Friday's installment, which I think was the last one, touched on cosleeping, and how a common thing heard from mothers is that they need to be reassured by hearing their babies breathe.
I took this opportunity to bring to their attention the misconceptions about bedsharing and its benefits especially for breastfeeding. I know morning edition & all things considered often read reader's comments on the air, hopefully WPR does too occasionally, and if enough of us write or at least one of us writes something adequately compelling, they'll choose it as one to read. If nothing else, they pass out the letters to all the staff so at least those folks will hear about it.
Here's my letter:
The University of Notre Dame Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab are finding that safe mother-infant bedsharing's benefits can outweigh its risks. Among other things, bedsharing results in more breastfeeding and more sleep, two things that are quite clearly lacking.
Shamane Mills' series on infant mortality (was interesting and appreciated, but its)'s mention of the dangers of "cosleeping" deserved further study and more detailed reporting.
Although U.S. Public Health policies oversimplify the matter by recommending never to engage in it, science is proving what mothers have always felt-- babies belong with their mothers. While its true that drugs of various sorts and inappropriate bedding can be a hazard to infants, experts like Dr. James McKenna of
In fact, some studies have shown that the presence of mother alongside infant during sleep actually helps to regulate the infant's breathing thereby REDUCING the risk of SIDS. If one finds that surprising, one need only consider the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics now encourages the use of pacifiers when putting a baby to sleep for THEIR ability to reduce SIDS. One can't help but wonder how an infant's reliance on a hunk of silicone can be better than relying on her or his mother.