Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous... as a knife?!?! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 11-15-2011, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#2 of 21 Old 11-17-2011, 10:37 AM
 
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From the article,

"The second-leading cause of infant mortality in Milwaukee is SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, which often results from  ”unsafe sleep,” according to the health department’s website. A form of “unsafe sleep” is bed-sharing with parents."

 

This is crap. I would like to know the exact number of SIDS deaths that resulted from cosleeping, compared to the deaths that occurred outside the family bed. This would be very telling, wouldn't it?

 

How about that picture with the baby and the knife. Talk about fear mongering to the nth degree! Now, if I were to photoshop a picture of an infant with vaccine needles all over the bed......you get the picture. It's ok if they  fear monger, but cosleeping is not as dangerous as adverse vaccine reactions, now is it? How many deaths have been caused by vaccine reactions, versus cosleeping? But you'll never see a public ad about that.

 

While we're at it, why not look deeper into SIDS. Sure, cosleeping could be dangerous at times. So could vaccine reactions, inferior formula, toxins from the mattress/environment, allergies, medications the baby is taking, etc. What's up with attacking cosleeping? It seems like there is another agenda here. What could it be?

 

 Babies all over Milwaukee will be missing the warmth of their mother's arms, thanks to this ad.  Inciting terror in the minds of many---point goes to the government. Nice.


 
 
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#3 of 21 Old 11-17-2011, 01:42 PM
 
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yeah, this is infuriating. IMO, it's insulting to mothers everywhere.

 

The funny thing is, correct me if I'm wrong, that SIDS is called SIDS because it's a sudden death due to unknown causes. Death from a parent rolling over onto a child would be suffocation.

 

Insinuating that a parent equates to a butchers knife is just wrong. 

 

I agree, Beckybird, I think cosleeping is the least of our worries, and there must be an agenda. Put the focus on the attachment parents - not the chemicals and vaccines. Who's behind the campaign and why?

 

 

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#4 of 21 Old 11-18-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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I just read some of the article's comments, and they gave me a ray of hope. There are so many people who also support cosleeping, and who are equally appalled by the article. If the article bothers you, try reading the comments. It will make you feel better smile.gif


 
 
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#5 of 21 Old 11-21-2011, 08:11 PM
 
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I'm confused about the SIDS reference too.

 

I wanted to share this response that I got in an email from Attachment Parenting, International today. It's their public response to the Milwaukee ad campaign. I hope it's OK if I post it in it's entirety here.

 

API’s response to the Milwaukee Anti-Bedsharing Campaign and the report aired today on NBC’s the Today Show and on ABC news: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2011/11/milwaukee-hopes-babies-and-butcher-knives-wake-parents-up-to-dangers-of-co-sleeping/ 

 
Our hearts are broken at the loss of precious lives in Wisconsin. API is moved by and shares this passion to definitively halt similar ongoing sleep-related tragedies. We also agree and support information that would discourage bedsharing for those who are not healthy/safe candidates. Still, to say that no parent should ever have the baby in bed is as detrimental as saying that all babies should be in bed with their parents. While the Milwaukee anti-bedsharing campaign has generated a lot of controversy and interest, we persist in calling for facts that accurately describe the reality and continue to insist that when safe alternatives are dismissed, greater tragedy may result.

API is concerned that parents will be afraid to talk about bedsharing; professionals are and will be afraid to talk about it. Nonetheless, a mother’s basic need for feeding and responding to her infant’s needs will continue to be met. Parents and professionals must be fully informed with accessible information and free to ask questions and dialogue about safe strategies. We seek to avoid situations where efforts to comply with rules result in more unsafe situations.

Parents’ reasons for bedsharing are varied; in a popular poll more than 45% of American parents report that they have had their infant sleep with them at some point. A provocative ad and the gift of a playpen are solutions that are highly unlikely to affect parental decisions that deny strong biological, intellectual, and empathic responses to their infants. Those of us who raise our children in the culture of breastfeeding and safe bedsharing we cannot imagine this basic human instinct as taboo. It is a basic, human biological right for a baby and a healthy mother to be in close proximity.

As the campaign has already become news, we hope the momentum of this controversy will have the positive benefit of a meaningful discussion and response to much needed information, support, and resources.

What is urgently needed:

  • Education about safe sleep environments;
  • Better and clear data, analysis, and transparency in information;
  • Communication and conversation for viable solutions based on good data as well as parent and infant behavior; and
  • Broad participation, not action based on decisions of a few.
  •  

Safe Sleep Environment

Without a doubt, an unsafe sleep environment is not appropriate for an infant. API educational material guidelines clearly state that mothers who are bedsharing are advised to breastfeed, not smoke or take other drugs or alcohol (or sleep with a partner who does these things), or be obese. Creating a safe sleep environment includes firm mattresses, the space free of any potential entrapment. A firm futon or mattress on the floor, or a side-car sleeper are safe sleeping arrangements that breastfeeding mothers have used for centuries. 

The current argument against educating about creating a safe sleep environment is that parents cannot learn; a paternalistic approach that ignores a variety of motivations for engaging in bedsharing.  We believe in and support parents. We encourage a response to safe sleep that educates and empowers parents.

Looking at Data

In the 2010 City of Milwaukee Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) Report, bedsharing is identified as a risk factor in the same category as true causes of death by overlay and suffocation. If these bedsharing situations followed safe guidelines, should not the infant deaths be logically attributed to SIDS, just as they would if the infant were in a crib?

Page 17 shows that of 90 SIDS, overlay, asphyxiation deaths, 85 involved multiple risk factors.  Bedsharing, indicated as a risk factor and being prevalent in 70% of the 90 deaths, was not the only identifiable risk factor. Five deaths for which there was only one risk factor are indicative of relatively “clear,” isolated causes of death. Even if we assume that bedsharing were the only risk factor in these five deaths, as this report does not identify accompanying risk factors such as obesity, other people in the bed, siblings in the bed, or bed structure. No one can be sure that these five deaths would have occurred in “safe” bedsharing conditions based on the API Safe Infant Sleep guidelines.

Assume we accepted that bedsharing was the single risk factor in the five deaths attributable to a single risk factor. The report of 18% (90) of all Milwaukee infant deaths over three years being a result of SIDS, overlay, asphyxiation which is generally considered “bedsharing” risk, we would be looking at a 0.05% section of the pie on page 13 to depict 100% of the deaths while bedsharing. Technically, this would be SIDS-bedsharing, a category that falls to the last slot on the report pie chart, a cause of death in last place overall, not second. These factors matter as public health strategies are partially built upon this kind of information. 

API agrees with an objective to strive for no infant or child deaths, certainly preventable ones. Zero tolerance is noble and we should aim for it, but when we break it all down, it must be analyzed on par with other sleep conditions and environments, knowing there is an uncontrolled element to SIDS that eludes all.  When we look clear-eyed at the data, bedsharing may not be the boogeyman after all. In missing critical data and clear analysis, we are less able to achieve our common goals of keeping children alive, safe and thriving within their families.  

More risk factors must be identified. Cause of death and risk factors need to be isolated for full information. Bedsharing does not equate to overlaying and it does not equate to SIDS. 

Communicating with Parents

The frightening image used in the Milwaukee campaign against bedsharing perfectly illustrates a fear-based campaign, a campaign that does not help parents know what to do, just what not to do. In this case what not to do may be interpreted widely). It is a simple and shocking picture and suitably controversial to grab attention. Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, who has conducted research on the harm of these kinds of anti-bedsharing campaigns, reports that they potentially create dangerous situations with a message that terrifies rather than educates parents. She found even though mothers hear the message to not bedshare, they misinterpret what they hear:

The findings indicate that almost 60% of mothers bedshare and that this occurs throughout the first year. These findings also indicate that 25% of mothers are falling asleep with their infants in dangerous sleep locations, such as chairs, sofas or recliners. Journal of Clinical Lactation Vol. 1, Fall 2010

Most of the mothers in Dr. Kendall-Tackett’s survey were breastfeeding mothers, and they found that at some point in the night, the mothers feel asleep with their babies. Along with current safe sleep strategies she strongly recommends:

Safe–sleep campaigns should include information on safe bedsharing. In absence of this information, parents are likely to continue bedsharing, but may do so in unsafe ways....

Consequences and Alternatives

The Milwaukee campaign uses a simplistic approach that ignores human nature and variation and sets parents up for overwhelming challenges in safely meeting their baby’s needs in the middle of the night. Parents feel forced to go against their instincts, turning to practices also know to harm infants. Confining their infant to the crib, letting their baby “cry it out,” and engaging in sleep training methods create stress in the baby. Even worse, parents become confused, irritated and so exhausted ultimately desensitizing the parent to the child’s need for loving responsiveness. The baby is deprived of emotional and physical support and at risk for harm. The history of parenting has shown that sometimes we move to a so-called strategy, only to find that we have created the potential for something worse, perhaps in this case, the potential for more SIDS deaths. We need to move forward with certain knowledge, being very careful before issuing blanket edicts with unknown outcomes that go against a natural, instinctual, and beneficial human behavior practiced for thousands of years. 

API understands the great disparity in bedsharing among Milwaukee communities and yes, there are cases were families should not be bedsharing. In every case, however, parents can be educated and empowered in their love for their children, to make their own decisions. Milwaukee and other health departments can better spend their dollars to reduce infant deaths on good prenatal care, breastfeeding promotion, nutrition counseling and good parenting education instead of frightening messages that only confuse parents. Eliminating smoking, breastfeeding, roomsharing are all known practices that significantly decrease the chances of SIDS.

Sensible Response

The encouraging news is that so many of the comments coming from parents in blogs, Facebook, and on the ABC website show that they are seeing through this message and questioning its validity. We hope those involved with the campaign messaging will take this feedback to heart.

We encourage all parents to write to their local TV stations, newspapers, facebook pages, and other media to question these campaigns and advocate for safe, complete messages based on sound research. Come to this task full of compassion for the campaign directors, as they too have the infant’s best interests at heart. As compassionate parents ourselves, we have the tools to engage effectively. We continue patiently and persistently on our course of best action as we do in our daily parenting.

For its part, API is actively advocating for complete data collection on infant mortality rates, having a standard for death certificate questionnaires that ask the right questions, and delineate types of deaths, be they SIDS, suffocations, overlay, complications of prematurity, etc. The results should clearly indicate how this information compares to infant deaths that continue to take place in cribs.

Your continued support is vital to this effort. The factors involved in this bedsharing debate are greater than a well-intentioned public health effort. Strong financial interests, conflicts of interest, and lack of data transparency and clarity must not be a part of the processes that effect public health decisions, especially to the prospect of greater harm. 

Only a grassroots, empowered public will make a difference in saving lives, empowering parents to take back their rights to raise their children in a loving, connected and healthy environment.

 



Here are some resources API cites:
 

James McKenna and the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab

 

Dr. Bill Sears' response to the Milwaukee campaign.

 

API's position paper on Infant Sleep Safety

 

 

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#6 of 21 Old 11-24-2011, 09:35 PM
 
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Here's my beef with the ad campaign.  There's no denying that Milwaukee has a severe infant mortality problem.  But it doesn't exist in a bed-sharing vacuum.  Milwaukee has a severe poverty problem, and at least nationwide, much of that is race-related, i.e. with African-Americans being unjustly and disproportionately more impoverished per capita.  (Milwaukee, in particular, has its own little issues with this.....)Finally, it is a tragic fact that African-American babies are also more likely to die. 

 

Do Wisconsin public health officials want to save babies and stop infant mortality?  Because while sleep-sharing may be an easy target, it's the wrong target.  They're going to have to grapple with much tougher underlying issues like the economic, racial, and health care disparities that contribute to infant mortality...issues that they are clearly unwilling to face.     


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#7 of 21 Old 11-25-2011, 06:41 AM
 
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I'm kind of horrified that so many people are opposed to the idea of going after the low-hanging fruit in this situation.

 

Yes, why don't we let babies continue to die preventable co-sleeping deaths while Milwaukee figures out that little race/poverty/discrimination issue that just been plaguing our nation as a whole for the past 400 years or so.    Makes no sense.


I support homebirth that meets the qualifications set forth in the AAP's 2013 policy on homebirth.

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#8 of 21 Old 11-25-2011, 09:02 AM
 
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Peggy, thank you for the article!


 
 
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#9 of 21 Old 11-26-2011, 01:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Buzzbuzz View Post

I'm kind of horrified that so many people are opposed to the idea of going after the low-hanging fruit in this situation.

 

Yes, why don't we let babies continue to die preventable co-sleeping deaths while Milwaukee figures out that little race/poverty/discrimination issue that just been plaguing our nation as a whole for the past 400 years or so.    Makes no sense.


I could not agree with you more.  Mdc mamas need to realize there are not going to be any quick solutions to the factors that make bed sharing dangerous in many homes in Milwaukee.

 

 

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Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post


 


I could not agree with you more.  Mdc mamas need to realize there are not going to be any quick solutions to the factors that make bed sharing dangerous in many homes in Milwaukee.

 

 



what are the factors that make bed sharing dangerous in many homes in Milwaukee? can someone spell them out as information?

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#11 of 21 Old 11-27-2011, 05:46 PM
 
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Oh thank you for posting and thank you Peggy, i couldnt believe this!! i facebooked posted it and got this , i never responded, a classmate so not worth a heated discussion, but Im so glad there is a formal complaint happening, I felt compelled myself even though Im so far away, oh man, why is this the world

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The poster images are meant to shock: a diapered, cherubic baby sleeping on his stomach in an adult bed, a butcher knife next to him. In another, a...
Like ·  ·  · Thursday at 8:08pm
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    • (ME) lol oh man, dont get me started, cosleeping will not harm your child, your ignorance and selfishness will, that and the canned cow's product you choose over breastfeeding
      Thursday at 8:11pm · Like

    •  (FRIEND) What a load of bull(poopy). The baby releases pheremones (hormones you breathe in) that reduce parent's movements while sleeping so we can do it like mother nature intended. Man did I wake up stiff every morning.
      Thursday at 8:45pm · Like ·  1

    •  (FRIEND) 
      Woah. For one, it has been proven that co sleeping with a newborn CAN raise risks for babies dying of SIDS. There is no way to argue that. But it isnt the ONLY risk. You're right (canadianhippie), I dont get it when people CHOOSE to formula feed either. But I also dont get parents who smoke, who leave thier children with some other caregiver several times per week so they can go out, parents who dont put mittens or hats on thier kids when its cold, parents who dont disclipline at all, parents who over discipline... you get it. I dont understand it, and dont like it, because it isnt how I would do it.
      I personally couldnt, and wouldnt ever, co sleep. Baby slept in a bassinette beside my bed for several months, and my subsequent babies will too. I need my sleep, and I need to feel that my tiny newborn is not being potentially suffocated. So take this ad for what it was supposed to be - a shock for parents who co-sleep incorrectly, without knowledge and end up with dead infants. :(
      Thursday at 10:33pm · Like ·  1

 


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what are the factors that make bed sharing dangerous in many homes in Milwaukee? can someone spell them out as information?



 

There is another thread on here that details it pretty well. 

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There is another thread on here that details it pretty well. 



do you know if the thread is in this same forum? or where i can find it?

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Quote:
 The baby releases pheremones (hormones you breathe in) that reduce parent's movements while sleeping so we can do it like mother nature intended. Man did I wake up stiff every morning.

CanadianHippie, do you know any articles that elaborate on this fact?  


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I dont im sorry, it came from another like minded mom I nannyed for, shes a social worker in a hospital, hmm...i feel i remembered reading something like that in dr. sears attachment parenting book possibly? sorry!


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzzbuzz View Post

I'm kind of horrified that so many people are opposed to the idea of going after the low-hanging fruit in this situation.

 

Yes, why don't we let babies continue to die preventable co-sleeping deaths while Milwaukee figures out that little race/poverty/discrimination issue that just been plaguing our nation as a whole for the past 400 years or so.    Makes no sense.



I guess I'm not seeing how poverty existing for 400+ years is a reason to dismiss it as a real and urgent concern...

 

But I will work with you on one thing.  If those signs undergo some revision (e.g. "Sleeping with your baby while under the influence could be just as dangerous," "Sleeping with your baby on a waterbed or soft surface could be just as dangerous"), I'd be willing to support the effort.  There should be information about a website on how to sleep-share safely.

 

This current program reminds me of those abstinence-only sex ed programs for teens.  Should we scare teens with a never-ever-ever-do-it message?  Or should we tell them that IF they choose to proceed, there are ways to do it safely?  Surely if a doctor or public health nurse can take the time to explain how a condom goes on and how to track birth control pills, they can spell out some basic precautions for parents who choose to sleep-share.  The sheer hysteria of the Wisconsin campaign is what chips away at its credibility. And the equivocation between SIDS and suffocation is downright disingenuous.  

 

(Voluntarily edited for snark removal purposes redface.gif)

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#17 of 21 Old 11-30-2011, 09:37 AM
 
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Surely if a doctor or public health nurse can take the time to explain how a condom goes on and how to track birth control pills, they can spell out some basic precautions for parents who choose to sleep-share.  The sheer hysteria of the Wisconsin campaign is what chips away at its credibility. And the equivocation between SIDS and suffocation is downright disingenuous.  

 



Problem being that one of the reasons they have these ads, is because the severely disadvantaged don't SEE a Dr.! They don't have health insurance, many don't qualify for medicaid, and those who do can't always get on medicaid, and can't always see a Dr. for other reasons.

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do you know if the thread is in this same forum? or where i can find it?



family bed and night time parenting.

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#19 of 21 Old 11-30-2011, 05:21 PM
 
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I think when people are speaking about the situation in Milwaukee it's about the poverty and the poverty being disproportionately among the African American community. The health department has a problem of infant mortality especially among the Latino and AA community. But, because they are the health department they have to make a general message, but it doesn't really address the underlying cause of the problem, which is, of course, the poverty. I wonder if they offered free cribs to families if that would be as effective as what they're trying to do. People who live in extreme poverty may not be able to afford a bed, much less a crib. 

 

The information about the baby and mother being in tune during sleep through smell and other senses is from the research done by James McKenna of Notre Dame as part of what he observed in the Mother Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab. It would blow your mind to see the videos of moms and babies sleeping together. They are continually in sycn in their movements during sleep. Check out the interview with James McKenna on the homepage of the Lab.

 

The research was with breastfeeding moms and babies and it was found that the sensory dance of mom and baby is disrupted if mom smokes. Other than that, the research supports the safety of co-sleeping and most families do it. 

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#20 of 21 Old 12-01-2011, 01:14 PM
 
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I agree about the lack of access to medical care. 

 

Yet to follow my analogy and this entire line of reasoning, the severely disadvantaged should be told to abstain completely from sexual relations.  After all, they never get to the doctor.  So they can't get in for birth control, STD testing, prevention and family planning discussions, or even prenatal care.  greensad.gif  Besides, just as the 100% foolproof way to avoid crushing a baby in her sleep is not to sleep-share, the 100% foolproof way to avoid pregnancy and STDs is abstinence.

 

But just as couples (many of whom are married) will have sex, they will get tired and overwhelmed (or, as Peggy O'Mara stated, to poor to afford a crib), and bring the baby into bed with them.  Or maybe they will just favor that approach ot night-time parenting.  A more realistic approach would be--in both cases!--to convey in whatever way possible (including billboards, WIC visits, etc), accurate and factual information as to how to exercise these choices safely (or not at all, if they're not good candidates for sleep-sharing).  When I think of it more deeply, the abstinence-only message talks down to people, as if they can handle only "black-and-white" and "yes-or-no" instead of exceptions and gray areas. 

 

It goes without saying that your post highlights the urgent need for health care access for impoverished families.  There are a few of such places in Milwaukee, but I'm not sure whether they're well used by the people who need them.  But I'm getting into another can of worms, aren't I? 

 



 

Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

Problem being that one of the reasons they have these ads, is because the severely disadvantaged don't SEE a Dr.! They don't have health insurance, many don't qualify for medicaid, and those who do can't always get on medicaid, and can't always see a Dr. for other reasons.



 


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I agree about the lack of access to medical care. 

 

Yet to follow my analogy and this entire line of reasoning, the severely disadvantaged should be told to abstain completely from sexual relations.  After all, they never get to the doctor.  So they can't get in for birth control, STD testing, prevention and family planning discussions, or even prenatal care.  greensad.gif  Besides, just as the 100% foolproof way to avoid crushing a baby in her sleep is not to sleep-share, the 100% foolproof way to avoid pregnancy and STDs is abstinence.

 

But just as couples (many of whom are married) will have sex, they will get tired and overwhelmed (or, as Peggy O'Mara stated, to poor to afford a crib), and bring the baby into bed with them.  Or maybe they will just favor that approach ot night-time parenting.  A more realistic approach would be--in both cases!--to convey in whatever way possible (including billboards, WIC visits, etc), accurate and factual information as to how to exercise these choices safely (or not at all, if they're not good candidates for sleep-sharing).  When I think of it more deeply, the abstinence-only message talks down to people, as if they can handle only "black-and-white" and "yes-or-no" instead of exceptions and gray areas. 

 

It goes without saying that your post highlights the urgent need for health care access for impoverished families.  There are a few of such places in Milwaukee, but I'm not sure whether they're well used by the people who need them.  But I'm getting into another can of worms, aren't I? 

 

 



And thats fine, but billboards (generally seen as one goes by in a car or bus - so you have only a few seconds to read them) need to be short, simple, to the point.  A billboard that says, Co-Sleeping is GREAT! BUT - its unsafe when: baby is not with mama, mama or papa are intoxicated/taking prescriptions meds, any surface not an actual bed, too soft a surface, there are too many suffocation hazards such as comforters, mom is not breastfeeding...blah blah blah....no one will read each of those things, and will likely ONLY see the 1st part - the cosleeping is great part. Thats not the message that needs to be conveyed - the message that needs to be conveyed is that baby needs to be in a SAFE environment to sleep. A crib or pack n play IS a safe environment.

 

I understand why you dislike this particular billboard. However, your arguments don't work so well in the world that these are being displayed in.

 

As for the very limited selection of free clinics you linked to, they are probably overflowing and don't have time to see all the patients they need to. If you look closely you'll see these 2 quotes in particular:

 

 

Quote:
Doors open between 7:30-8 a.m. and patients are seen on a first come, first serve basis. No appointments are taken and the number of patients seen can vary between 15 and 25 depending on the number of volunteers available.

 

Needless to say, thats not very many people.  I'm sure many are turned away every week. And with a small baby long wait times are daunting and difficult.

 

 

Quote:
Arrive before 8 a.m. Monday through Thursday to qualify for the same-day appointment lottery.

 

If they have a need for an "appointment lottery" they don't have the ability to see the number of patients that need to be seen. Clearly there is a need for these health care facilities, and clearly they do not have the capacity to do all that needs to be done. Take 15minutes to describe in detail how co-sleeping can be made safer to each patient with a small child would make them unable to see the number of patients they are currently able to see. Telling them to put the baby in a crib or pack n play in the same room as the adults in the house - takes much less time AND gives a safe alternative to falling asleep on the couch with the baby.

 

ETA - WIC offices are also generally very busy and full to overflowing each day. To make an appointment longer would mean serving fewer people. These people need services, to make these offices LESS capable to providing those services is not realistic.

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