Formula Feeding Implicated in Co-Sleeping Deaths

Fox news isn’t the most reputable source of information, but a recent report on co-sleeping highlights some interesting data. In Milwaukee county, 100 percent of co-sleeping deaths have involved formula fed babies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly opposes co-sleeping with your baby, but many experts believe it’s safe under the right circumstances. The World Health Organization and UNICEF advocate it as the best choice for at least the first six months of baby. Co-sleeping babies have an overall lower risk of death, but critics argue that the risk of death due to suffocation in an adult bed is too high.

I have co-slept with my kids from birth till 3 a.m. last night when I kicked the little one out for being too squirmy. Which is to say, I’ve been gradually weaning them out of my bed. Co-sleeping felt right to me, and while it wasn’t always easy it remained my first choice. I also breastfed both the girls for years, and the two seemed like complementary parenting practices.

Known risk factors for co-sleeping include:

  • using heavy bedding and pillows in a bed with a baby
  • sharing a bed with a baby when you are intoxicated or otherwise under the influence of drugs
  • sharing a bed with a baby when you’re a smoker

Turning your bed into a safe space for a baby takes a little work, but if you have a healthy home and healthy sleep habits, bringing baby to bed is generally a safe practice.

Bloggers responding to this data about formula being a possible factor in co-sleeping deaths point out some additional issues: mainly, that co-sleeping deaths most often occur in households that are low socio-economic status homes and/or unstable to begin with, and with adults who have significant drug or alcohol problems.

Perhaps most importantly, they raise the issue of intentional versus accidental co-sleeping. There’s a vast difference between passing out with your baby in your bed because you’re too drunk or exhausted to put her in a crib, and choosing to sleep with your baby because that’s how you want to parent her.

Photo: Kelly Sue

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