The AAP may not approve.
This month’s Pediatrics contains a study which examined how infant sleep is depicted in magazines geared towards women of childbearing age (unfortunately, Mothering was not one of them). 391 pictures from ads and articles were considered, showing either a baby sleeping, an environment meant for infant sleep (e.g., a crib, baby hammock, or cosleeper), or both. Of special note:
* The researchers found that over a third (36%) of the sleeping infants that were not being held were pictured sleeping in the side or prone position.
* 14.8% (18 out of 122 pictures of sleeping babies) of the pictures showed the baby sleeping with another person; of those 18 pictures, 3 were sleeping with another infant/child, 4 were with another sleeping adult, and 11 were sleeping next to another awake person.
* Only 36% of the sleeping environments pictured (either with or without an infant pictured) met the AAP’s standard of a safe infant sleep environment.
I can’t say I’ve researched this quite as deeply, but I have done several Google Image searches for the terms “bedsharing” and “cosleeping” over the years, and it seems that while unsafe sleeping pictures still abound, images depicting safe sleep (in a cosleeper or with no soft bedding around the baby’s face) are increasing. This isn’t necessarily the case with books promoting cosleeping, I’m afraid. For example, while the old cover on Deborah Jackson’s book, Three in a Bed, wasn’t exactly the epitome of safe cosleeping:
The new cover is even worse, showing a prone-sleeping baby:
Tine Thevenin’s The Family Bed is old, so we might cut it a bit of slack for the baby being propped up on the parents’ pillows:
It’s hard to tell, but it looks like the baby in Dr. Sears’ Nighttime Parenting (published 1999, well after ‘Back to Sleep’ started) is also lying prone and the picture is turned sideways:
However, his Baby Sleep Book shows an infant (finally!) sleeping in the correct position, with his or her head clear of potential suffocation hazards:
Filed under: Infant sleep |