It’s nice to have company…

I did a bit more poking on the subject of the scientific evidence regarding cosleeping and the slightly raised risk of SIDS, especially in young babies. I found 2 very interesting Powerpoint slideshows online from two other doctors, who looked at the literature, reveiwed the studies better than I could (given that not all studies are available full-text online) and came up with conclusions very similar to mine. The second one, especially, is by a noted British authority on the subject, and contains information not readily available elsewhere.

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when the lectures these slideshows accompanied were given!

The first one is a lecture given by Dr. Judy Straton from the Department of Public Health at the University of Western Australia . She lends somewhat more credence to the supposed qualitative benefits of cosleeping than I do, but her scientific conclusions are as follows:

Straton uses the first few slides to describe the scientific methods used in the various studies and on various definitions, which are extremely valuable in understanding the science behind them. It must have been one hell of a lecture, and I highly recommend studying all 21 slides of it.

The second slideshow (you may have to download this to your own computer’s Powerpoint) is by George Haycock, a professor of pediatric nephrology in Guys Hospital, London, who serves as the scientific advisor of the British Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths. His conclusions:

The slideshow contains two further bits of information that are not readily available elsewhere:

* Additional infromation regarding the analysis of what apperas to be the dataset used here: “A further, so far unpublished, analysis was performed on an expanded data set (1994-2001) in which sofa sleepers were excluded. A significant risk was found for babies of non-smoking mothers aged under 16 weeks, OR 6.2: CI 1.88-20.61 (McGarvey C, personal communication).” This information still doesn’t seem to have been published, though.

* More, detailed information on the study which asserted that cosleeping babies show sleep patterns which indicate stress. I’m still not convinced this is necessarily true of all cosleeping babies, though it may explain the many anecdotes you read about and hear from people who try sleep-training methods:”I thought my baby was high-needs and fussy…it turned out he was just overtired from all the slinging and cosleeping! Once we Ferberized/Weissbluthed/Hoag’ed him, he became the happiest, most laid-back baby you ever saw”.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Advertisements

2 Responses

  1. I’ve been thinking about the assertion that crib sleeping is mainstream parenting, and in theory I agree that it is. Most parents try to get their babies to sleep alone in a crib, but not all babies want to be there. Mine didn’t. Many people I know have children that didn’t want to sleep alone either. I think there are many parents that did bedshare for a certain period of time with their children, though they’re embarrassed to admit it. I know there probably hasn’t been any formal poll on the subject, but at least from anecdotal evidence many, many people do it, but don’t like talking about it.

    That may be a problem, because those babies that might have higher needs may well be the ones that parents bring into their beds at night in an act of desperation. When they do this, they don’t do it with plan in place, and the sleep environment that they’ve provided is highly likely to be unsafe.

    I don’t have a problem with bedsharing, I did it with my own kids. I do have a problem with bedsharing without any safeguards, or a plan for an eventual exit from the practice in place (if desired).

    Though I think it is constructive to offer advice on how to get a reluctant infant to sleep alone and support that sleeping arrangement, I think it’s also constructive to offer advice on how to make bedsharing safer. There are always going to be some parents who will do that, no matter what the experts say.

    To me, it’s kind of like sex ed: you can tell teens not to have sex, but programs that offer no education about birth control are a recipe for teen pregnancy, since there will always be a certain percentage who are going to do it, not matter what.

  2. Homefly:Though I think it is constructive to offer advice on how to get a reluctant infant to sleep alone and support that sleeping arrangement, I think it’s also constructive to offer advice on how to make bedsharing safer. There are always going to be some parents who will do that, no matter what the experts say.

    Absolutely. My problem with the AP/NP movement on this subject is the resistance shown by many of its members to make cosleeping safer. Many (like a commenter named Hugh on another cosleeping-related post) seem to think that if their intentions are good, their children will somehow be immune to SIDS – even if they use duvets in midwinter (who doesn’t?), they’re obese, they smoke, or the baby is a mere 2 weeks old. Many are also convinced that cosleeping prevents SIDS, even though this is outright misinformation. These kind of parents actively reject the idea of cosleepers even as a temporary measure, because it interferes with their “natural” ideal, I suppose.

    The advice is out there (though not presented in its entirety, or sometimes misrepresented, by the likes of Doc Sears). It’s just that many APers don’t want to listen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: