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      The family bed

      An unusually high number of infant deaths have recently been reported in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area.

      Some health specialists say many of the deaths were easily preventable if parents hadn't practiced co-sleeping. And new legislation in Lansing is now requiring hospitals to distribute materials to new parents regarding safe sleep practices.

      But some parents say, co-sleeping works for them.

      "It was much easier because I didn't need to get up and go anywhere to nurse him. All I had to do was roll over," said Lauren Michie.

      Thirty-two-year-old mother of three, Lauren Michie, said and her husband never intended to be a co-sleeping family. But she says, it's just what worked for them

      Michie said with her first child, the baby would sleep in-between her and her husband, with a doctor recommended Sleep Sak and no blankets or pillows.

      "My husband and I felt comfortable with our babies sleeping with us, and we did it in a way that we felt safe with," Michie said.

      When Michie's second and third children were born, they, too, shared the same bed.

      Co-sleeping can mean sharing a room with your child or it can mean sharing a bed.

      I inquired, "Room sharing is recommended, but bed sharing is not?"

      "Exactly," said Dr. Miesel. "The American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend room-sharing as a way to reduce the risk of SIDS."

      SIDS is sudden infant death syndrome.

      Some health experts claim "bed-sharing" can contribute to infant mortality.

      "It also increases the risk of death due to suffocation or strangulation," said Dr. Miesel.

      Even though most doctors, like Dr. Miesel, advise against bed-sharing, they support their patients' decisions.

      "If a family does want to sleep with their infant, I strongly encourage them to do a device that attaches to your bed, that's sort of like a pack-n-play, but it doesn't have a side on it that's closest to your mattress. And so, it's flush with your mattress, but it's a separate sleep surface for the baby," Dr. Miesel said.

      No matter your choice, whether to room-share, bed-share, or neither, there are options to keep your baby safe.

      There's a national safe-sleep campaign stating what health officials have found to be the most current recommendations for safe-sleep for your infant.

      It's important to note that during my research, I found that it is unheard of not to co-sleep with your baby in many countries throughout South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

      Those countries suffered a much lower rate of infant mortality. However, health officials say differences in mattresses, bedding, and other cultural practices may account for the lower risks in other countries, compared to the U.S.