Letter: Infants and sleep

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 28, 2006

After reading recommendations against co-sleeping on the front page of the Dec. 14 Salisbury Post, I felt a need to respond to this misleading information.

It appears to me that the real issue in the deaths of these two infants is not the co-sleeping arrangement but other factors which are up to the authorities to investigate. A parent who has been drinking alcohol or is on medication that can affect the arousal state should never sleep with a child. Otherwise, it is the parent’s choice. It is important to keep in mind that the rate of SIDS is lower in breastfed infants who sleep with their parents than in infants who sleep alone.

Check on the Web site of pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears (www.askdrsears.com) for more information on the subject as well as specific research reviews. Briefly, it has been found that mothers act as a pacemaker for their babies because they are “in sync” when they are co-sleeping; thus the baby sleeps better, the mother sleeps better and they both receive the benfits of extra bonding time (increased oxytocin). Parents should make this decision based on their personal situation.

— Julia Merrick