Sometimes I get a comment that deserves to be moved front and center, instead of me simply responding to it in the comment section.
I have emailed the author (who you can find at Where Love and Chaos Reign) the entire text of this post and got her permission to re-post her comment in this manner.
Her comment is as follows:
twinmomma <email@example.com> wrote:
I vehemently disagree that formula feeding is a contraindication for bed sharing. Adopted children could never bed share then. This is ridiculous to me. Formula feeding and SAFE bedsharing is the key. In your previous post you said the one thing all those cases had in common was formula feeding. NO. The one thing all those cases had in common was UNSAFE bed sharing. Intoxication, inappropriate bedding, medicated parents, couch sleeping, etc… Not formula feeding. I take a huge exception to the idea that a non-nursing mother cannot bedshare. My twins were only partially breastfed for their first five months. I was unable to create sufficient supply and my daughter completely gave up nursing as soon as she tried a bottle. While we were not a full-time bedsharing family, I shared my bed with both children (separately) on nights when it was the only thing that would work to get all of us some sleep. My son was severely colicky and there were many nights sleeping next to me curled up was the only thing that got us through.
I’ve read all the co-sleeping recommendations and I have always felt that the bottle vs. breast argument is just one more way for people to find a way to make moms who can’t breastfeed feel inferior. The argument that a bottle fed baby roots for food differently is a moot point if you’re in a safe bedsharing environment. Because a safe bedsharing environment should mirror what a safe crib looks like. Nothing extraneous, only a sheet. If the “rooting for food” is what causes the issue, then this behavior happens in a crib or co-sleeper as well. As long as the family bed mirrors that environment, then the breast or bottle argument goes away. It’s pillows, it’s spaces between the bed and the wall, it’s comforters, etc… that cause the problem.
When I said the one thing all those cases had in common, I was referring to the fact that not ALL of them occurred in a bed, some occurred on a couch or a chair. Not all of them involved a parent who was drinking, some involved a parent using illicit drugs and one involved a grandmother on prescription medication.
But you’re right. The MAIN thing they all had in common was unsafe bed sharing conditions. Thank you for pointing that out.
As for my stance regarding formula fed babies and bed sharing, you may be right about that as well. If done safely, there should be no reason why a formula fed baby cannot safely share a bed with the primary parent. My stance was formed after reading numerous articles regarding bed sharing.
This one states, “Formula feeding mothers and fathers are less likely to sense their child’s presence and should be more cautious about their co-sleeping arrangements.” However, it doesn’t state a formula fed baby should NOT bed share. It simply warns parents to be more cautious. Personally, I feel if a child is breastfed at all, whether partially or fully, that physical awareness between mother/child is formed and ever-present.
This study concludes: “While breastfeeding mothers bed-shared with their infants in a characteristic manner that provided several safety benefits, formula-feeding mothers bed-shared in a more variable manner with consequences for infant safety.”
The strongest basis for my opinion regarding bed sharing and formula fed babies comes from Dr. Jim McKenna. He is a huge proponent for safe bed sharing. As stated, in this article:
Jim McKenna is one of the nation’s leading academic experts on bed sharing. McKenna agrees bed sharing has its dangers. But his research shows there is one thing in particular separating the safe bed sharing parents from the rest. 100 percent of the cases in Milwaukee County — all the babies were formula fed. McKenna predicted that, saying his research shows breastfeeding vitally affects both sleep patterns and sleep position.
Dr. McKenna is so convinced breastfeeding is the key to safe bed sharing, he would never recommend a parent bed share without it.
Breast feeding vitally affects both sleep patterns and sleep position. But again, if all other factors are considered, if you have a safe family bed and/or your child has been breastfed to some extent, does that change the conclusion of Dr. McKenna’s studies? I would think it would have a drastic impact on it.
On the flip side, you’ve made a VERY good point and I find it impossible to argue your logic.
The argument that a bottle fed baby roots for food differently is a moot point if you’re in a safe bedsharing environment. Because a safe bedsharing environment should mirror what a safe crib looks like. Nothing extraneous, only a sheet. If the “rooting for food” is what causes the issue, then this behavior happens in a crib or co-sleeper as well. As long as the family bed mirrors that environment, then the breast or bottle argument goes away. It’s pillows, it’s spaces between the bed and the wall, it’s comforters, etc… that cause the problem.