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* Additional infromation regarding the analysis of what apperas to be the dataset used here: “A further, so far unpublished, analysis was performed on an expanded data set (1994-2001) in which sofa sleepers were excluded.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”.
Filed under: Infant sleep |