Is co-sleeping really like baby sleeping with a knife?

The Milwaukee, Wisc., Department of Health has released a new ad to help fight infant mortality. The ad focuses on stopping parents from co-sleeping and shows a baby on fluffy bedding sleeping with a very large knife!

From The Huffington Post:

“Bevan Baker, Milwaukee’s Commissioner of Health, acknowledged that some might find ads to be a bit extreme.”

“Is it shocking? Is it provocative? Yes. But what is even more shocking and provocative is that 30 developed and underdeveloped countries have better [infant death] rates than Milwaukee,” he told theJournal Sentinel.”

“The Milwaukee Health Department hopes the ads will help lower the city’s infant mortality rate, which was “10.4 deaths for every 1,000 live births” in 2009, the Journal Sentinel points out.”

“Co-sleeping is a common practice in other cultures in Asia, Africa, Europe and Central and South America, but it has been a topic of much debate in the United States.”

Other experts comment in the story with pros and cons. Dr. William Sears, one of my favorites, is of course pro co-sleeping. NBC’s Chief Medical Editor Nancy Snyderman thought the message against co-sleeping was right but the ad was wrong.

Personally, I don’t think Milwaukee’s Mr. Baker is making much sense. He saying that all these other third-world countries have lower infant death rates but guess what – many of those families co-sleep!!!

I think Milwaukee needs to look more closely at their statistics with the deaths – are the parents drunk or high in bed? Are they overweight? Are they using fluffy bedding? Were there other underlying factors other than the co-sleeping?

You all know that I co-slept with all three of my kids. I think it is comforting to the babies, it makes night-time feedings easier if you are breastfeeding and overall has been a happy thing for our family. However, I do agree with Dr. Sears that there are rules to do it safely!!!

Here are a few of the rules: You don’t go to bed with an infant if you are intoxicated! You don’t go to bed if with an infant if you are drugged up! They do not recommend co-sleeping if the parents are overweight. There shouldn’t be pillows or fluffly blankets near the baby or on the bed if possible! Put up a baby-safe guard rail on the side so the baby won’t fall out or put the mattress on the floor. Don’t let the baby sleep between parents. Put the baby BACK to sleep!

See all of Dr. Sears’ best practices for co-sleeping here.

The ad has been criticized by others for showing the wrong way to co-sleep – fluffy blankets and pillows – oh yeah and a knife in the bed!

So what do you think: Is the ad over the top? Is it effective way to quell co-sleeping? Would an ad showing the right way to co-sleep be more effective?

30 comments Add your comment


November 23rd, 2011
6:02 am

i slept with all my babies for the same reasons you give. the worst thing about it is then trying to get them to sleep in their own beds. im advising my daughter not to do it often because of that reason alone. of course as you say-if ou are over weight or drunk or on drugs dont sleep with your baby…in fact-if you want to drink get a baby sitter!!!!!!! and dont do drugs! geeze.


November 23rd, 2011
6:34 am

We took our 18 month old camping, where I was doing some climbing with some buddies. It was about 18-20 degrees at night. Day time was easy; mom kept watch and an eye on shaggy too, with a spotter scope. At night, after we had had some camp fire time and great fellowswhip with some amazing people, where he was a star of the show, I zipped him with me, in my biggest Marmot bag. We both slept like, well…babies. He slept with me, because I sleep lightly…its’ that Alpine start thing…look that up if you don’t know what mountaineers do to make it up those big piles of stone. Ms. shaggy and I, took some great pictures and he says that he remembers that trip, although I have my doubts.
Four days we were out there that time…there have been many more out theres since. I carried him in and out, hitched in front, with about 50 lbs of gear on my back. I was much more careful hauling a precious load than even climbing, and I am a very safe climber.


November 23rd, 2011
7:29 am

Mammals have been co-sleeping for millions of years. The question shouldn’t be is it dangerous to co-sleep with your baby, but rather is it dangerous NOT to co-sleep with your baby.

Sick of Being Cheated on by Skankz

November 23rd, 2011
7:41 am

I would more liken co-sleeping with a flight attendant (or my ex-girlfriend) to sleeping with a knife.


November 23rd, 2011
8:04 am

My current girlfriend has co-slept with her son all his life. Now he’s 8 and he doesn’t want to sleep in his own bed and she doesn’t have the heart to make him. As you can imagine, this is causing problems for our relationship. Probably no future for us as I don’t intend to share our bed with her kid.


November 23rd, 2011
8:12 am

@ Me,

What you got there is a momma’s boy. Does he wear dresses too? Oh, I shouldn’t say that. I’m sure many of the mom-posters here think it’s cute that some boys like to dress like girls.

Get out while you still can, and speak not a word of it to her; before you know it, she’ll “forget” to take the pill and you’ll be anchored to that momma’s-boy-enabler of a GF for life.

Mtn Steve

November 23rd, 2011
8:16 am

You can actually buy a thing called a co-sleeper that attaches to your bed. It is a small bed next to your bed and when the baby needs comfort or feeding you can roll over pull them out and when they are back sleeping you can put them back into the co-sleeper. We had one we used with both our sons. Also both my sons sleep in their own rooms and have done so for a long time. Co sleeping does not lead to permanent bed sharing.


November 23rd, 2011
8:18 am

No experience with sleeping with my babies. I breast fed them and put them back in their own bed.


November 23rd, 2011
8:39 am

No co-sleeping here either. She got fed, and put back in her bed.

When she was younger, she would crawl into my bed in the early mornings. I had no problem with that. But she had her own room, and her own bed.

Right before she moved out, she did come crawl into bed with me one Sunday morning. I wouldn’t trade that for anything!!!!!! Nothing like a 20 year old still wanting to snuggle with her mommy….


November 23rd, 2011
9:10 am

@ Roekest,

I hear ya, brother!

The Reverend Baby Doctor Bedpan

November 23rd, 2011
9:11 am

Of course co-sleeping is not like sleeping with a knife. That’s absurd!

It’s more like sleeping with a a dozen forks and three spoons.


November 23rd, 2011
9:15 am

No co-sleeping here either and here is why. When we brought our first child home, I co-slept with her up until day 3. On that day, something just woke me up suddenly and I realized I was laying on top of her. No drugs or alcohol were involved and I am not overweight either; it was just PURE exhaustion.

I breast-fed both my babies, but would feed them and put them back in their crib. I did put the crib in my room for the first 6 months or so to make nighttime feedings easier. The only time after that incident that either of the kids slept with me were for naps as they got older. I really like to have my bed for me and the hubby as it’s the only place in the house that we can have first dibs on.

And ME makes a point… my sister-in-law co-slept with her son until he was about 6. She wanted to start dating again and wanted her bed back. It took her TWO years to get that boy to sleep in his bed. It even took her having to lock her door for the first couple of months. It may work for some people, but that first incident I took as a sign that it wasn’t for me.


November 23rd, 2011
9:58 am

I breast fed my kids but no co-sleeping. Weaning a kid off sleeping with you is like weaning them off heroin, except worse! My kids, put together, have slept with me less than a half dozen times (due to power outages).

I know of no one who had an easy time teaching their children to sleep alone after sharing a bed with them. Parenthood is hard enough–why add to it!

Juggs N Buns magazine

November 23rd, 2011
10:06 am

Hmmmm….More breast feeding stories. Keep them coming ladies!


November 23rd, 2011
10:19 am

I think the ad is silly, but I’m not an advocate of co- sleeping. I think young infants in the same room in a cradle or in one of the attachable co-sleepers works well, but I’m a firm believer in putting babies back to sleep on their own so they can learn to self-soothe from the beginning. I also cannot get a restful night’s sleep with a baby or child in my bed, and my ability to be a good mother is definitely affected by getting some sleep! We never experienced any issues with our kids not wanting to go to bed or sleeping through the night.

I don’t really care if parents co- sleep, but I do think it can be very dangerous and seems to fit a certain type of parent that often causes me to roll my eyes and sigh deeply. I think it should be pointed out that many of the 3rd world countries people site as practicers of co-sleeping don’t have any other choice – there’s nowhere else for the baby to sleep.


November 23rd, 2011
10:33 am

I knew a lady who co-slept with her kid. At the age of 10, he went to spend the night with a friend, and ended up having to go home, because he couldn’t sleep alone…..


November 23rd, 2011
10:56 am

I am on my 3rd child. The oldest are 15 & 13 and the baby will be 2 on Christmas Day. I have breastfed and co-slept with all three. My oldest moved into his own bed (and weaned) when I was pregnant with his sister. His sister, my independent child, self weaned and moved into her own bed before her first birthday. The baby? He’s a big mama’s boy and will probably be on the boob & in my bed till he’s in kindergarten. In the time I call BK (before kids), I was a heavy sleeper. Now, the slightest movement wakes me up. I’m not saying I don’t get a good nights sleep because I do. I’m just aware of where my kid is and his night movements. Co-sleeping isn’t for everyone, just like cloth diapering, making your kid his own homemade organic baby food, or baby wearing. I did, and continue to do what I feel is best for my kids.Eh, to each his own.


November 23rd, 2011
12:14 pm

For how long? And how do you manage to maintain a sexual relationship with your husband if your baby is on the bed with you?


November 23rd, 2011
1:29 pm

I’m not a big proponent of having the baby in the room, either. Our first was never in our room. Our second was in the room in a basinett for 3 weeks. The third was there about 2 months (we were running out of room). Getting a baby out of your room is also tough. To me, once the cord was cut, that was it. We were separate people, and I had to acknowledge that.


November 23rd, 2011
1:31 pm

I know a 14 year old boy who still sleeps with his Mom.

I think that’s just wrong.


November 23rd, 2011
1:31 pm

When my son was in the hospital my daughter, who was almost 8 stayed with some dear friends who had a “family bed.” There were the parents and 2 sons, one of whom was still suckling–he was 3. She didn’t sleep much–said it was too wierd. She finally asked if she could sleep on the sofa.

[...] Continue reading here: Baby sleeping with knife: Does anti-co-sleeping ad cross a line … [...]


November 23rd, 2011
2:12 pm

I co-slept with both of my two, and did not have a problem moving either of them to their own room, though they will still both come get in the bed with me about an hour before we have to get up. I love that- waking up all snuggled up together!

I liked being close to my babies so I could monitor them and give assurance that I was close if they needed anything during the night. Also, I think I got more sleep that way- I didnt have to wake totally up and walk down the hall when they woke up!


November 23rd, 2011
3:35 pm

I co-slept with my two. Neither one graduated to “sleeping through the night” or anything close to it for 8-10 months. This meant I was chronically short sleep AND had to wake once or twice during the night to feed them. Co-sleeping meant that I only had to wake up long enough to get a baby latched on and then I could drift off.

I’m very good at remaining in one position while I sleep, which I regret because my co-sleeping husband is very good at rolling over and hogging the blankets.

I second the motion that people who abuse drugs and alcohol should not care for children. “Why not drink? You are at home, what could happen?” one incredulous commenter asked. First, if anything does happen – you are the responsible adult, which is easier to do when you are sober. Second, “What could happen?” is answered every year by infant deaths usually caused by unattended babies in dangerous situations (bath tubs in particular) – while the parent is either off partying, incapacitated due to drug use or lost track of time due to being sloshed, stoned or otherwise under the influence.


November 24th, 2011
2:51 am

I have coslept with all three of my children. I am an advocate for cosleeping, if it is something that works for your family. If you are a deep sleeper, it is not for you. If you are a super light sleeper, it is not for you. If you smoke or abuse alcohol/drugs, it is not for you. If you take medication that affects your sleep, it is not for you. If you are overweight, it is not for you. If you have a super soft fluffy bed, don’t put your baby to sleep in it. Cosleeping is awesome, whether in the same room or same bed, for both mother and baby.

There is a reason for these ads, though. They are targeted towards people who are not making a conscious choice to cosleep. Due to poor economic status, they must share a bed with their children. They are killing their babies. Their infant mortality rates due to bedsharing are not good. These ads will not change the minds of people like me. In a lot of instances, I believe cosleeping is the best for families. However, these ads are needed to educate people who just don’t know better.


November 25th, 2011
4:59 pm

It made sense for us, my wife breastfed and it turned out great. Do what works for you.


November 27th, 2011
9:47 pm

Our first 2 were always put in their crib. # 3 started there but about 3 months in I brought him to our bed when he woke up for his middle of the night feeding. With #4 we did that almost from the start. As toddlers, all climbed in with us if they woke up in the night at which point the dog would join us too. We had no more trouble getting the last 2 to go to bed in their Big Kid Beds at age 2 than we did with the first 2. None of them had any trouble sleeping over at a friend’s house even at 4yo.
Do what works for you and ignore those who claim there is only one way to do.


November 28th, 2011
9:22 am

No co-sleeping here. I move around too much when I sleep and it was never something I wanted to do. My son has always slept in his own be. Sometimes he climbs in bed with me at night but I usually move him back to his own bed. You wouldn’t believe how much room a small child can take up! When he was a baby he always slept just fine in his crib and was sleeping though the night sooner than expected too. Worked out just fine.

K's mom

November 28th, 2011
11:57 am

We had a bassinet right next to our bed for a month with my son and it worked well and he transitioned to his bed easily. I plan to do the same with baby #2.


November 28th, 2011
1:14 pm

My youngest daughter was sleeping with me one night and I woke up to a scream to find that she had somehow rolled herself up in my hair and was choking. From that point forward, I didn’t bring her back to my bed unless she was sick and then I made sure my hair was pulled up.