Thursday, November 17, 2011

More Scare Tactics Regarding Co-Sleeping

So about a year ago, it was these terrible PSA billboards to scare mothers out of sleeping with their babies in Milwaukee:

There's a new ad out on billboards in the same area now, and it's done with just about as poor taste as the previous one:

Really, really morbid, and really inappropriate. The first one in particular is just sick... but they've only toned it down slightly with the current ads. The reason babies in certain areas of Milwaukee die while sleeping with parents is not because of the co-sleeping... it is because their parents are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, they smoke, they were sleeping on a couch, or they were co-sleeping while formula-feeding, meaning they'd lost the hormonal level of awareness of their babies' presence while sleeping which breastfeeding gives.

It maddens me that people may see these ads and, not knowing any better, be worried about my baby... "Oh, that Erin who sleeps with her baby, she's taking horrible risks!" I, and all other co-sleeping moms I know, do not have any of these risk factors, and we bedshare intentionally, in an effort to actually improve our babies' chances of survival, as well as for bonding and biological well-being (oh, and because we're lazy... snicker).

This article is well worth the read. It refutes the ad nicely. And, based on the numbers of SIDS deaths in cribs that is quoted in the article, should there be ads depicting cribs in separate bedrooms as gas chambers or something? Certainly there'd be outrage over that!

For info on sleeping with your baby - a biological norm - I recommend these books:

And for a humorous, sarcastic take on the butcher knife ad, see this.


Lisa said...

You are so right! What a morbid and inappropriate ad! It gave me the creeps. Thank you for taking the time to publicly refute it!

God bless,

Karen said...

I read the article you link to and I couldn't help but laugh. We don't co-sleep because anytime I let a baby in my bed for longer than it takes to feed her the bed and I wind up drenched in spit up. I'm simply not a fan so sleeping in a wet bed or changing sheets at 2AM. (I'm lazy, too.) I also can't sleep well when I have a small person moving around next to me.
Frankly, I'm tired of all the rules surrounding how you're supposed to put your baby to sleep. If I followed them my baby would never sleep for any length of time. I let my baby sleep on her belly and side with *gasp* a blanket.

johnston5in5 said...

Love this, thanks for helping to get the word out. Once we started co-sleeping, we couldn't go back. Putting baby in the crib like we did with the first 2 did feel like we were torturing them. Sometimes they cried because we couldn't hear them and the monitor didn't work and who doesn't love holding a sleeping baby which I now get to do all night.

Kris said...

Those ads are astounding! I did not co-sleep with our first baby, mostyl because I JUST DIDN'T KNOW! It's like the secret that no one shares because they are afraid to tell. With out 2nd, I sprained my ankle badly when he was 2 weeks old and I couldn't go up and down the stairs at night by myself. So co-sleeping out of necessity - and a transformational moment!! All I could think was "why did no one tell me?"!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, only be careful not to make it sound like co-sleeping is the most natural and only good way to do things. I was dead set that I would co-sleep, and all I can say is thank God that a family member gave me a bassinet that attaches to the bed. I found co-sleeping miserable, because those breastfeeding hormones you spoke of kicked in, and I did't move all night long because my son was snuggled against me. I didn't sleep well, was irritable... And yet Ifelt guilty about quitting because wasn't this the 'best' way? In the end, all the benefits of co-sleeping, it seems to little ole me, can be achieved with such an attached-crib-type scenario. Laziness? Check. Closeness? Check. Ability to roll over, feed, and return to his "own" bed? Check. And none of the risks that have been found, through scientific studies, to exist with those who co-sleep irresponsibly. So while I don't like the ad campaign, I'd be all for advertising an alternative to co-sleeping irresponsibly, like a free bassinet when you enroll in a drug or alcohol rehab program, haha.

Erin said...

No, not saying co-sleeping is the only good way to do things. I will stand by saying that it's most natural. James McKenna actually differentiates between co-sleeping (which could be any setup where the baby is in close proximity to the mother, such as a bedside bassinette) and bedsharing. All setups with mother and baby close together foster a more natural relationship. And a bassinette would surely be safer for a drunk mother, a formula-feeding mother, or a very obese mother. The only time it'd be truly safer for the baby to not co-sleep (meaning in the same room w/ the parents) is if either of the parents is a smoker.

I should have used the term "bedsharing" instead of "co-sleeping" in this post to be clearer.

mel said...

Oh, grrr,,,,I cant tell you how much safer co sleeping has been for us. Sleeping with my fourth now, and so many times Ive noticed a fever, laboredd breathing, nasty stomach bug messes, etc. and have been so glad to be nearby.

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

Wow, I hadn't seen that first one. That is sick. Are you participating in the cosleeping blog carnival from Monkey Butt Junction?

(And on a side note, TY for the sweet well wishes on Ailia's arrival!)