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Visiting SIDS expert slams Victorian coroner for telling parents not to sleep with their babies
Herald Sun, 15 March 2012


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80 replies to this topic

#1 Emily33-

Posted 17 March 2012 - 08:46 AM

Here's the article FYI:

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news...2-1226299790054



#2 rosiebird

Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:05 AM

I wish that the statistics for co-sleeping were separated out so that parents that bed-share responsibly are not lumped into the same group as people who use drugs and alcohol then co-sleep, co-sleeping with animals (WTF?) and co-sleeping on the sofa.

I'd like to know what the risk of over-lying your child is if:
- there are no drugs and alcohol involved
- the baby is on the mother's side
- the mother is exclusively breastfeeding
- there are no heavy, soft covers or pillows around the baby


#3 bakesgirls

Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:18 AM

QUOTE (rosiebird @ 17/03/2012, 09:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'd like to know what the risk of over-lying your child is if:
- there are no drugs and alcohol involved
- the baby is on the mother's side
- the mother is exclusively breastfeeding
- there are no heavy, soft covers or pillows around the baby



My bold. What does that have to do with it? Genuine question. I can't see what difference that would make. Every other point I can. Perhaps I am missing the obvious? original.gif

#4 rosiebird

Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:24 AM

QUOTE (bakesgirls @ 17/03/2012, 09:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My bold. What does that have to do with it? Genuine question. I can't see what difference that would make. Every other point I can. Perhaps I am missing the obvious? original.gif


I don't think it's an official guideline (and this is hearsay) but my midwife told me that mothers who are exclusively breastfeeding (and not on intoxicated etc etc) never overlie their babies.

She talked about a study where bed-sharing mothers were videotaped overnight to watch their sleep behaviour. If anyone knows the study I'm referring to, I've been trying to find it ever since.

#5 Froger

Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:26 AM

I have to admit I'm a bit confused. I thought SIDS was different to over-lying? Obiviously I understand why being drunk/drugged, sleeping on a sofa with your baby, being really large, letting animals sleep with your baby would increase the risk of over-lying. But what is this to do with SIDS? Sorry if I'm being dumb, but I don't understand - I though SIDS was dying from a cause that was unable to be determined  - which means not from over-lying?? Is over-lying now counted among SIDS deaths?

But for the PP in regards to over-lying and exclusive breastfeeding - I have read an article (not sure how true or well researched it is) that says that a mother is more in tune with knowing where her baby is in the bed when co-sleeping if the baby is a breastfed baby. Also I do  believe that in regards to SIDS there is some research that suggests that breastfeeding is protective. Some countries have breastfeeding listed as a protective factor against SIDS, and I think at one stage Australia did too (although I am not positive about this - my memory is not so good!)

ETA: Yes Rosiebird, I know the study you mean, I have definitely read it also. But no idea where I read it now, sorry I'm not much help.

Edited by SarahM72, 17 March 2012 - 09:28 AM.


#6 lizzzard

Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:26 AM

QUOTE (bakesgirls @ 17/03/2012, 10:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My bold. What does that have to do with it? Genuine question. I can't see what difference that would make. Every other point I can. Perhaps I am missing the obvious? original.gif



I think exclusive breastfeeding is correlated with a lower SIDS rate in general...possibly because breast milk is digested more quickly so babies (and mothers) tend to wake more when they are breastfeeding, so less chance of co-sleeping risk? Just a thought...

Edited by lizzzard, 17 March 2012 - 09:27 AM.


#7 JJ

Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:29 AM

QUOTE (rosiebird @ 17/03/2012, 09:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I wish that the statistics for co-sleeping were separated out so that parents that bed-share responsibly are not lumped into the same group as people who use drugs and alcohol then co-sleep, co-sleeping with animals (WTF?) and co-sleeping on the sofa.


I agree. Are these accidental deaths actually included in SIDS statistics, even when it's clear that it wasn't really SIDS? That would really skew the numbers, wouldn't it?

Edited by JJ, 17 March 2012 - 09:31 AM.


#8 EssentialBludger

Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:30 AM

I'm not getting it either. Are we talking about smothering or SIDS? they're two different things.

#9 rosiebird

Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:36 AM

QUOTE (SarahM72 @ 17/03/2012, 09:26 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have to admit I'm a bit confused. I thought SIDS was different to over-lying? Obiviously I understand why being drunk/drugged, sleeping on a sofa with your baby, being really large, letting animals sleep with your baby would increase the risk of over-lying. But what is this to do with SIDS? Sorry if I'm being dumb, but I don't understand - I though SIDS was dying from a cause that was unable to be determined  - which means not from over-lying?? Is over-lying now counted among SIDS deaths?

But for the PP in regards to over-lying and exclusive breastfeeding - I have read an article (not sure how true or well researched it is) that says that a mother is more in tune with knowing where her baby is in the bed when co-sleeping if the baby is a breastfed baby. Also I do  believe that in regards to SIDS there is some research that suggests that breastfeeding is protective. Some countries have breastfeeding listed as a protective factor against SIDS, and I think at one stage Australia did too (although I am not positive about this - my memory is not so good!)

ETA: Yes Rosiebird, I know the study you mean, I have definitely read it also. But no idea where I read it now, sorry I'm not much help.


You're right of course SarahM72, SIDS and overlying are different but in my own mind I tend to lump them together as 'waking up to see your baby has passed away'. I know that sleeping separately would prevent the risk of overlying but in my own mind, I wonder whether it increases the risk of SIDS. My (uneducated) opinion on the matter is that if kangaroo care/skin-to-skin helps regulate a newborn's breathing and heart rate, then having your baby next to you all night where he/she can hear you breathing and feel your heartbeat will also stimulate the baby enough to prevent apnoeas.




#10 bakesgirls

Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:38 AM

I knew the risks of SIDS were lower in breastfed babies. But to tell mothers that they are at higher risk of over-lying and therefore killing their babies is just a nasty way to encourage BF IMO. Scare tactics just are not right to me.

Sorry, I think I get a little worked up about things like that, as I co-sleep with all my babies, not all night, but for at least an hour or two per night. When they are in bed with me, IME, I tend to be a very light sleeper when they are next to me. I sleep much better when they are in their own beds(bassinette next to my bed). As a mother who was unable to BF due to medical issues and medications taken for a chronic illness (that passes through to breastmilk, so was told I couldn't BF sad.gif), I just get annoyed by suggestions like that. Plus I had never heard of that before unsure.gif

ETA-If anyone can find a link to that study I would definitely be interested in having a read. original.gif

Edited by bakesgirls, 17 March 2012 - 09:41 AM.


#11 bailee

Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:41 AM

re exclusive breastfeeding - I'm not good at explaining it but its a physiological response that happens between mother and baby when breastfeeding and coosleeping - the mother becomes more in tune with the baby's breathing patterns, waking/sleeping cycles, feeding patterns, etc. Its like an innate awareness for both mother and baby - cause I cant think of another way to explain it. Another example of it that was explained to me was that babies will always gravitate to the breast so when sleeping next to the mother their head will stay at breast height, rather than slide down the bed keeping them safer. Certainly was the case for my DD - she pretty much stayed put all night and I would rouse the instant before she would be ready for a feed with her crying to wake me.  Introducing things like alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, obviously interfere with the bodies ability to do this natural thing - I'm not sure so much about formula though, but I guess its another thing that probably interferes with the body's natural senses (and I'm not trying to start a debate about FvB).

#12 rosiebird

Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:44 AM

QUOTE (bakesgirls @ 17/03/2012, 09:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I knew the risks of SIDS were lower in breastfed babies. But to tell mothers that they are at higher risk of over-lying and therefore killing their babies is just a nasty way to encourage BF IMO. Scare tactics just are not right to me.

Sorry, I think I get a little worked up about things like that, as I co-sleep with all my babies, not all night, but for at least an hour or two per night. When they are in bed with me, IME, I tend to be a very light sleeper when they are next to me. I sleep much better when they are in their own beds(bassinette next to my bed). As a mother who was unable to BF due to medical issues and medications taken for a chronic illness (that passes through to breastmilk, so was told I couldn't BF sad.gif), I just get annoyed by suggestions like that. Plus I had never heard of that before unsure.gif

ETA-If anyone can find a link to that study I would definitely be interested in having a read. original.gif


Please  don't take offense. As I wrote, I don't know what the stats are, just that I would be interested in finding out. My midwife suggested the same thing as SarahM72, that breastfeeding mothers are more in tune with where their baby is, but I certainly don't think that you are risking your baby by cosleeping and FF.

#13 bakesgirls

Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:59 AM

QUOTE (rosiebird @ 17/03/2012, 09:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Please  don't take offense. As I wrote, I don't know what the stats are, just that I would be interested in finding out. My midwife suggested the same thing as SarahM72, that breastfeeding mothers are more in tune with where their baby is, but I certainly don't think that you are risking your baby by cosleeping and FF.


No offence was taken at all original.gif Just saying my experience. I wish I had been able to stay off my medication for longer than 8 weeks post birth (varied between 1-8 weeks, between my girls) so I could have BF longer. But I certainly don't feel bad that I couldn't. My kids need a mother who is painfree and functioning more than breastmilk IMO.

Interesting point though, I will google it and try to find the research that correlates BF and lower risk of over-lying original.gif

Edited by bakesgirls, 17 March 2012 - 10:03 AM.


#14 Alvarywinters

Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:59 AM

I'm wondering if they count smothering and SIDS as the same thing because they do not know for certain what the cause of death is? Or if it was the only contributor?
They talk about ways to reduce SIDS that directly reduce smothering risks...like loose/soft blankets, when obviously they are a risk as they stop bub being able to breathe if they cover the head.
It seems a lot of the time that SIDS is a way of lumping a whole range of causes together, known and unknown...which is of course what the point is with the article.

I agree, I would like to see the statistics of SIDS when there is no big risk factor there...no drugs, booze, smoking etc

#15 Emily33-

Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:01 AM

ere are a few links to Prof James McKenna's work on SIDS and cosleeping and breastfeeding which address some of the points raised by PPs.

Why babies should never sleep alone: A review of the co-sleeping controversy in relation to SIDS, bedsharing and breast feeding - James J. McKenna and Thomas McDade
http://www.naturalchild.org/james_mckenna/cosleeping.pdf

36. Does Breastfeeding reduce the chances of SIDS?
http://cosleeping.nd.edu/frequently-asked-questions/#36


Bakesgirl - I hope this info isn't used to make you or anyone who doen't tick all the boxes feel guilty.  There are heaps of intuitive, bottlefeeding mothers out there safely bedsharing.

I'd like to see a breakdown of SIDS deaths of those who conscientiously bedshare as opposed to those who bring baby in to bed as a last resort when they've never done it before and are exhausted after a long night and also separate stats from SIDS deaths resulting from sleeping on the lounge. And also what the percentage of cot deaths are.

I think James McKenna discusses all of this in the article I linked in. It's been a while since I read it.


#16 rosiebird

Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:05 AM

QUOTE (Emily33- @ 17/03/2012, 10:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There are heaps of intuitive, bottlefeeding mothers out there safely bedsharing.

I'd like to see a breakdown of SIDS deaths of those who conscientiously bedshare as opposed to those who bring baby in to bed as a last resort when they've never done it before and are exhausted after a long night


Well said.

#17 Soontobegran

Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:09 AM

QUOTE (EssentialBludger @ 17/03/2012, 10:30 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm not getting it either. Are we talking about smothering or SIDS? they're two different things.


I think they are too completely different causes of death which should not be lumped under the SIDS umbrella.
A baby who dies from being smothered, particularly by a drug or alcohol effected mother would probably not have died otherwise and this type of parent should be criminally charged accordingly.
A baby who has died in bed with no apparent causative feature is a SIDS  death.

In my time as a midwife we have had 4 babies who died in hospital in their bassinette either beside their mum's bed or in the nursery. They had all been checked recently...this is SIDS.

Edited by soontobegran, 17 March 2012 - 10:11 AM.


#18 Guest_tigerdog_*

Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:17 AM

QUOTE
I think they are too completely different causes of death which should not be lumped under the SIDS umbrella.


Agreed, I don't know what all the calls on this thread to separate the stats are about, to my knowledge the stats on SIDS deaths relate to exactly that - they never have included deaths by smothering, overlying or any other explainable cause of death.

Edited by tigerdog, 17 March 2012 - 10:18 AM.


#19 Emily33-

Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:18 AM

You can find the following SIDS and Kids Information Statements here: http://www.sidsandkids.org/safe-sleeping/i...ion-statements/

Sleeping with Baby
Roomsharing with Baby

The info statements refer to SIDS, SUDI (Sudden Unexpected Deaths in Infancy) and Fatal Sleep Accidents.

Perhaps the article/coroner refers to SIDS in the article to save rattling off the more specific names, which all fall under the work of the SIDS and Kids organsiation.



#20 Alvarywinters

Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:21 AM

Thanks for the links Emily33

I love this quote from the pdf - "While recent cultural implements such as cribs, mattresses and bedding did not evolve to protect and feed infants throughout the night, protective maternal behaviours including bodily contact between the mother and infant during co-sleeping most certainly did."

Lumping something like drug use with something so natural and instinctive like co-sleeping is asking for inconsistency!

Edited by Alvarywinters, 17 March 2012 - 10:25 AM.


#21 bakesgirls

Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:29 AM

QUOTE (Emily33- @ 17/03/2012, 10:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Why babies should never sleep alone: A review of the co-sleeping controversy in relation to SIDS, bedsharing and breast feeding - James J. McKenna and Thomas McDade
http://www.naturalchild.org/james_mckenna/cosleeping.pdf

36. Does Breastfeeding reduce the chances of SIDS?
http://cosleeping.nd.edu/frequently-asked-questions/#36


Thanks for posting this. It certainly made for an interesting read. original.gif

#22 whydoibother

Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:32 AM

QUOTE (rosiebird @ 17/03/2012, 07:36 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You're right of course SarahM72, SIDS and overlying are different but in my own mind I tend to lump them together as 'waking up to see your baby has passed away'. I know that sleeping separately would prevent the risk of overlying but in my own mind, I wonder whether it increases the risk of SIDS. My (uneducated) opinion on the matter is that if kangaroo care/skin-to-skin helps regulate a newborn's breathing and heart rate, then having your baby next to you all night where he/she can hear you breathing and feel your heartbeat will also stimulate the baby enough to prevent apnoeas.



I agree-I have co slept with all mine (esp the boys) and Samuel I did from veyr early and I just kept the pillows and blankets away from him.  Now he is older he still sleeps with me in our bed and I find he pushes the blankets away and pillows away anyway.

The alternative for me is the cot/bassinett next to the bed which I did as well.  It was good when Noah was ill as a newborn as I could hear him breathing etc and he was still safe.

On the couch I only napped with them on the edge side and when there was another adult around

#23 Froger

Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:49 AM

Thanks for the links Emily33. I have just read them and they were very interesting. Confirming my own thoughts. (I guess that's probably why I enjoyed reading them  biggrin.gif ).

#24 Fossy

Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:00 AM

I have attended two cases where co sleeping babies have died, both cases the mother accidentally smothered the baby while asleep, they were both ruled accidental death, not SIDS.  fwiw all safe sleeping practices were followed in both cases, just tragic.

#25 MrsNorthman

Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:12 AM

The same way it is unfair for the Coroner to apply such a blanket statement to cosleeping, I believe it is also unfair to apply a blanket statement by cosleepers that it is unlikely to happen because of being "in tune" with the baby etc.

The problem IMO with cosleeping is that very rarely are people actually doing it properly and safely.  They often don't provide a secondary safe place for baby to sleep if they are feeling particularly tired that night (we all know that happens).  There is also no mattress on the market in Australia that is considered *safe* for a newborn to sleep on, ie not being hard enough and most cosleepers do not address this issue with any kind of solution.

I agree that the stats need to accurately or at least more accurately reflect cosleeping by separating those who have coslept whilst on drugs or alcohol etc.




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