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Infant Sleep and Industry Dollars

Written by Linda Folden Palmer, D.C.   
Tuesday, 07 October 2008 14:00

The crib industry has gotten in bed with the CPSC to announce dramatically that 60 babies per year die from accidents in adult beds. They plan a large campaign to educate doctors and retailers about the supposed danger. One detail they seem to leave out is that babies sleeping next to their aware and protective mom (co-sleeping) have a multifold decrease in the risk of SIDS. 3,000 U.S. babies die from SIDS yearly.

Ninety two percent of these adult bed deaths occurred when babies were alone and unattended, although the media has directed their attention toward co-sleeping. The CPSC conclusion that no baby should ever be placed in an adult bed is in no one's best interest (except that of the crib industry). Great fear is being imposed on families who would otherwise be choosing to co-sleep. The proper move is to recommend means to make adult beds safer.

Studies reveal that after leaving the womb there is an important continuum of mother-provided regulation. While asleep, parental warmth, heartbeat, and breathing help to regulate proper body temperature and oxygenation in baby. Co-sleeping also encourages natural breast feeding and comforting, adding important hormonal and immune regulation.

A century ago, as formula and other industry sales burgeoned, separate bedrooms for children became associated with images of affluence. However, a new problem arose ? babies screaming from abandonment throughout the night. Solutions were now needed to encourage sleep in babies. Formula companies advertised that (difficult-to-digest) formula promotes longer sleep. Prone sleeping (an unnatural position for a baby nursing next to mom) was discovered to extend sleep. Allowing babies to cry for long periods induces deeper sleep states and has been endorsed as a positive practice. Today, nearly every early pediatric visit includes the question: "Is baby sleeping through the night?" - further encouraging the use of these unnatural sleep practices.

The problem here is this: long intervals of deep sleep are shown to be a major cause of SIDS. A co-sleeping baby naturally arouses frequently to lighter sleep states. On the other hand, prone positioning impinges the cervical spine and brain stem, and formula-feeding itself triples the SIDS rate.
Remember our mainly crib-sleeping, bottle-feeding, U.S. infants with the highest medical attention in the world rank only 22nd in infant survival among reporting nations. Chiropractic doctors need to be aware that their patients are being given strong, dangerous messages from their formula and crib industry-educated pediatricians. Parents should be free to make feeding and sleep choices that work best for their own family, but these choices should be made based on accurate information.

Visit Dr Palmer at:  http://www.babyreference.com/

 

Originally Published in ICPA Newsletter July-August 2002

 

Linda Folden PalmerAbout the Author :

Science is Dr. Palmer's first love and continuing inspiration. Her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois was in chemistry with a minor in biology. While attending the National College of Chiropractic, Palmer received a Bachelor of Science in human biology as she received her Doctor of Chiropractic.

Prior the birth of her son, Dr. Palmer ran a successful chiropractic practice for eleven years, focusing on nutrition and women's health issues. Her practice emphasized diagnosis, research, and patient education.

With the birth of Dr. Palmer's son in 1995, she was confronted with his severe health complications and astounded by the extreme lack of accurate or helpful information from doctors or books. Her usual passion for research turned toward infant health and parenting. Her extensive reviews of science and medical research revealed huge conflicts between what is found scientifically and what is standard protocol in pediatric offices. Her research in this area led to writing Baby Matters.

Dr. Palmer has led attachment parenting support groups for five years, also coordinating the various groups throughout San Diego County. She has also served as an instructor in anatomy and physiology and a research associate for drugless cancer therapy research. She currently spends her time consulting in infant nutrition and attachment parenting, writing parenting articles and books, speaking to family and professional audiences, and being a wife and mother.

Website: www.babyreference.com