Sleeping with your baby: Mainstream media gets it wrong

Recently, a journalist with NPR asked her audience if sleeping with your baby is as dangerous as doctors say.  In short, yes, it is very dangerous.

In the article, Michaeleen Doucleff repeatedly trivializes the danger of parents co-sleeping with their baby.  She uses anthropological evidence to reassure parents that sleeping with their infant is safe if parents don’t drink, smoke, or use illicit drugs.   She makes light of this country’s infant mortality rate, which is one of the worst in the developed world.  She points to mothers of other cultures responding with “shock” when learning that American infants do not sleep in their parental bed to support her point of view.  She asserts that parents cannot be truthful about bed-sharing with their pediatricians because they are too judgmental.  She even goes so far as to provide tips for “safe bed-sharing,” which she appears to attribute to the AAP.

However, the AAP has never condoned bed-sharing.  The AAP stands firmly behind the Safe Sleep campaign, which guides parents to put their infant to sleep Alone, on their Back, and in their Crib for every sleep.  Following these ABC’s of safe sleep has helped reduced the nation’s infant mortality rate by preventing many sleep-related deaths.  While the AAP endorses room-sharing with infants to increase bonding and the ease of breastfeeding, they continue to recommend avoiding bed-sharing to prevent accidental asphyxiation.

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