I ran into news of Vanessa Clark earlier today, the woman recently convicted of felony child endangerment because she was co-sleeping with her two month old son. He died, allegedly from SIDS. This is also not the first time this happened to her; she lost her first son a year before that in a similar manner.
Now, I have to admit, I co-sleep. I tried the bassinet, the crib. The child hates, I mean HATES, being closed in. Ever has, since we brought him home. (Not that a bassinet or a crib is necessarily closed in, but he’s always slept better in a regular bed.) And since I was nursing, and tired, and sick of getting up out of bed every three hours, I let him in the bed.
I’ve long since stopped nursing. My son is almost 17 months old now. But. He’s still there.
I understand the risks of co-sleeping. I entered into the whole co-sleeping thing thinking it would be temporary.
I also understand the benefits of co-sleeping. I’m for it and feel that it’s a parent’s choice. Do what you will, or won’t.
However. If I lost a baby the year before in almost exactly the same manner, you better bet your butt I’d never co-sleep again. Just not worth it.
I’m not a big fan of judging what people should do in random circumstances I’ve never found myself in, but something makes me uncomfortable with this particular story. Especially considering that Clark was supposedly under the influence of Xanax and Vicodin. Pills are likely to make a new (sleep deprived) mother fall into a deeper sleep. This might result in not being as hyper conscious as to where exactly baby is in bed. Probably not a good combo then, co-sleeping and pill cocktails on (likely) very little sleep. Duh.
My feeling is, co-sleeping is not the evil that everyone cooks it up to be. Yes, there is a risk of suffocation. But there is in a crib too, or a pack-n-play or what ever else there is for babes to sleep in. Parents should do what’s right for their families. Not every one is the same. And (this point is probably more valid) people from all walks of life, all cultures, all areas of the world co sleep or sleep share. It’s natural.
So I don’t think co-sleeping is a crime. But I do think that people should start exercising more common sense when it comes to making seemingly basic decisions for themselves and their families. Our culture seems so hellbent on simply out-lawing every, single, solitary thing that can possibly lead to harm (read: lawsuit).
It’s like no one has to take responsibility anymore.
Wake up. Pay attention. Be present. That’s all you have to do.