Tuesday, February 7, 2006

'I was just trying to be a loving mother'

Michael Jackson famously said that the most loving thing a person could do is to share his/her bed with another person. I can not think of a single way in which what he said could be interpreted as correct. Sharing your bed with someone can sometimes kill, especially if that person is your infant child.

Angela Poindexter thought she was being a good mother when she tucked her newborn son into bed next to her after late-night feedings. But her good intentions turned into every parent's worst nightmare: When Poindexter and her fiancé awoke on a Saturday morning last month, they found the 18-day-old baby cold and lifeless.

Now, Poindexter is heart-broken, guilt-ridden and confused -- caught up in the middle of a growing debate over safe-sleeping practices for infants like her son, Treyvon. "I was just trying to be a loving mother," the Indianapolis woman said. (Indianapolis Star)

People are torn about recommending children to sleep in the same bed with their parents:
The American Academy of Pediatrics, Indiana Perinatal Network and many other medical groups take the firm stance that babies should never sleep with parents because it is too easy for them to accidentally suffocate or be smothered.

But others -- including James J. McKenna, director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab at the University of Notre Dame, and the Le Leche League -- argue the centuries-old practice is safe when basic precautions are followed, can play an important role in bonding and breast-feeding and helps many babies and parents sleep better.
Barb Himes, SIDS and infant loss coordinator with the Indiana Perinatal Network, said the subject of where and how infants should sleep is controversial and people on both sides hold strong opinions. "There are mixed messages being sent to parents," she said.

Himes touts the American Academy of Pediatrics' "back to sleep" policy that says children should sleep in their own beds, free of pillows, toys and other loose items. She does support infants sleeping in the same room as their parents, but said all babies should sleep in a separate crib or bed and on their backs.

When both our girls were born, we laid them in a bassinette beside our bed for the first few months. They would be close at hand if they started fussing for whatever reason, but still be in their own sleeping area.

MORE: About.com gives suggestions and warnings about sharing a bed.


  1. My daughter slept with us, my son refused to.

    I'm wondering if SIDS deaths of infants sleeping in the parental bed are getting blamed on the parent rather than correctly identified as SIDS. "Rollover" deaths, from what I understand, are associated with parents who are more passed out than sleeping.

    This case is such a tragedy for the family.

  2. Grannygrump: Thanks for visiting and for leaving a comment. You bring up an interesting point - I wonder if a study has been done. A tragedy indeed for this family - I can't think of anything more painful than the death of a close loved one, and especially a child.