Sleep Safety Propaganda

When I signed up for a baby registry at Babies R Us, I got a little pamphlet called “Keeping Baby Safe”, and one of the sections was, “Safe Sleep for Babies.” I plan to share a bed with my child, so I wasn’t too pleased to see these instructions:

  • Babies should never sleep on … regular beds.
  • Babies should never share a bed with a sibling or parents.

I don’t even know what to think of this. Side-by-side is the natural place for parent and child. Sleeping together has all kinds of powerful benefits, perhaps the most important being easy nighttime feeding that interrupts the parents’ sleep the least.

There have been some co-sleeping deaths in the news in the last couple of years, so I would understand if people felt they had to put together great big bulleted lists of how to sleep with your baby safely. It makes no sense to me to just say, “Don’t do it,” and leave it at that.

I mean, it’s not like crib sleeping is “safe”. This same brochure lists 11 bulleted items of how to safely put your child in a crib. Couldn’t they do the same for sleeping with a parent?

Sometimes I just think these things get criticized just because they’re too hippie-dippy, lovey-dovey for today’s multi-tasking, teched out people. On other days, I’m sure it’s all about money. You know what doesn’t happen if I share sleep with my baby? I don’t buy a gazillion things to facilitate my child sleeping in another room: crib, bedding, monitor, etc. Every parent replacement item you buy inevitably leads to more items to buy.

I guess I shouldn’t expect anything anymore nuanced from Babies R Us.

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