While, as you replied to "Sleepy in California" (Sept. 17), some parents do "co-sleep" with their children for the first few months, what you were referring to is actually "bed sharing." Bed sharing was shown in studies several years ago to be the greatest risk factor for sleep-related deaths in infants younger than 4 months.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the March of Dimes have both recommended (for years) against bed sharing in these young infants. Instead, they recommend that young infants sleep in cribs near their parents. They should, of course, be on their backs and should not be sleeping with blankets or toys.
These deaths, mostly from suffocation or overheating, are sad and mostly preventable. The acceptance of bed sharing due to cultural influences is difficult to overcome. Please help by taking the time to educate your readers on the dangers of bed sharing with infants.
- C. Smith, M.D., FAAP
DEAR DR. SMITH: I appreciate your writing to me. Your point is an important one, and that I omitted it was an oversight. I hope parents of infants will take your wise counsel to heart.
Shocked, repulsed by daughter's revelation
My daughter is 29, and we recently had a respectful, although heated, discussion about politics, agendas, and the candidates. It turned out that we disagree on major issues, and we both can give chapter and verse about why we believe the way we do.
Something came to light, though. She's not the person I thought she was. She informed me that she had had an abortion. My feelings on this issue aren't a judgment call. This is a belief system for me, something ingrained in me. If she were a stranger, I would absolutely not be around her. Knowing what I do now, I am crushed.
She's my daughter, and we have always had our differences. But I feel so strongly about what she's doing and has done that I no longer want to be in the same room with her. She has a son I adore with all my heart, and I provide child care for him. I feel broken right now and could really use guidance.
- Broken in Illinois
DEAR BROKEN: I can only imagine how you must have felt to have learned about the abortion during a "heated discussion." However, there is a common misconception that women who decide to terminate a pregnancy do so lightly. They don't. If you don't know your daughter's reason for having hers, it might benefit both of you to talk calmly about it. You don't have to approve of her choice, but you should hear what she has to say.
Because you feel broken, this is something you should discuss with your religious adviser and take your cue from him or her. To cut off relations with your daughter - and, by extension, your grandson - would benefit no one.
Gift-giving courtesy for engagement party
Are you supposed to take a gift to an engagement party? The couple have been living together. They just got engaged and are planning a wedding in two years.
- Ana Marie in Texas
DEAR ANA MARIE: A gift would be a nice gesture. It doesn't have to be lavish - a lovely frame for their engagement picture would be thoughtful, because a wedding is now in the picture.