English (United Kingdom)French (Fr)
Home Wellness Articles Co-sleeping The Family Bed Defended

The Family Bed Defended

Written by Karen Squires   
Wednesday, 01 September 2004 00:00
Article Index
The Family Bed Defended
Page 2
Page 3
All Pages

“The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is launching a mass-media national campaign aimed at reducing deaths associated with placing babies in adult beds.” –The Compleat Mother magazine

I received this information in an email from The Compleat Mother Magazine. I have a burning question about their campaign. The CPSC is there to warn us about product safety, not family practices. I wonder why they are concerned with my families sleeping arrangements.

Wouldn’t it be nice if their focus was to help make the family bed a safer place, and not about scaring parents into buying cribs. But that’s not their goal.

The Family Bed DefendedThe CPSC sited an average of 64 deaths per year of babies in adult beds. From this they decided to tell parents to avoid having the baby sleep in their bed. How many children die in car crashes every year? Why aren’t they warning us to keep our children out of cars? They aren’t. We are warned to use car seats, and taught to use them properly. Why not teach parents who want to have their children in bed with them how to do it safely?

The family bed is the practice of having babies/children sleeping in the same bed as their parents. We have a family bed ourselves. It wasn’t something that I planned on when our youngest child was born. It wasn’t something I’d even heard of. Not as something people actually wanted anyway. When I did hear of it it was when parents who were too tired to handle a child who didn’t want to sleep alone, gave up and let the baby/child sleep with them. I wish I had been so smart.

Our older son had slept in a room by himself from 6 weeks on. I felt so overwhelmed by his needs during that day that I needed to be alone during the night to recoup. Looking back, I can see that I was a new mother who needed some help from family, friends, anybody in fact, to reduce my stress level. The answer then of course did not lie in needing to put my 6 week old in another room at night, but in getting more help during the day, or the night, to help me deal with motherhood better.

I was not following my instincts to have him near me at night, as I would wake up in the morning and upon not hearing him cry right away, would assume that he had succumb to SIDS during the night. One such morning I lay in bed for about 20 minutes, terrified to go and check on him. I was sure he had died and I was trying to put off going through the horror of actually knowing that it had happened. He eventually began to cry and I was incredibly relieved.

Believe it or not it didn’t occur to me to ignore the pressures from society to push him away at night, and take him in my arms and keep him by my side.