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Is Co Sleeping as Deadly to Babies as Butcher Knives?

by Deborah Cruz

Co Sleeping  does not equal babies in bed with butcher knives. If it did, I would have already been dead twice over. Really? Do you equate a parent cuddling and soothing their co sleeping cherub with deadly? Apparently, Milwaukee’s Health Department does.If you are like most of America, you have seen the now infamous Milwaukee Health Department’s Ads about the Dangers of Co-Sleeping Ads. I take offense to these anti-co sleeping ads for several reasons; but mostly because they’re ridiculous. More offensive to me was that this morning our local radio deejays who are neither parents were insulting co sleepers.

Since when is it okay for people who are not parents to make commentary on parenting? Nevermind insult our specific parenting techniques. I thought we agreed as a group ( Parents/the haves) that the non-parents (have-nots) should keep their opinions to themselves.

I am a co sleeper. I believe in the family bed. LOUD AND PROUD CO-SLEEPER! There is something soothing for both parent and baby to be within arms reach. I am also probably one of the most overprotective mothers that you will ever meet. I am a semi-crunchy, co-sleeping, totally over-protective, sometimes helicopter parent.

READ ALSO: Co-Sleeping is not for sissies!

Believe it or not, I still get up in the middle of the night to make sure that my girls are breathing. I would absolutely never do anything that would be harmful to my children. I certainly would not pose them in the bed with a butcher knife. I hope the butcher knife was Photoshopped in or somebody’s got some explaining to do.

Seriously, I understand the risks involved in co-sleeping but if done appropriately and precautions are taken, co-sleeping can be beneficial for everyone involved.

co-sleeping, Milwaukee, danger of co-slepping, butcher knife, anti- co-sleeping campaign

This is NOT co-sleeping with a Parent

I see the picture of the photo of the beautiful cherub-like baby sleeping in the loving family bed and there beside it I see a butcher knife, looming like a silent killer. The poor unsuspecting baby is asleep completely oblivious to the imminent danger that he/she is in. I get it Milwaukee health Department you want to scare us crunchy co-sleepers straight. Shock us into realizing the reality of co-sleeping but this photo is nothing like co-sleeping or bed-sharing.

When a family makes the decision to co-sleep, they are not only aware of the situation they take precautions to be sure that they do it the right way. Besides, have you been a parent? Whoever sleeps again once they have children? Solid, sound sleep is a thing of the past.

READ ALSO: The Truth about Co-Sleeping

Unless you are binging out on the Ambien ( in which case don’t co-sleep), drunk ( If you are drunk don’t co-sleep) or dead ( if you are dead please die elsewhere, your baby doesn’t need to see that and it will be detrimental to their health) you will most likely never be able to sleep long and hard enough to roll over on your baby and smother them. Since I’ve given birth, my hearing has improved tenfold…I call them dog ears. I hear everything. My kid hiccups in another state, I can hear them.

Co-Sleeping is about Awareness

At first, I was afraid to co-sleep with my girls. I was afraid that I would roll over on them, forget they were there, they would fall out of the bed, under a pillow, get tangled up in the covers, the Big Guy (after all he’s not the Little Guy) would squish them but it happened so naturally.

Of course, I was petrified of SIDS. It was my biggest fear. Co-sleeping started with me feeding my sweet baby in the middle of the night. I would lift her from her bassinet and over to my bed. In those days it took her so long to suckle that we were up almost continuously.

Our bonding/breastfeeding session would be over but she would want to be held to be soothed to sleep. I would willingly oblige because why not? You can never love a baby too much, right? We’d both start to doze; my sweet slumbering angel and her exhausted new mommy. It honestly made more sense to lay her down in her positioner in the center of our king sized bed than to take the chance that her half-conscience Mommy drop her when her arms finally dozed as well.

Then I became addicted to looking over several times a night and seeing the two most important and perfect people that I have ever known lying peacefully and safely next to me. There is something addictive about tiny hands reaching for mine and smiling in their slumber because I am there. They are safe and happy. Rogue hugs, random kisses from apple breathed babies and cuddles from toddlers are my drug of choice.

I hate these ads of the co-sleeping infant being portrayed with a butcher knife. It is using scare tactics and shock value to force new parents to decide against co-sleeping. I think these “dangers” of Co-Sleeping ads rob parents of a parenting choice. I think it’s awesome to make new parents aware of the pros and cons of co-sleeping. I think it would be fantastic to educate parents on how to co-sleep safely. I think it would be amazing to make parents aware of the health risks of co-sleeping but to go for sheer fear factor I think is complete bullshit.

Why not run ads about what birth REALLY feels like? Wait? We’re probably saving those for a later date when we have a more urgent need for population control.  SIDS is real. Stupid parents who are negligent with their co-sleepers is real but these are not the status quo. Co-sleeping should be a family choice, not governments. What are your thoughts on the Dangers of Co-sleeping ads?

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Melinda-LooKWhatMomFound..and Dad too! 2011/11/16 - 2:12 pm

we co-slept all of our children, it was both soothing and annoying at the same time but I wouldn’t change it for the world. The uneducated should learn to keep their mouths shut.

Truthful Mommy 2011/11/16 - 2:16 pm

I agree. People don’t realize that we never actually sleep soundly when we have co-sleepers. I Love co-sleeping and of course it has it has it’s downs as well; like never sleeping soundly:) Having to relocate for adult relations. AS they get bigger, having the cutest little bed hogs who karate chop and head bunt at will.But I too would not change it for anything! And I think the non paretns who comment need to be karate chopped in the mouth, as well fro giving me their opinion!

Jennifer 2011/11/16 - 2:21 pm

We co-slept. It wasn’t planned. It just happened. I think it is good for the baby to be next to the mother. It helps regulate their breathing. I think those ads are wrong and inflammatory.

Truthful Mommy 2011/11/17 - 8:04 pm

I agree 100%!

Venus 2011/11/16 - 2:36 pm

PREACH!!!! I am so with you on this. If other people don’t want to co-sleep then that’s their decision. But there is such a HUGE disservice to the responsible co-sleeping community going on out there. It drives me crazy. I hadn’t seen this ad, but I was pissed off by an L&O episode that wasn’t portraying co-sleeping in the best light either. I wrote about it at https://wp.me/p1Ug62-4k. Thanks for raising awareness on this issue.

Truthful Mommy 2011/11/17 - 8:07 pm

Thanks mama! I hate when people make these blanket statements and then to make an entire campaign against co -sleeping on incidents of babies dying but they don;t give a clear picture of what really happened. Of course if you are intoxicated, high on drugs, sleeping pills what have you..that is not responsible co-sleeping. There is a right way and a wrong way to do everything. I just hate that they are scaring new parents and causing them to miss out on a wonderful part of parenthood and an amazing way of bonding. These ads make me mad and sad.

Amber @fourkidslater 2011/11/16 - 2:46 pm

I co-sleep with all 4 kids when hubs is @ work, and the 2 smallest when he is home. Some nights even when he is home, the oldest 2 sneak in in the middle of the night and I don’t have the heart to chase them out. 🙂
I also am one of the most protective mothers in the world and would never do anything to hurt my children. Mostly why we started co-sleeping was I couldn’t stand the thought of the kids being down the hall from us @ night. Anything could happen! Of course, nursing is easier @ night with baby in arm’s reach.
I have to say, I love your advice to dead people. It made me bust out laughing. 🙂

Truthful Mommy 2011/11/17 - 8:10 pm

LOL! Well, quite frankly I’m pretty sure there is a safety code violation in there somewhere when it comes to letting babies sleep with dead people. Of course, I am certain that it is a DCFS situation when you let your baby sleep with a butcher knife. People all over the world sleep with their babies. I’m going to call this what it is…first world problem. This is bullshit. The safest place a child can be is near there parents! Oh and I feel you on the can;t stand the thought of them being down the hall…suffocating , not breathing, falling into the corner between the mattress and the bumper or what have you. At least near me, I always had my eyes on them. You know exactly what I mean. We think alike, my friend! WE are helicopter…hear us hover:) XO

Natalia Nanton 2011/11/16 - 5:35 pm

What the heck!? I can’t believe that ad!!!! Totally outta line! I didn’t plan on co-sleeping myself. It just happened and I’m so glad it did. I agree, it has it’s cons as well but wouldn’t trade it for the world! Rolling over in pee n’ all! Although I don’t push for anyone to co-sleep, I certainly don’t judge them for not doing it. This ad is calling all co-sleeping parents potential murderers. Pretty dumb.

Truthful Mommy 2011/11/17 - 8:13 pm

Oh yes, rolling over in pee or better yet being out right pissed on…those are some good times but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I advocate for co-sleeping because it has been such an amazing experience for us BUT I don;t go around trying to force people to see it my way. I tell them how great our experience was and then I let it go. It is every family’s choice and for some it works and others it doesn’t. I don’t think there should be judgement either way. Live and let live. Co-sleep and let not co-sleep can’t we all just get along….just as soon as we make sure all the butcher knives are out of arms reach for the babies that is:)

Cosleeping : Why it’s safe, natural and how to do the blanket arrangements. - Child of the Nature Isle 2011/11/16 - 11:04 pm

[…] Monkey Butt Junction, PhD in Parenting, Tales of a Kitchen Witch, Mother Nature Network, The Stir, The Truth about Motherhood and probably quite a few […]

Hannah Pratt 2011/11/17 - 12:26 am

While these ads do appear gruesome so did Milwaukee’s infant mortality rates in 2009. Thus the reason for the campaign Do I like the ads. NO. Do I see a reason behind them. Yes.

Truthful Mommy 2011/11/17 - 8:17 pm

I understand the reasoning for the shocking ads but they are simply not true. Maybe they should change the wording to say Your baby sleeping with you when you are high/drunk/drugged can be just as dangerous but to implicate that a parent ( who is responsible and aware) can be potentially as dangerous to their child as a butcher knife is RIDICULOUS! I think the ad is to get people’s attention but I think it went too far and they should have offered information on how to co-sleep safely. They have basically just scared the shit out of some new parents and taken away a parental choice from them. This is not governments place no more than it is that they can tell us when, where, how long to breastfeed? Or force any other parenting decision we make.

kelebek 2011/11/17 - 2:51 am

I cant believe the ads comparing co sleeping to a baby sleeping with a butcher’s kife!! I recently read an article saying that new research had found that children should sleep with their mother until they are at least 3! Apparently this helps regulate heart rate, encourages bonding and makes for more secure, less anxious adults. I never planned to co sleep with mine, but it felt completely natural and made breastfeeding during the night much easier. In many cultures around the world (including here in Turkey) co sleeping is the norm and would have been for our ancesters also due to lack of heating and anywhere else safe for the baby to sleep. All baby mammals sleep with their young for warmth and protection so why do humans feel that this is “unnatural”. To me it is far more unnatural to take a baby that has spent 9 months in the warmth and safety of the womb, soothed by the sound of his mother’s hearbeat and voice and put them alone in a cot in another room. My 3 year old has just started sleeping in his own bed, but still sneaks back in with me during the night and I am in no rush to push him out!

Truthful Mommy 2011/11/17 - 8:21 pm

Perfect example! First world problems. It’s like obesity. What other country has this as an issue? We have too many choices and many of them not healthy. I agree, taking a child who lived INSIDE you for 10 months and them banishing them to another room all alone would cause separation anxiety in anyone. Co-sleeping when done by responsible adults who are aware of the precautions that must be taken is perfectly healthy. In fact,probably healthier than the alternative but I would never judge a parent for not wanting to co-sleep. I just wish people would stop judging those of us who do make the decision t have the family bed.

Jenn {Mommie Couture} 2011/11/17 - 8:24 am

AMEN!!! I was hoping you were going to post something about this! I honestly feel sad for people that never get to experience co-sleeping… It truly is one of the best and most special things I’ve ever been able to experience! Funny thing is, all the cases of SIDS I’ve heard of personally have all been CRIB DEATHS. Interesting, right?

Truthful Mommy 2011/11/17 - 8:24 pm

Yes,this is the problem. I feel like this as is creating a panic in new paretns and will take that choice out of their hands. They will miss out on a very special bonding opportunity and at the very least a crucial parenting decision. I don;t think government has the right to speak on this subject in such a harsh manner and f they are going to do so, at least be forthcoming with all the facts like the fact that the mortality rate is highest amongst parents who were altered ( Drunk/high/etc) in which case, they didn’t have any business sleeping with their baby that night anyways.

Kalley C 2011/11/21 - 6:53 pm

Thank you for posting this. I’m so sick of this kind of scare tactic! Parents who decide to co-sleep are already worried about something going wrong, they don’t need this on top of it.

When I first started co-sleeping, I had no pillows and blankets on my bed, I was that scared! But as time went on, I was okay with the idea and I’m still co-sleeping with my daughter (mainly because I can’t get her out of my bed).

I think parents should get the true facts about co-sleeping and how to do it safely instead of trying to scare new parents into not doing it at all.

All I know is that this has to be some ploy by crib makers because crib purchases are down.

harley 2012/01/22 - 3:11 am

Those ads are RUBBISH. My husband and I BOTH sleep with our daughter (5 months). I’ll put it this way:

Do you roll off the edge of your bed at night? No. Why? Because even though you’re asleep you KNOW the edge is there.

Truthful Mommy 2012/01/22 - 3:46 pm

I completely agree but the only people who understand this are others who co-sleep:) They don’t know what they are missing out on by NOT sleeping with those little angels. I love waking in the middle of the night and seeing their adorable little faces:)


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