Home > of note > what would dr. sears say?

what would dr. sears say?

October 10, 2005

I wonder how all the attachment parenting folks are going to take this recommendation? I have no problem, per se, with attachment parenting. I wholeheartedly support any philosophy that encourages women to breastfeed as long as possible. I even think babywearing is a great idea, if your lives are flexible enough to accomodate it.

But having an infant sleep in the bed with adults seems inherently dangerous, and I’m glad the AAP has come out and said so in no uncertain terms. The increased risk of SIDS is the AAP’s primary concern in the announcement, but they also mention the danger we all must intutively be aware of: suffocation.

I hope I haven’t offended anyone who belives co-sleeping is the only way to go. I know many families have successfully shared a “Family Bed” without incident and I think they are probably very lucky, both in the bonding and in the continued health and wellbeing of their child(ren).

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  1. October 10, 2005 at 10:21 pm

    My understanding is that the danger from suffocating is largely related to alcohol and drug use, or drowsy-making medicines.

    Nathaniel is in his own crib now, but we slept with him quite a bit when he was little, and there was really no way I didn’t know at every second what he was doing. Your body just lets you know. You sleep more lightly because of it, but the upside is that nursing becomes a heck of a lot easier.

    I am not sure I buy the suffocation danger for parents who are in normal health and who are abnormally heavy sleepers.

  2. October 10, 2005 at 10:25 pm

    Uh, I meant NOT abnormally heavy sleepers.

  3. October 10, 2005 at 10:30 pm

    Thanks for that info, T. Not being a parent, I am only relying on my intuition here.

    But I don’t think suffocation is just restricted to a parent rolling over on a child; there’s also the danger presented by pillows and sheets and even clothing either parent might be wearing.

    That’s the sense I get from AAP, also; their recommendation specifically mentions loose bedding and soft objects.

    Still, I do know that co-sleeping has worked for many families, and I would never second guess parents who have success with it. But it still makes me nervous.

  4. October 10, 2005 at 10:44 pm

    What baffles me is why so many people – yourself included – seem to have such a problem with the parenting choices that other people make. If you look at any sociological history you’ll find that it’s having babies NOT in bed with the mother that is actually the weird new “invention”.

    We have coslept with all three of our children and suffocation really is a complete non-issue. We’re wired to be aware of infants and babies around us. Frankly, we as a race would have died out if babies couldn’t safely cosleep with their parents.

    But, fundamentally, I just don’t understand why you are seemingly so against the Family Bed…

  5. October 10, 2005 at 10:48 pm

    I’m not against the Family Bed because I think that children should be relegated to a crib, far, far away from their loving parents. I’m hesitant to endorse the Family Bed because it seems inherently unsafe to me.

    If you can safely cosleep with your children and have no worries about their safety, good for you. You are experiencing something wonderful and special. I don’t have a problem with your parenting choice; I am simply pointing out that a major medical association has shown that one part of your parenting choice has some grave risks.

  6. October 10, 2005 at 11:01 pm

    I agree 100% with Transmogriflaw about sleeping with an infant. When mine were still wanting to be fed in the middle of the night I did it all the time. Everyone survived.

    However, the whole family bed idea? No. For us, no. I’d have killed my children, but it wouldn’t have been by rolling over on them! Keeping them in their own beds and having a decent night’s sleep was the way to keep me a loving parent. And, I might add, they did just fine.

    Every child, every parent, every family is different.

  7. October 11, 2005 at 1:43 am

    Thanks for your response. Let me clarify that a major medical association hasn’t shown that there ARE grave risks, but that there’s the POTENTIAL, in theory, if you agree with their interpretation of the data (and if the data isn’t tainted in the first place) that there MIGHT BE a risk.

    Further, just a clarification, we don’t have a family bed: too many people. 🙂 We cosleep with our baby and then they go through a process of gradually migrating to their own bedrooms. I’ve written about it a couple of times on our attachment parenting weblog, if people are interested: http://www.APparenting.com/

  8. Jean
    October 11, 2005 at 7:45 am

    I felt the same way about cosleeping until I had a baby. It just seemed really dangerous to me. Then one night my baby was sick, and I wanted him as close as he could be. (He normally slept in his crib, which was about 20 feet away.) We’ve now been cosleeping for 5 months. We plan to cosleep with the next baby. I’ll probably get a cosleeper for when it’s tiny.

  9. October 11, 2005 at 7:46 am

    Dave, that’s what a risk is, the potential for injury.

    I appreciate your sharing, but I want to point out that you began by not sharing but by attacking ME for not respecting your parenting choice—which was not the case. I simply posted an article and wondered how it would percolate down into the attachment parenting world. Honestly, this is the biggest thing about proponents of attachment parenting that turns me off—the rush to judge someone who questions the philosophy.

  10. Dave Taylor
    October 11, 2005 at 10:12 am

    Actually. I’m sorry you believe I was “attacking” you. I interpreted your article title and the tone of your piece as being judgmental in the first place, though, so it might be that we’re both in this dance. 🙂

    Regardless, I encourage you not to throw our the proverbial baby will the bathwater! Us AP folk are passionate precisely because we care so much about the welfare and experiences of children, both our own and the rest of the world. Also, remember that like any other “ideology” there’s quite a range of approaches to attachment parenting too.

  11. October 11, 2005 at 9:12 pm

    I do understand why you feel the way you do about attachment parenting. I have a blog entry I should post about it.

    I practice a lot of the tenets of attachment parenting. We slept with Nathaniel when he was young (best way to go for us, we loved it). Cry it out is not in our vocabulary. We made his baby food, at least a lot of it, and supplemented with organic baby food when we didn’t make our own. I still nurse, and probably will for at least another six months and probably another year.

    But my experience with people who call themselves attachment parents has been pretty negative, and I would never call myself AP for that reason. Just one example: I was on an email list of AP parents and dropped off after countless comments on how working parents were “abandoning” their children – even when there was financial need. I can’t imagine what they’d think of me, a law student, even though I’ve scheduled my life so I’m around Nathaniel as frequently as possible, and so is my husband. I was afraid to post anything and decided that was an absurd feeling to have about a putatative support group.

    I have a great kid, who is happy, flourishing, and thriving. My husband and I are happy. So why should I surround myself with people who are completely preoccupied with what I do as a parent rather than what they themselves do as parents? I couldn’t handle the judgmentalism.

  12. October 11, 2005 at 10:06 pm

    Thanks for posting that, T. For myself, I see the attraction of AP; but I also know my personality too well to think I could ever completely practice it. I am not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom, for instance. Neither was my mom, and instead of growing up disturbed because of it, I grew up with a phenomenal role model. So, like you, I can see adopting some AP practices, but only those that work for me, my husband, and our child(ren).

    So personally, I would not be an “attachment parent.” But that isn’t why I have problems with it.

    What I have problems with is any parenting philosophy that takes an all-or-nothing approach. For instance, a friend of mine whose milk did not come and so was unable to breastfeed was harangued by STRANGERS for not breastfeeding her child; something which she already felt horrible about. And sadly, this isn’t an isolated anecdote.

    My original post was, at least in part, tapping into this feeling I have; that the AP folks will react with extreme negativism to the AAP’s recommendations (see Dave’s post above about how the study is a THEORY, and the data might be “tainted”). And that’s unfortunate.

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