All babies are safest room sharing – this means in the same room, near the mother, at approximately the same level. Even Maria Montessori over 100 years ago stated this and it’s NEVER proved to be untrue.
When babies are near their mothers, multiple things happen:
- Baby mimics parents’ breathing rhythm, helping prevent sleep apnea.
- Mothers are much more in tune with the infant and even wake up at silent distress (as in, even the sleeping mom wakes up if the baby stops breathing AS LONG AS the baby is in the room).
Now, when it comes to cribs, we all know that the slats need to be narrow, the sheet needs to be tight, and you can have absolutely no blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, etc.
In THIS country, when an infant dies in a crib, it is divided into two categories:
- A baby in a safe crib, as described above.
- A baby in an unsafe crib, as in one that has any or all of the things mentioned above or more.
Now, co-sleeping also has rules, just like cribs. BOTH parents need to be aware of the infant’s prescense, co-sleeping needs to be consistant and constant, not “occasional” or “out of exhaustion”, neither parent should smoke nor drink, or be obese, or on mind-altering medications, sheets need to be tight and the mattress firmer, the baby’s head should not be on pillows and the blanket cannot go over the baby’s face, etc.
When babies die from a co-sleeping death in this country, this statistic includes:
- A mother safely sleeping with her infant and following all of the rules.
- A drunk father passing out on the couch.
- A woman falling asleep and smothering her infant on an airplane.
- A frustrated parent bringing a baby into a waterbed in the middle of the night for the first time without the other parents’ knowledge.
- The family dog laying on the baby’s face in the family bed.
Do you see the problem here? For co-sleeping, tons of things are unfairly tacked into one category that are completely unrelated. For crib sleeping, they break it down into multiple categories even though there are very few changing factors.
The things lumped in with co-sleeping in this country give very false statistics. If a baby died in a crib that had broken slats, a body pillow instead of a mattress, a whole slew of stuffed animals and the family dog in it, would you consider it the same as an infant dying in an empty, new crib with tight sheets? I wouldn’t either… yet the same thing AND WORSE is done to co-sleeping statistics in this country.
Consider that in almost all other countries, SIDS is referred to as “crib death” or “cot death.” It’s almost never seen in properly co-sleeping families.
Now, I know what the AAP recommends. They do specify you need a safe crib, but rather than to co-sleep you need a safe bed, they approve of one and demonize the other. They also say that pacifiers don’t cause nipple confusion (without proof, despite many things saying they do) and that they prevent SIDS (when they’re actually replacing needed nipple stimulation for production in early infancy). Thing is, all of these things are DAMAGING to breastfeeding relationships – which works out well when they receive one million dollars annually as a “donation” from Nestle. I’d start making my guidelines benefit my largest donor too, wouldn’t you?
So, now we look at a chart that shows the rate of breastfeeding and co-sleeping and SIDS:
That’s rather undeniable.
But now I’ll present another argument which could be easily construed as formula-fed babies should room-share in a crib or co-sleeper, and breastfed babies should be in the family bed. Or it can be taken as formula fed babies are just more likely to die period and the sleeping arrangement is irrelevant:
(Watch the WHOLE video to understand what I’m talking about.)
But regardless, the facts everywhere BUT with our AAP stand: Room sharing is always, ALWAYS safest for the baby, co-sleeping promotes breastfeeding, and in turn helps prevent death. So, if you breastfeed, co-sleeping can help make your baby even safer. If you don’t, it’s still best to keep your baby nearby.