MONCTON – The New Brunswick department of social development is going to begin reinforcing with its clients the potential dangers of some parenting practices such as co-sleeping.
Last week, social development minister Madeleine Dubé ordered social workers to review safe sleeping practices with their clients after two infant deaths in April were linked to co-sleeping.
The province’s child death review committee looked at the deaths and recommended the department undertake more assertive measures.
Co-sleeping involves babies and young children sleeping in the same bed with one or both parents, rather than in a separate room.
Stephanie Douthwright, who used to co-sleep with her now-2-year-old son Griffin, said she didn’t set out to do it initially.
“From the time that I brought him home he was very clingy and you could not even put him down,” she said.
Attachment parenting, which focuses on developing emotional bonds between children and parents, soon became her lifestyle, although she’s aware not everybody agrees with its methods.
“My family and friends always said ‘you should not get into that’ or…’he is never going to grow out of it,'” she said.
The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends against co-sleeping, while some studies have linked bed-sharing with sudden infant death syndrome.
Moncton mother Ashley Chase said she was too afraid to co-sleep with her seven-month-old son Lincoln.
“I am a really heavy sleeper and I was scared that I would hurt him…that I would roll over on him or something while I was sleeping,” she said.
Douthwright, who recently became a temporary foster parent, said she doesn’t co-sleep with her foster kids.
She said a conversation she had with the social development department was not focused on the dangers of co-sleeping, but “just the legalities of it”.
Although her foster kids sleep in their own beds, Douthwright said she would not change her approach with her own son.
“I would do it the same way again because now he is in his own bed and sleeps just fine,” she said.
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