Mommy’s Time Out: Bed-sharing with baby

We looked at a serious topic for this month’s Mommy’s Time Out segment on Good Day PA. We talked about babies and sleep.

Last month, police charged Jessica Harper of Peach Bottom with homicide for the death of her two month old. Investigators reported that the baby boy suffocated while sleeping in bed between his mother and sister.

According to investigators, after the baby was born, staff at Lancaster General Hospital educated Harper about safe sleep practices. In May, police said Children and Youth services educated her about safe sleep. In addition, they said the baby’s doctor warned Harper against co-sleeping in bed. In 2011, police said another of Harper’s children, also two months old, died while sleeping.

For quite some time, many groups have been educating families about what they consider to be safe sleep practices. The National Institutes of Health’s Safe to Sleep campaign, formerly known as “Back to Sleep” calls for, among other bullet points:

A Sleep surface that is firm without pillows, blankets, bumpers, toys or loose bedding.

For adults to place babies on their backs and specifically states that baby “should not sleep in an adult bed.”

(Click here for more: NIH Safe to Sleep)

After local media reported on the Jessica Harper case, websites and Facebook pages hummed with those who criticized the reporting. Some cited that bedsharing was safe and that those who told Harper not to do it could have, instead, advised her how to do so safely.

Popular baby expert Dr. Sears is an advocate for “attachment parenting” and for bedsharing. According to Sears, during bedsharing:

• Babies are in state of “protective arousal” which “enables them to more easily awaken if their health is in danger, such as breathing difficulties.”

• Breastfeeding is made easier

• More infant deaths occur in unsafe cribs than in a parent’s bed

(Click here for more: Dr. Sears on bedsharing)

On Good Day PA, Denise Chase with Morningstar Pregnancy Services, a partner of the “Cribs for Kids” initiative outlined the reasons for babies to be in their own beds without and materials around them. Marriage and Family Therapist and Baby Sleep Consultant Lynn Brooks shared why bedsharing can be healthy and beneficial for families. Please watch our video for their comments.

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