Thursday, August 9, 2007

Co-Sleeping with Babies

My husband used to say that I have a slightly Americanized way of thinking and doing things. This is of course, not my personal choice. I was simply raised this way.

So when I had my first shot at motherhood, I immediately let my baby sleep in a crib beside my bed on our first night out of the hospital. My friends and family were promptly scandalized. My decision was virtually unprecedented among my circle of acquaintances.

On the first night and the next four days after that my baby literally drove all the spirits out of my body with loud seemingly ceaseless crying spells. My husband and I eventually lost all hope, energy and every ounce of sanity in our nerve wracked bodies that we simply decided to hug her close in our bed and let her persist in tormenting the neighbors. Surprisingly she stopped crying. She is now a toddler and still sleeps in our bed and has always had uninterrupted sleep at night. I have since thrown my Americanized sleep training along with my baby’s crib out of our Filipino house.

This is probably why I was puzzled and alarmed by the news that according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, numerous infants and babies die in adult beds. This implies that co-sleeping is not a safe practice and which is probably why we television addicts have become familiar with scenes of American babies sleeping in separate rooms.

This kind of makes me wonder about the differences in sleeping equipment and patterns between Filipinos and Americans. I don’t have the statistics for my country but all the Filipino parents I have ever known have always slept with their babies and none of those babies ever died. What’s the difference between co-sleeping here and there? Why do some American babies die?

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