside from convenience especially if breastfeeding , are their any health advantages to keeping baby close in the form of separate- surface cosleeping?
Sleeping close to your infant is not simply a nice social idea but, for the infant, it represents a form of expected physiological regulation and support.
The short-term dependence on the proximity of a caregiver for physiological regulation, and protection is just finally being recognized scientifically as being extremely important and beneficial see Barak et al. This is clear when Dr. For infants touch is great medicine! In a sense proximity to parents during the night acts as a buffer between the immature infant and the microenvironment within which it lives.
Perhaps all of the above examples i. All children eventually learn how to put themselves back to sleep. Again, this is silly and offensive. More accurately, these judgments are social in form and nature and have no scientific merit or meaning at all. No other people on the planet other than those from Western industrialized societies worry about such differences between children.
Our culture has carefully constructed this as a concern. Again, this cannot be supported by worldwide data scientifically and rests on false scientific assumptions. Such a context for study is in reality, artificial, and one in which normative measurements of human infant sleep is not really possible, as it is not the environment within which infant sleep for our species develops.
Moreover, that measuring solitary infant sleep, in the context of bottle feeding is appropriate is ethnocentric as solitary sleep is unique to a small corner of the world, the industrialized West. This model overlooks or dismisses the diverse ways we humans all develop healthfully but at different rates and in vastly different contexts. But some accord more with our biology than do others. Western infant sleep practices depart widely from normative biological experiences that has had deleterious consequences.
Routine solitary sleepers not bedsharing toddlers were the toddlers less able to be alone and less able to solve problems presented to them, while alone, quite the opposite of what is so frequently assumed.
See, Keller and Goldberg Infant and Child Development Sleeping arrangements likely enhances such positive attributes already there, or clinically relevant or related ones involving psychological or social skills acquired from the relationships the child has with his or her parents, and other social experiences and relationships. Whether a child is more independent or not and how it is likely explained by multiple interacting, factors and the outcomes are likely specific to particular contexts or behavioral domains.
For example is the independence being examined in a social, intellectual, or activity context? Rather such capacities are likely heavily influenced also by the nature of the total relationship that the child has with his or her parents over a hour period, all day every day… and the nature of the relationship that is brought into the bed to share, if some form of cosleeping is practiced.
There is no simple relationship between these variables. My sister's baby died of SIDS when he was just 3 months old. What has your experience taught you in this regard? Does SIDS run in families? SIDS does not run in families. I have studied SIDS risk factors since my own son was born some thirty-two years ago.
Do not to smoke during your pregnancy or after, or let people smoke in the presence of your baby after it is born. Safe infant sleep therefore begins when your baby is sleeping and developing in your womb, especially as regards how much damage maternal smoke can do to the fetal brain. Bed frames can have gaps between the mattress and the frame head board or foot board into which an infant might slip and suffocate.
Lowering the height of the bed reduces the chances of a baby rolling off a bed and getting hurt, although, breastfeeding babies barely if at all move around in beds as they are too interested in being next to their mothers breasts with all of those good smells being emitted.
Never let children sleep next to your baby; best not to have another child in the bed with baby at all. Never push a mattress against a wall and assume it is safe there. Mattresses pushed against walls migrate quietly and without fanfare or notice by those in the room.
Sometimes the mattress pulls away from the wall creating a gap or space just large enough to permit an infant to slip into it. It is not easy to remember to check each night to see if the mattress has slipped just enough away from a wall to pose a risk to an infant slipping between the wall and mattress and suffocating. Likewise be careful with end tables, or lamp tables next to the adult bed. That space could pose a risk to the infant as well. Remove close tables that might create a gap into which an infant could roll and get stuck and suffocate.
Educate yourself and your partner to all the known adverse factors associated with using a crib safely and bedsharing, and if you are unable to remove all adverse factors associated with bedsharing keep your infant close, but on a separate surface. Of course drugs, alcohol, or desensitizing medications should never be taken if sleeping in a bed next to an infant. If you or your partner are excessively tired it is best to have infant sleep along side the bed but not in it.
Not only is the physiology or sensitivity of the mother to the baby, and the baby to the mother completely enhanced if breastfeeding and if routinely bedsharing, i.
Lighter sleep makes it easier for a mother and infant to detect and respond to the presence of the other, making the bed sharing arrangement much safer. This position may be instinctive but it does not happen when a mother bottle feeds her baby. Indeed, bottle fed infants are typically placed much higher up on the bed and near pillows and sometimes on top of pillows, very dangerous that can obscure the infants air flow, and expose infants to potential gaps head board to mattress into within infants could slip.
Also, bottle feeding-bedsharing infants move in directions away from the mother, thus, increasing the risks of some kind of asphyxial event, compared with breastfeeding infants, according to the research by Dr. Please check out her website at the University of Durham. That is why Dr.
Ball and myself agree that bottle fed infants are safer if they sleep alongside their mothers on a different surface but not in the same bed. Never let an infant sleep alone in a room by itself, especially by itself on an adult bed or couch, and always be attentive to the infant, carrying or keeping an infant in your mind as most parents do, anyway ; 8. Why do a disproportionate number of babies die while bedsharing? Because many parents either do not know what minimizes risks in the bedsharing environment, or what is dangerous, or they simply do not take the time to proactively make sure that their bed, and who is in it, is as safe as current research can tell us.
Bedsharing parents should remain knowledgeable of what specifically injures or kills infants in social as well as solitary-crib settings. In other words this representative of First Candle saw no difference between a sober, breastfeeding mother bedsharing and a non breastfeeding, inebriated mother bedsharing.
She implied that the risks incurred in each setting were the same. In sum, overwhelmingly, bedsharing deaths are associated with at least one independent risk factor associated with an infant dying.
These include an infant being placed prone on its stomach and placed in an adult bed without supervision, or no breastfeeding, or other children in the bed, or infants being placed in an adult bed on top of a pillow, or who bedshare even though their mothers smoked during the pregnancy therein compromising potentially the infants ability to arouse to terminate too little oxygen, or to terminate an apnea.
In sum, to understand the likely causes of most sleep-related deaths it is not enough to know simply where or with whom the infant was sleeping; but rather one must know how the infant was sleeping, and in this case, how the bedsharing was being practiced because especially bedsharing is not a simple, or singular behavior. Bedsharing is composed of many different behaviors.
What are some of the common questions that are not asked but which are critical in understanding why some infants die while bedsharing? This is not bedsharing but sometimes the two couch sleeping and bedsharing are used interchangeably. Couch sleeping is always dangerous. Another question sometimes skipped over is: And, of course the question: Do you think it is safe enough?
With certain caveats I do support safe bedsharing. I would likely bedshare with my own baby after taking all the precautions. I think it incumbent and appropriate, however, for parents to ask themselves before they bring their baby to bed with them to consider how they would evaluate as much as might be possible their choice if a tragedy were to occur and their baby died? Would you as parents assume that you must have overlaid their baby, as that will be what coroners and medical officials are likely to suggest and at very least, rather than the infant being said to have died from SIDS, the ideology against any and all forms of bedsharing is so popular now that the local coroner will likely call the death a SUID…sudden unexpected infant death suggesting that suffocation cannot be ruled out.
It is important to consider how much confidence you would have in yourselves, in the precautions you have taken, how much agreement you and your partner share as regards the importance to each of you and your baby of bedsharing and appropriateness of bedsharing for your specific family.
The more you hold and respond and carry your baby, the better. Try not to over use plastic carriers or other hard -surface devices because carrying babies in contact with your body will contribute to the healthy development. Body to body skin-to-skin carrying is excellent. Try to cut down on keeping babies in plastic holding or carrying containers as it is contributing to some babies developing flat heads.
In your publications you have argued that arousals are good for babies.