Sleeping on your Child

As to the column concerning the dangers of sleeping with an infant in your bed, I have a counter-point to the Biblical answer given.

In Maya Angelou’s “I know Why the Caged Bird SIngs”, she gives an account of one of the first nights she spent with her child. Her mother put the child in bed with her and refused to listen to Maya’s concerns as to the safety of the child. Maya tried to stay awake the entire night. She did not suceed. When she awoke, she found that she had tented the sheets over the child, using her arm as a prop… thus putting it at a very odd angle in the process. She did this unconciously.

Power to the mother.

And the column being referenced is, What’s the likelihood of suffocating a child sleeping in your bed?.

If I knew how, I would…but I think you effectively just did! Thanks for the help.

I don’t think Cecil did this subject justice, only representing one side of the story. Yes, it is possible, but not probable, given the right circumstances. He copped out. Here is more valuable information to someone considering the family bed.

There is all kinds of evidience that squishing your baby is the exception to the rule. Third world countries routinely co-sleep (the scientific word for it) and have a much lower incidence of SIDs. (not that that is the only reason they have less SIDs, just to prove co-sleeping dosn’t CAUSE SIDs).

There is a professor James McKenna at Notre Dame studying this and he has come up with many benefits. See link to the main page:

My son is turning two next week and I have slept with him every night of his life. I am a light sleeper (and so is he, which started the arrangement). He has not fallen out of bed once, I have not even come close to squishing him. The slightest disturbance in him wakes me so I can care for his needs - too cold, too warm, stuffed up nose, etc. He is not scarred or anything from this experience, if anything, it has given him better self-confidence and made him more free to show affection. There are several people with positive experiences, there is a whole board dedicated to it at

Here are some other articles, not by professors, but by other normal people worth reading.,10335,258694_110095,00.html

There is no proof of higher incidence of infant death in family beds than in solitary sleeping children. Most cases of rollover are because the adult in question is not in the right condition. If you haven’t been drinking, if you aren’t taking medications, if you remove possible suffocation items from the bed, like fluffy pillows and comforters, if you make sure the baby can’t get caught between the bed and the wall, you aren’t anymore likely to cause trouble than putting the baby in bed.

Don’t flame me unless you know what you’re talking about…

actually, Cecil said, after quoting the Bible

which, to me, means he’s saying that it’s not likely that (disclaimer - unless you’re under the influence, ill or otherwise incapacitated) you’d roll over & crush your infant.

My son didn’t like going to sleep, and would only settle down if I drove him around for a while or layed down next to him. His dad worked midnights, so he wasn’t any help with the issue, so we co-slept for a good part of his infancy. He started sleeping alone, then his dad left and again he couldn’t fall asleep by himself, so we did it again for a while. Then one night he said “I sleep in my own bed” and that was it.

provided for mere anecdotal sake.

Dear lord…I believe I’ve started a brush-fire. I didn’t realize it was such a bone of contention. I just really enjoyed the Angelou anecdote.

Kaimah -
About the brushfire - Maybe not. Dopers are probably more open-minded than the general populace, but I get a lot of flack in general, including from my husband, because of this, who still maintains it just isn’t right. My in-laws and even my own parents question me, and it is a sensitive subject, because it is a cornerstone of my mothering technique. I work full time and in a way spending the night next to him eases my feelings of guilt for not being there for him all the time.

wring - I love Cecil, so don’t get me wrong, he just could have cited some modern professionals from both sides of the fence - i.e. Ferber and Sears, instead of the Bible. There is a wealth of information on the topic.
As for my son, much as I like being there for him, I am hoping he asks to sleep in his own bed soon, like yours.

well it was an older column, but then again, this topic does seem to be one of those ‘there’s people strongly on both sides’ kind of topics, too.

oh, no, don’t wish for that - he can sleep through an earthquake, and never cleans his room, and has all these teen ager traits, and,.

oh, wait.

you just meant sleeping in his own bed. Oh, well that’s ok then. :smiley: