Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cosleeping Smear Campaign

I just found out about this ad campaign that will be starting soon in Milwaukee.  I am absolutely sickened by this and I am going to try to find out what I can do to get it stopped!!  Ads of sleeping babies with KNIVES next to them saying sleeping next to a parent is just as dangerous! 

Here's a link to the article in our local paper.  You can see the ads there. 

I am absolutely dumbstruck by how uninformed people can be!  One of the things that strikes me about this is it says infant deaths was 5.9 per 1000 in whites and 14.1 for blacks.  Obviously this has something to do with the inner city and poverty.  Another article I read, which I have to search for, said something about how people aren't cosleeping for any baby benefits, but because they don't have a crib for their baby.  They are sleeping on the couch or in a recliner because they don't have a bed.  Perhaps we should figure out a way to get cribs to low income families instead?

It makes me so mad to see these ads.  Instead of scaring the shit out people who might not know what to do, let's educate them, shall we?  There are reputable places to go to find out more about safe cosleeping and bedsharing, like La Leche League,  or Dr. Sears.  And they all have similar guidelines, why not make an ad showing correct cosleeping techniques instead of a picture of a baby with a meat cleaver???

This just brings up so many emotions because being a mother is so hard.  They don't come with instructions, you get told so many different things on what's right or what works.  Then you have people intent on telling you every scary story of anything bad that ever happened to anyone they've ever known.  It's nerve wracking to be a new parent.  One thing I wish I would've known when having Ingrid is to follow my own instinct.  To follow Ingrid's wishes and needs.  But instead I was told to not hold her or she'd be clingy.  To get her on a schedule so she would be easier to deal with.  To make her sleep on her own, at certain times.

I tried those things and felt stressed out because they didn't work for me.  So I held her.  I fed her when she wanted to eat.  I had her in our room, in a vibrating seat because she didn't want to sleep in a crib at first.  I always felt like I was doing something wrong because I thought I should be able to get her to sleep in a crib--because people told me she should.  Not because it's a well known fact babies love cribs at a month old, but because they want babies to love cribs at a month old!

And then with Otis I finally felt comfortable enough to say fuck it and do what felt right to me.  He took all his naps in the Moby for the first six months, he ate whenever he wanted, even if it meant getting up four times at night (no, he's not sleeping through the night at eight weeks, are you crazy???) He was in our room for eight months.  And not once did I feel like I was doing anything wrong, I felt like I was doing things right!  Because they worked!  He was a happy, healthy baby, and I know it was because he got his needs met. 

I have been thinking of this for awhile because there's a group I started on Facebook for local moms and some of the things people post just make me sad.  "My daughter is nine weeks old and won't sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time in her crib.  It's driving me crazy!"  So wear that little girl!  Get your house cleaned while she sleeps :)  "My daughter loves to be swaddled but I want to know how to get her out of it, I'm afraid she'll have sleep issues if she is swaddled for too long."  Really?  Your kid will tell you they want to be swaddled or not swaddled.  Ingrid didn't like it at all and was out of swaddling after a couple weeks.  Otis loved it and was swaddled for months.  Trust your babies to tell you what they need!

And you know what?  They don't need to sleep with a knife.  They do, sometimes, however, need to sleep with their mother. 


Fiona said...

Like you Amber I am simply horrified. What a horrible campaign, and what a dreadful approach to 'educating' people.

It is interesting that they say co-sleeping deaths are preventable, yet don't comment on the number of babies that die 'on their own in a cot' (the supposed safest way for a baby to sleep).

And whilst I am not saying co-sleeping in the best choice for everyone, it would make far more sens to educate people on the ways they can make it safe for their own family, if that is the route they choose.

MaryAnne said...

Oh dear. Wouldn't the ad money be better used to teach parenting classes, that could include safe sleeping practices?

I would love to see a comparison of the number of infant deaths from cosleeping and the number of infant deaths from sleeping in cribs that are damaged/recalled but not returned/have too many blankets/too soft of a mattress, etc.

Amber Liddle said...

exactly what I was thinking--that has to cost a lot of money to have an ad campaign--use that money to educate instead of scare people!!

Anonymous said...

i have been thinking about this off and on ALL DAY! you described all of my feelings/experiences with Truman perfectly!! neither of my boys slept through the night before TWO and tru was in a crib/harry co-slept until 9 months. i don't know why this is, it just is!

this last hospital experience for me was basically just me in the room watching reruns of hoarders while the nurses came in and said crazy bat shit stuff to me and me laughing as they left: don't hold her too much, you're letting her latch on wrong, all kinds of crazy stuff. but seriously, as a new mom i would have lost it. i have a pretty LONG PPD story as well with truman and it's not pretty.

anyway, this ad campaign threw me over the edge since we're co-sleeping with Tova and i am not as religious on the safety as i should be (i will nap with BOTH tova and harry in the same bed for instance) and having anxiety problems as it is, it's like thanks a lot ad people!!

but, i do think you guys are right in the fact that the sleeping arrangements, lack of cribs, not having a decent understanding of what children need as far as a "schedule" leads to a lot of these deaths. breaks my heart!!