[M]ost pediatricians concede that when babies are placed on their stomachs, they tend to sleep better, they are less apt to startle and they often sleep through the night sooner.The web consensus -- what a concept! (Are we supposed to capitalize web?)
And despite the warnings, a growing number of parents - exactly how many is impossible to quantify- are turning their backs on the Back to Sleep campaign. Postings on child-rearing Web sites also indicate a trend.
"The Web consensus is that it is O.K. to do," said Sarah Gilbert, a mother in Portland, Ore., and the editor of the popular Web log bloggingbaby.com.
This reminds me of the story I posted about last week about single women who seek to have children by artificial insemination and use the web to connect with those who support them and contradict the opposition they find in their immediate environment. It's important to see that the web is working this way, allowing people to escape the set opinions that surround them in the physical environment.
It works that way for me, by the way. I live in Madison, Wisconsin, an insular place, with a lot of fairly like-minded people. By blogging, I can leap beyond this place and get affirmation for saying things that would only otherwise have gotten me glares and shunning.
There is good and bad to this phenomenon. You can find support for all sorts of genuinely bad things on the web. But there's a very high end to the positive side. I think first of people in repressive countries getting inspired about freedom and individual rights. And there's every sort of thing in between.
Anyway, about stomach sleeping. I'm sure it's what I wanted as a baby, because I've never stopped (except when pregnancy made it impossible). To sleep on your stomach as an adult is not as looked down upon as putting your baby to sleep on its stomach, but it's something I find occasion to deny. I don't need my chiropractor scolding me and explaining to me about all the damage I'm doing to my spine and my neck. Get off my case! It's a great pleasure to sleep and to sleep face down is the best!
UPDATE: Lots of comments from parents, most of whom favor the comfortable baby, one of whom is grieving over the loss of a child to SIDS. You know, reading these comments, I suspect that the connection between SIDS and back sleeping is that the back-sleeping baby is sleeping less deeply and waking up a lot. The very thing parents don't like about back-sleeping is what protects from sudden death. But there should also be a question of what is lost if the baby isn't sleeping well. Perhaps the brain does not develop in the same way without solid sleep. Maybe the statistics about the increase in ADD and autism ought to be correlated to the back-sleeping trend.