Co-sleeping & SIDS in India!


This is not a scientific or statistical post. This is my opinion. 
I'm not preaching anything, this is just what I practice... 

That's perhaps the most serious topic I've ever written in this blog (may be next to the one of Organ Donation). 
Being a new mom, its only normal for me to read tons of sites about do's & dont's when it comes to the baby! One of things that I came across was SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)! Since we follow co-sleeping in our household, I got really freaked out reading about SIDS with all the AAP regulations.... But then, I came across this article (PDF link) in European Child Safety Alliance and this article in Mom Junction. So basically everything from co-sleeping to sling carry babywearing to walkers to bunk beds, are allllllllll dangerous!!!! That gave me the necessary insight - not to give a damn about it!!!
Pic Courtesy: Rupam Dey via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

Here are a thing or two about India that may be flabbergasting to the world! We believe in family system! Till date, there are several households where 3 generations live together. Adult children live with retired parents! Only the breadwinner changes, but the family is still intact! We are essentially co-sleepers. If women do not sleep with their newborns or toddlers, they're considered weird! Babies are usually put in a hammock in daytime and co-sleeps at night. A newborn child is a family responsibility and all 4 grand parents generally pitch-in, in care taking! 
Of all the statistics regarding SIDS and other 'dangerous' stuff, I found that the direction of the study was always like this - of all the infant deaths, how many are due to SIDS/Walker/Sling vs how many due to other reasons. My question is simple - I've survived co-sleeping and hammock (pic above) and walker (pic below)! So has the billion population of India! Has there been a statistics of the number of children who made it to adulthood 'inspite' of these practices vs number of children who died??? Infant mortality rate in India is relatively high but the reasons are mainly diarrhea, pneumonia etc and hardly any SIDS. 
Here are some more things about India vs Western world esp, USA & Europe. We've been using Turmeric in our everyday cuisine since ages, applying it on wounds, drinking with milk for cough etc! In 1993, a firm in USA got the patent for the medicinal use of Turmeric which was later challenged by India and the patent was revoked. In 1995, neem's medicinal value was patented in Europe which was later revoked after challenged by India! We've been using neem since ages! Our traditional toothbrush was just a neem stick which was chewed on! Most houses had a neem tree in front that served as an atmospheric cleanser!!! After recommending not to introduce dairy products till 1 yr of age since all these years, 'now' studies in USA are coming up to say that the earlier its introduced, the lesser the chances of lactose intolerance!!! Indians have been feeding their infants with a mix of mushy rice, lentils and clarified butter since ages....
There is something called India's Traditional Knowledge Digital Library which in available in English, Spanish, German, French & Japanese languages that is an extensive but not yet an exhaustive list of our local medicinal knowledge, health knowledge (like yoga) etc that we've practicing since centuries!!!
So here it goes - We've been co-sleeping since centuries, using our traditional walkers since centuries, wearing our babies in slings since centuries (till date, you can see women wearing their babies and doing heavy work like carrying a load of bricks on their head or plucking tea leaves!), adding clarified butter (called ghee) while introducing solids since centuries, cloth diapering our babies since centuries (I was, my mom was cloth diapered!), used cloth menstrual pads since centuries. There's a gorgeous, decades (probably a century) old cradle (like in above pic) at my granny's place and I wanted to use it for my daughter, but somehow we ended up in a different country so I couldn't! Like always & everything else, now USA & Europe have declared our practices dangerous. In a couple decades, the tables will turn and some firm in USA or Europe will try to patent these too and propagate the goodness of these things as well!!!! 
On the other hand, UNICEF (PDF link) actually promotes co-sleeping! As of now, there's only one fool proof guide for child safety. Its called - Mother's Instinct (also may be father's or granny's instinct)! 



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5 comments

  1. I know some parents who practice co-sleeping because it is the only way to get their kids to sleep. I also know of some children who regularly wake up during the night, climb out of their beds and then go to or even jump to (if their bed is next to) their parents' bed. I've never heard that co-sleeping caused any harm to anyone, I suppose that accidents are always possible, but accidents also happen when kids are left on their own in their cradles or their beds. I haven't read any statistics so I can't compare, but many things can be potentially dangerous and accidents always happen, both to adults and children.

    I read somewhere that passive smoking is the main cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. I'm not sure is it true, but it makes sense. The infant lungs aren't properly developed, so even small amount of cigarette smoke can be potentially dangerous to them. Passive smoking is dangerous even for adults and obviously more so for kids. When I see people smoking in front of their kids and babies, it makes me so frustrated.

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  2. I know that these hammocks are also being used in some of the provinces and faraway neighborhoods in the Philippines. They're not deemed as unsafe here, I think.

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  3. SIDS is a new term I learn from your blog and it's definitely a must learn for all, not just for moms.

    May your baby grow stronger, safe and healthy following the said safety standards.

    Thanks! :)

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  4. Hearing about SIDS makes me a bit sad, I just realized that there are many unfortunate victims all around the world and it's just the cruelty of nature. I hope more campaigns and events are publicly available for more awareness.

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  5. An excellent piece of honest writing. I am not being prejudiced but none can know about the (crooked) ways of the Western World than we Indians :)

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