Utah Parents Charged with Murder for Co-Sleeping with their Infant

crib.jpgIn West Jordan, Utah, Trevor Collet Merrill and Echo J. Nielsen, both 24, are charged with third-degree felony child-abuse homicide and class B misdemeanor reckless endangerment in the death of their three-month-old son Kayson Bradley Merrill.

The couple went to bed with the baby and awoke to find he was dead. The medical examiner testified that he believe Kayson died because during the night he was rolled onto his stomach, which obstructed his ability to breathe. It’s called “positional asphyxia” and it’s preventable if the child sleeps alone, on his back, in a crib.

This isn’t the first time this couple had a child die. In 2003, their first child, Janessa Merrill, also died while co-sleeping with her parents. She was only 24 days old, and her death was ruled accidental. This time around, Trevor and Echo were charged because prosecutors felt they should have been aware of the dangers of co-sleeping with infants.

The parents’ attorneys are claiming that Kayson died from chronic meningitis. However, the family’s pediatrician saw Kayson the day before he died and said he was healthy. 

I’m not sure whether to feel sad for these folks or be outraged at how stupid they are. This is sure to get a lot of attention from the Attachment Parenting people.

Category: Abuse
  • Annihilationone

    I never co-sleep with my kids just because I am a heavy sleeper and I toss and turn alot. I think that if a person is educated and has something like a barrier, as mentioned in a comment before, I think that would help to insure a bit more saftey. To each their own.

    • http://badbreeders.net/ Malevolent April

      Those co-sleepers keep them close to you, but not in your bed!  I think they are awesome!

  • Danielle

    This is an annoying arguement.

    Ok with co-sleeping? Do it.
    Against it? Don’t do it.

    Argurment over. Next subject.

    • http://badbreeders.net/ Malevolent April

      Yeah.  Let’s talk about the generic insult about how fat I / we (am) are:
      I love that, as a mod, I get every comment emailed to me so I can respond to any and all via email (I don’t even have to go to the site to respond), and that makes me fat.  Why is that?  I work at a desk and keep my email on all day.  So what?  95% of the people I work with are NOT overweight and we all do the same job.  So why do I have to be the one that’s fat?  My clothes are in single digits.  Hell, I have even seen women who sport a size 14 and they are hardly fat.  Why not add that I have a smelly snatch and I’m a slut?  Or maybe tell me my husband is probably fucking my best friend.  It can’t get any more generic.
      Here.  Let me help those who aren’t creative enough to come up with insults (if that’s what they are really going for).  First of all, you have to know my weaknesses to insult me - my weight isn’t one of them.  My husband will NEVER cheat on me.  So that’s out.  My vagina is in working order.  So that out.  I have only slept with one man in the past 15 years.  So that’s out.  I get hit on be teenagers even though I’m 36.  So calling me old or ugly is out.  Let’s see…. I tend to be a retard magnet because I’m to fucking nice to people.  My kindness is NEVER rewarded because I’m too giving.  That stings a little.  Maybe I’m a dope.  Hopefully that will help the next asshat that wants to call me fat.  try to dig a little deeper.  “Fat” doesn’t cut it.

      • Artistjams

        Eh! I take it like this…

        “OMG! You don’t believe in the exact same way that I do and then you actually stand up for yourself when I try to bully you back into my kind of thinking?? Well….you…you…YOU’RE FAT!

        My 9 year old can come up with better, more insulting shit. I know you don’t sweat the small stuff…but, just wanted to put that out there.

        • http://badbreeders.net/ Malevolent April

          Thanks, Jams.  I’m actually kind of fond of my body  – even if some troll wants to think I’m fat.  Yes, I said troll.  Having multiple screen names and using different email addresses doesn’t hide that they are coming from the same IP address, and that makes someone a troll.  Also, I thought we were having a healthy debate.  I saw no bashing (on my end).  I simply called a comment “ignorant” which was the case.  There was no links to her / its so called “statistics”.  I posted links.  Anyhow, it can be debated until we are blue in the face.  I guess co-sleeping and the fact I didn’t breast feed makes me a monster.  And a fat one, at that.  Now let’s start bashing parents who don’t breastfeed.
          Better yet, let’s talk about kids killing themselves because of shit like being called fat by their peers.  It’s on my mind today.  REALLY on my mind.

      • Mt

        Are you still going on about this I didnt say you were fat. I said to relieve stress. You were getting hostile, not me. Anyway. keep writing, it obviosly got you very worked up. Thats why I ignored the subject because you blew it out of proportion.

        • http://badbreeders.net/ Malevolent April

          I’m not stressed and I’m not worked up.  How nice that you think you would have an affect on my stress level.  You aren’t that special.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Susan-Moore/739364689 Susan Moore

    The statistics you posted are good for the United States. It also seems that the deaths occurred while not using any of the devices you have been linked to. Co-sleeping isn’t what everyone thinks it is. It’s not ALWAYS having the baby right next to you in your bed. It is having the child in the same room in their bassinet, or also in a co-sleeping crib right next to your bed.

    Also, where are your international statistics? Sorry, but children all over the world in first world countries are used to family beds, and also even family baths, and they have lower mortality rates than the US. Can you explain that one to me?

    • http://badbreeders.net/ Malevolent April

      I read the statistical findings, as well.  Let’s not forget that certain percentages of those co-sleeping deaths are caused by water beds, beds where the child gets strangled by rails or other openings on the bed.  Here.   Iwill post a link – http://www.thediaperlady.com/co-sleeping.htm
      CPSC’s study is the first to quantify the number of fatalities resulting from the practice of co-sleeping with babies. Of the 515 deaths, 121 were reported to be due to a parent, caregiver or sibling rolling on top of or against the baby while sleeping. More than three-quarters of these deaths occurred to infants younger than 3 months. The other 394 deaths resulted from suffocation or from strangulation caused by entrapment of the child’s head in various structures of the bed. Entrapments occurred between the mattress and the wall, bed frame, headboard, footboard, bed railings or adjacent furniture.

      Again – There is a safe way to co-sleep.  Parent just need to use their heads.  In fact, there are more crib related deaths than co-sleeping deaths.

      • Mt

        Well ladies, this is a battle that won’t be won by either side. Its everyone opinions and how you  choose to do it including me is all up to the parent. I sleep better knowing I can sleep deep so I wont roll on my baby or have to worry about him at night. Whatever gets you through. We can argue forever. That’s fine. But I don’t have the time. WIsh you ladies the best and we are better mothers for going with our OWN insincts, whatever they may be (co-sleeping or not) Obviously are minds won’t be swayed and thats perfectly fine. But this can go on day and night. Have a good day.

        • http://badbreeders.net/ Malevolent April

          Which is the point I tried to get to earlier.  I posted statistics on co-sleeping.  It simply isn’t the horror story people paint it out to be.  Especially with the use of a co-sleeping device.  It IS the choice of the parent, but the whole picture should be considered – I think a parent co-bleeping with fluffy pillows, blankets, slotted headboards, etc, should be held accountable in the case of a death.  I think parents that are overweight or have any other medical problems that could cause sleep issues where they wou;dn’t be aware of rolling onto the baby, or on sleeping meds (over the counter, perscription – especially one that cause drowsiness, illegal drugs and alcohol), should be held accountable in the case of a co-sleeping death.  There are many factors to consider.  The statement “there is no safe way to co-sleep” is totally inaccurate.  I STORNGLY believe that most (not all) of the co-sleepers on the market are a perfect way to co-sleep safely.  That being said – I would not co-sleep again.  For the sheer fact that it’s a hard habit to break a child of, not for the lack of safety.
          Now, you go on and have yourself a good day too.  With that, I guess I better put down this donut and get my fat ass to the gym.  I guess all of my beach exercise isn’t enough.

    • http://badbreeders.net/ Malevolent April

      Let’s not forget about the bonding aspect of co-sleeping.

  • Artistjams

    Personally, I wouldn’t have felt this story belonged on BB until I read down and saw that this is the SECOND child that died due to co-sleeping. They obviously weren’t doing something right.

    I co-slept with my daughter. The only thing that made me regret it is that she got attached to my bed and stayed there until almost 9 years old. It was hell for me getting kicked and smacked in her sleep.

    I did it because I nursed her and it was less disruptive to EVERYONE if I could just grab her and feed. I never drank or took sleeping pills or anything like that (of course, because of the breastfeeding but also because I didn’t want to be stone-dead sleeping around her). I also never put her on the side of my husband because I was afraid his 215 lbs and his tendency to sleep like a rock could hurt her.

    BUT! If I had a kid that had previously died due to those sleeping arrangements, I would think that I’d be sooo OVERLY paranoid about it that she’d be in her crib with NOTHING in it, and I’d probably be smoothing out the wrinkles in her fitted sheet even!

  • love babies

    There is no safe way to co sleep. It’s plain and simple, babies can suffocate, or parents can roll on top of them. Even if you are a light sleeper. Its not by any “method” its just plain and simple logic. Current studies help guide us to decide how to raise our children.  That’s why even bumper guards are banned in areas like Chicago, its a suffocation hazard, same as bedding or a soft mattress or even people. Yes, cribs at ONE POINT were dangerous but not anymore. Cribs are at the highest standards now.  Everyone has their own opinions, but more and more babies are dying, and it’s sad.

    • Danielle

      I’m sorry, but I will have to respectfully disagree. My kids co-slept with me as babies and they are fine. I had a barrier insert that we bought that my younger one slept in so we wouldn’t roll on her, but my older one just slept right in the middle of us. My 2-year old still co-sleeps (even though I’m ready for her to go to her bed) and my older one co-slept until she was 5. The blanket statement of “there’s no safe way to co sleep” is just untrue. There are tons of ways to do it safely.

      Its like saying all pit bulls are viscous killers, just not true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Susan-Moore/739364689 Susan Moore

    There are three sides to the world of attachment parenting. Those who do it by the book, those who pick and choose what makes them feel comfortable and they’ve educated themselves about, and those who are completely against it. Honestly, there are safe ways to co-sleeping. It’s not luck. You have to educate yourself on safe co-sleeping for it to be safe.

     The American Pediatric Association’s guidelines are informative, but they have gone back and changed things several times when it comes to babies and what is safe or best. Breastfeeding is best for babies, yet, the APA told many women for YEARS that baby formula is best, they have switched the position your child should sleep in several times, and most recently the changing of delaying “high allergen foods” such as citrus fruits, peanut butter, eggs, nuts, etc to not needing to delay them because the delay makes kids more likely to be allergic to the food. UGH! Parenting is a complicated and confusing world when it comes to some things.

    I’ve co-slept with all three of my children, but once they reached age to roll around in bed, they were then introduced to their own bed, and within a week were sleeping on their own in their crib. I plan to co-sleep with #4 as well.

  • Mt

    Co-sleeping is so dangerous, people who say they have co-slept just happen to get lucky. These are examples. Why would you put your children at risk?  It just doesn’t happen to drunk, overweight drug abusers. It is so simple. Just follow the Amrican Pediatric guidelines to safe sleep which is in a crib with just a fitted sheet.

    • Danielle

      That’s like saying that you’re putting your kids as risk by putting them in a car b/c other people have been in car accidents. There are plenty of ways to very safely co-sleep.

      • Mt

        Co-sleeping is preventable. Car Accidents are “accidents”. Thats the difference. Most parents arent light sleepers. All im saying is why would you risk it. Parents love their sleep, I do too, but not worth risking waking up to a dead child. I personally heard sooo many horror stories enough to make me NEVER want to do it. 

        • http://badbreeders.net/ Malevolent April

          Car accidents are preventable.  Don’t drive.  Crib death is preventable.  Don’t place you children in cribs.  House fires are preventable.  Don’t have flame or anything flam able in your fire retardant home.  There are responsible ways to co-sleep.  You won’t win this argument.  I’m not a co-sleeping advocate, but I can’t stand that ignorant opening line.

          • Mt

            Your opinion, thats all!! :)

          • http://badbreeders.net/ Malevolent April

            The same could be said about your comment.  You know what’s REALLY preventable?  All of the assholes “forgetting” their kids in the car.  Well, forgetting until they find them dead.  Perhaps that’s a fight you would rather argue?  Why waste your time arguing the co-sleeping bit?  It really can’t be won.  It’s not illegal and everyone will have a differnet stance on it.

          • Mt

            Its an opinion forum here. Dont get all worked up, take your energy else where like the gym if thats the case. No need to get defensive caus someone doesn’t agree. Its ok  to diagree. Get some sleep. :)

          • http://badbreeders.net/ Malevolent April

            No.  I get plenty of exercise.  Thanks.  How about you?  Is your waist the same size as your ego?  I can almosst bet mine is smaller than yours.

          • Mt

            Its an opinion. Stats dont lie.  

          • http://badbreeders.net/ Malevolent April

            Post your statistics.  Make sure to post how many of the co-sleeping deaths involved narcotics, alcohol, weight issues, etc.  Oh, and make sure to post how many co-sleeping deaths involved on of those co-sleeping devices I posted.

          • Mt

            Child Death Review stated that in 2000, there were 1,580 suffocations from babies sleeping in an adult bed. The baby suffocates when another person lays over them, or when they are smothered in bedding or furniture. Not due to drugs or alcohol.  The CPSC and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development are now reporting that babies sleeping in adult beds are twenty times more likely to suffocate than infants sleeping in a crib (National MCH Center For Child Death Review Keeping Kids Alive) If a baby is sleeping in your adult bed, there is also a possibility of the baby getting strangled. A sheet could wrap around his/her head, you could lay your arm over the baby’s throat, and anything is truly possible. An analysis of death certificates nationwide showed that the rate of fatalities attributed to unintentional suffocation and strangulation in the first year of life more than quadrupled from 1984 to 2004. The tragedies are relatively rare, and the study didn’t examine the cause of the increase, but the trend of infant deaths by accidental strangulation and suffocation coincides with the rise in bed-sharing (Stein, 2009).            Carrie K. Shapiro-Mendoza of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta led the study and her colleagues found the rate of accidental strangulation and suffocation deaths had increased from 2.8 to 12.5 per 100,000 live births during the twenty year study period, which increased the number of deaths from 103 in 1984 to 513 in 2004. It  is said that most of the increased occurred in 1996, which would be around the time that SIDS hit a plateau after falling by about half (Stein, 2009).Now i have to work. So here it is. Say what you want but I have to go offline. 

        • Danielle

          this is a pointless arguement where I don’t care if u agree with me or not, so I won’t waste my typing futher.  You don’t agree with me, and I don’t agree with you. Done deal.

  • MommyOfTwo

    i agree that it can be safe to co-sleep as long as ur educated about it and everything but come on people these two already lost ONE baby who they co-slept with to SIDS! they shouldve known better that they obviously are not aware of whats going on when they are sleeping and SHOULD NOT have co-slept with that baby! therefore im sorry but yes i do believe they are at fault but to be chargedatthe extent they are being charged sounds more like an example is being made out of them! no matter what its tragic that those two babies lives were lost due to the fact that neither the mother or the father was aware of their surroundings while the babies were in their bed. i fell asleep for an hour with my daughter on the couch everytime she would move i woke up! 

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  • loving_mom

    All of my babies co-slept with me and they are fine and dandy. They all slept on their sides, backs, and tummies just depending on which way they fell asleep. I had my ob tell me one thing, their ped tell me another, my mom tell me how i slept, my hubbys mom tell me how she put him to sleep and his step-mom tell me how my hubby slept when he was with her. I asked my dad and he told me to call my mom. I also had my grandmother and my great grandmother tell me how all of their kids slept. Everyone of them are alive and fine.

    I am saddened to hear that their is yet another child lost to SIDS and hope that one day they can find a way to prevent this from happening.

    As far as the parents go in one way I am happy that they are chraged with child abuse becasue, they have already gone through this. The had one lose due to SIDS why risk another. A bassenette fits perfectly on a queen size bed with plenty of room left over. On the other hand I feel for the mother losing 2 kids to the same thing she must be devasted. I would be.

  • loving_mom

    All of my babies co-slept with me and they are fine and dandy. They all slept on their sides, backs, and tummies just depending on which way they fell asleep. I had my ob tell me one thing, their ped tell me another, my mom tell me how i slept, my hubbys mom tell me how she put him to sleep and his step-mom tell me how my hubby slept when he was with her. I asked my dad and he told me to call my mom. I also had my grandmother and my great grandmother tell me how all of their kids slept. Everyone of them are alive and fine.

    I am saddened to hear that their is yet another child lost to SIDS and hope that one day they can find a way to prevent this from happening.

    As far as the parents go in one way I am happy that they are chraged with child abuse becasue, they have already gone through this. The had one lose due to SIDS why risk another. A bassenette fits perfectly on a queen size bed with plenty of room left over. On the other hand I feel for the mother losing 2 kids to the same thing she must be devasted. I would be.

  • Sarah Ali

    What????

  • Anonymous

    What????

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  • Janet

    My son co-slept with me until he was 3 years old. He was born early, and very prone to reflux, so it was a safety issue. His head had to be kept propped up for him to be safe. You can’t really do that safely if they are in a crib. He slept with his head propped on my arm. Of course, he was also breast-fed, so we both got a lot more sleep this way. But the bottom line is that by the age of 4 he was able to go to sleep on his own and sleep all night long. At 13 the biggest problem we have is that he wants to stay up later because he’s a teenager. But he has no problems on camping trips, or any other outing, going to sleep and staying asleep. If I had it to do over again, I would do the same thing.

  • Janet

    My son co-slept with me until he was 3 years old. He was born early, and very prone to reflux, so it was a safety issue. His head had to be kept propped up for him to be safe. You can’t really do that safely if they are in a crib. He slept with his head propped on my arm. Of course, he was also breast-fed, so we both got a lot more sleep this way. But the bottom line is that by the age of 4 he was able to go to sleep on his own and sleep all night long. At 13 the biggest problem we have is that he wants to stay up later because he’s a teenager. But he has no problems on camping trips, or any other outing, going to sleep and staying asleep. If I had it to do over again, I would do the same thing.

  • karen

    wendy…i know exazctly what you mean!!!! i have 14 children…7 bio and 7 adopted. i always brest fed…always held and comforted on demand…and always co-slept with my bio children. then when i started fostering, i found everything had changed. the way they had to be placed on their backs to sleep; the appropriate time to offer a little cereal; even the offering water….my pediatrician always encouraged extra water between feedings…for reasons that all made sense…to keep the kidneys functioning properly; keep the baby regular; cleanse the palate…now???? they told me no water while they’re infants…that there’s enough water in the formula and too much water can cause swelling of the brain and seizures?????? dear Lord…i’m amazed all my others survived!!!! i sometimes think they’re taking things too far as to what neglect is….and i wish they’d come up with a way to care for babies and stick to it!!!!

  • karen

    wendy…i know exazctly what you mean!!!! i have 14 children…7 bio and 7 adopted. i always brest fed…always held and comforted on demand…and always co-slept with my bio children. then when i started fostering, i found everything had changed. the way they had to be placed on their backs to sleep; the appropriate time to offer a little cereal; even the offering water….my pediatrician always encouraged extra water between feedings…for reasons that all made sense…to keep the kidneys functioning properly; keep the baby regular; cleanse the palate…now???? they told me no water while they’re infants…that there’s enough water in the formula and too much water can cause swelling of the brain and seizures?????? dear Lord…i’m amazed all my others survived!!!! i sometimes think they’re taking things too far as to what neglect is….and i wish they’d come up with a way to care for babies and stick to it!!!!

  • Momof5

    I cannot believe what I am seeing! I have five children…between the oldest and the youngest there is ten years difference. When I gave birth to my oldest daughter..the advice that was given to me was NEVER LET YOUR BABY SLEEP ON THEIR BACK! I was told..and have seen for myself hundreds of times, that babies have reflex that let them lift their heads while on their tummies, even as newborns. I was told that once the baby was old enough to roll over there was no difference in safety between back and tummy sleeping. When third child was born..they advocated only allowing a baby to sleep on their SIDE..because it was the safest way for a baby to sleep…they even marketed devices for it..like foam tubes covered in cloth that you tucked behind the baby. When my youngest children were born they said only back sleeping was acceptable. GIVE ME A BREAK! In the span of ten years authorities have done a complete 180 degree turn on their recommendations. I co slept with my children when they were infants..and only had ONE child who co slept with me longer than a year or so. Human beings have been sleeping together for centuries..and its the least disruptive way to nurse a baby in the night. I always knew where my baby was when i was sleeping and even woke up if i sensed that they may have kicked off their own blankets. Charging parents with murder for co-sleeping is like charging parents for abandonment for leaving a child with a sitter. I understand that two SIDS deaths seem suspicious..but as was stated before..SIDS deaths have a tendency to run in families and they are looking for a genetic component. I long ago stopped taking “authorities” findings as Gospel truth..and just learned to adjust based on the needs of that particular child.

  • Momof5

    I cannot believe what I am seeing! I have five children…between the oldest and the youngest there is ten years difference. When I gave birth to my oldest daughter..the advice that was given to me was NEVER LET YOUR BABY SLEEP ON THEIR BACK! I was told..and have seen for myself hundreds of times, that babies have reflex that let them lift their heads while on their tummies, even as newborns. I was told that once the baby was old enough to roll over there was no difference in safety between back and tummy sleeping. When third child was born..they advocated only allowing a baby to sleep on their SIDE..because it was the safest way for a baby to sleep…they even marketed devices for it..like foam tubes covered in cloth that you tucked behind the baby. When my youngest children were born they said only back sleeping was acceptable. GIVE ME A BREAK! In the span of ten years authorities have done a complete 180 degree turn on their recommendations. I co slept with my children when they were infants..and only had ONE child who co slept with me longer than a year or so. Human beings have been sleeping together for centuries..and its the least disruptive way to nurse a baby in the night. I always knew where my baby was when i was sleeping and even woke up if i sensed that they may have kicked off their own blankets. Charging parents with murder for co-sleeping is like charging parents for abandonment for leaving a child with a sitter. I understand that two SIDS deaths seem suspicious..but as was stated before..SIDS deaths have a tendency to run in families and they are looking for a genetic component. I long ago stopped taking “authorities” findings as Gospel truth..and just learned to adjust based on the needs of that particular child.

  • wendy

    Great ideas. I try to encourage people not to offer babysitting because it’s just fraught with issues, but to do things that encourage bonding, take stresses off the parents and kids, and model skills instead of preach. Help with filling out forms, making and keeping appointments, and basic childcare are the main concerns at first.

    Then more complex things; like laughing instead of responding angrily when a toddler plays with his food, or showing that folding laundry and playing with baby are not mutually exclusive activities, or involving older kids in housework without using guilt or anger. Setting up flexible routines for the meals and children.

    What amazes me is how quickly people take to the involvement. Sometimes moms just have the blues and need another mom to tell them that the occasional desire to jump out the window is normal. Sometimes there are home repairs to be done (I replaced a door and insulated windows– I think we all felt empowered by that experience) Other times, they just want someone to hold the baby so *they* can do the dishes or take a shower or work on a painting and not feel like the devil.

    I thought it would take years and years to see any lasting improvements but when you walk in the door and the home is clean, the little one has gained weight, the big one is reading a book, 4 of the 5 large dogs have found new homes it and mom no longer looks like she’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown– it starts sinking in that giving people attention works.

    I don’t really even have a name for it, let alone guidelines– we usually just call it the project or the non-agency. Ideally I’d want to set up a central non-profit and website with satellite local sites that are autonomous and let volunteers and people needing them pick each other based on their needs and comfort levels. I need a better word than “client” to describe people accepting help.

  • wendy

    Great ideas. I try to encourage people not to offer babysitting because it’s just fraught with issues, but to do things that encourage bonding, take stresses off the parents and kids, and model skills instead of preach. Help with filling out forms, making and keeping appointments, and basic childcare are the main concerns at first.

    Then more complex things; like laughing instead of responding angrily when a toddler plays with his food, or showing that folding laundry and playing with baby are not mutually exclusive activities, or involving older kids in housework without using guilt or anger. Setting up flexible routines for the meals and children.

    What amazes me is how quickly people take to the involvement. Sometimes moms just have the blues and need another mom to tell them that the occasional desire to jump out the window is normal. Sometimes there are home repairs to be done (I replaced a door and insulated windows– I think we all felt empowered by that experience) Other times, they just want someone to hold the baby so *they* can do the dishes or take a shower or work on a painting and not feel like the devil.

    I thought it would take years and years to see any lasting improvements but when you walk in the door and the home is clean, the little one has gained weight, the big one is reading a book, 4 of the 5 large dogs have found new homes it and mom no longer looks like she’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown– it starts sinking in that giving people attention works.

    I don’t really even have a name for it, let alone guidelines– we usually just call it the project or the non-agency. Ideally I’d want to set up a central non-profit and website with satellite local sites that are autonomous and let volunteers and people needing them pick each other based on their needs and comfort levels. I need a better word than “client” to describe people accepting help.

  • Amy

    And you might get with a teen mom high school program, have them hook you and your moms up.

  • Amy

    And you might get with a teen mom high school program, have them hook you and your moms up.

  • Amy

    Wow, that’s awesome. You have some sort of mini-curric/guidelines for volunteers? How would you screen creeps?

    Maybe if you target teens? Something like: you babysat for other moms, now let other moms babysit for you. Or how about adopt a grandma?

    Thinking about what scares them. Yeh, worry about authorities, sharing their inadequacies with a stranger. How about initial meetings someplace public, a park or mall? Ask a public library, church or school if you can use a room. I always thought a church would feel safe for that sort of rendezvous. Maybe even start it with a church to lend credibility. Start in very small amounts of time. Heck, let her walk home, shower, and come back. I would have thought that was extraordinary. Of course, safety issues too, that’s why a church might be good. Teachers who visit homes in inner city neighborhoods get robbed and assaulted at an unprecedented rate. I would have never left my baby with a stranger just because I saw some grandma services flyer.

    Hmm….. really excellent idea. Wonder how to address the sticking points.

  • Amy

    Wow, that’s awesome. You have some sort of mini-curric/guidelines for volunteers? How would you screen creeps?

    Maybe if you target teens? Something like: you babysat for other moms, now let other moms babysit for you. Or how about adopt a grandma?

    Thinking about what scares them. Yeh, worry about authorities, sharing their inadequacies with a stranger. How about initial meetings someplace public, a park or mall? Ask a public library, church or school if you can use a room. I always thought a church would feel safe for that sort of rendezvous. Maybe even start it with a church to lend credibility. Start in very small amounts of time. Heck, let her walk home, shower, and come back. I would have thought that was extraordinary. Of course, safety issues too, that’s why a church might be good. Teachers who visit homes in inner city neighborhoods get robbed and assaulted at an unprecedented rate. I would have never left my baby with a stranger just because I saw some grandma services flyer.

    Hmm….. really excellent idea. Wonder how to address the sticking points.

  • wendy

    I tried to, am trying to, organize a non-agency (more like freecycle.org before it incorporated) network for experienced moms to assist new and/or struggling moms with basic help. Cooking, home ec, child hygiene, eye contact (!) bonding, etc that would home visit, do some housework and help mom as mom needs help– without crinkling noses, tsk-tsks and judgment.

    It’s not for lack of volunteers Amy, I’m always met with enthusiasm and passion on the giving side– people want to give their time, money, extra items, a few have offered up offices and rental homes or property– but we have a heck of a time finding convincing people to accept help.

    They are convinced that we’re going to call in a social worker to remove the children for whatever reason, they are afraid that accepting help will cut off their medical benefits or foodstamps. There are language barriers. There are pride and independence issues. There are mental health issues. They feel stupid or embarrassed.

    These aren’t bad or negligent people or even those in the depths of poverty or drug addiction– but unless they learn critical thinking and coping skills they are very likely going to hurt their children or themselves.

  • wendy

    I tried to, am trying to, organize a non-agency (more like freecycle.org before it incorporated) network for experienced moms to assist new and/or struggling moms with basic help. Cooking, home ec, child hygiene, eye contact (!) bonding, etc that would home visit, do some housework and help mom as mom needs help– without crinkling noses, tsk-tsks and judgment.

    It’s not for lack of volunteers Amy, I’m always met with enthusiasm and passion on the giving side– people want to give their time, money, extra items, a few have offered up offices and rental homes or property– but we have a heck of a time finding convincing people to accept help.

    They are convinced that we’re going to call in a social worker to remove the children for whatever reason, they are afraid that accepting help will cut off their medical benefits or foodstamps. There are language barriers. There are pride and independence issues. There are mental health issues. They feel stupid or embarrassed.

    These aren’t bad or negligent people or even those in the depths of poverty or drug addiction– but unless they learn critical thinking and coping skills they are very likely going to hurt their children or themselves.

  • Amy

    Wendy,
    Thanks for the link. My daughter never slept away from me as a baby. I figured it would be cruel to leave her completely alone after she’d been so completely together with me. Would be scary for her. What I didn’t plan for was seeding her eventual solitude and pressuring her out of the bed. I confused fear and discomfort.

    I always hated that “let’r cry” attitude. After all, she was communicating a need. What I didn’t realize was that I could meet her need partially, supportively, so she had to learn to meet her own needs.

    Parenting is just so damn subtle and complicated. Even for infants who have fairly basic needs. I think of how thoughtful and intentional I was as a parent. I think of how even with my intense attention to the matter, reading and being responsive, I missed something as small as her need to learn to deal with being unhappy, dissastisfied, alone, not having her needs met by someone else right away. Now she’s grown I see those things manifest in her, things she now has to untangle and work through.

    It’s such an innocent small mistake. Then I think about the parents who are more limited, too young or have mental or intellectual limitations, addictions, who were misguided and had bad models and think parenting is like caring for a puppy, who live in cultures that scorn the subtlety of the psychology therefore never reach out when parenting is beyond them.

    As society becomes more and more electronically connected and less humanly connected, when families needn’t live in the same state, when the woes of poor communities are compounded over generations, it gets harder and harder to parent. When was there a time when a mother didn’t have someone else to hold her baby for a few hours/week? Young women go weeks on end with no hope, no help, no education, not even the simple dignity of showering freely and maybe going for a walk alone.

    Then there are affluent and middle class parents who are doing unhealthy things in the name of indulgence, empowering their kids in such a way that the child is not accountable, teaching dog-eat-dog as a noble trait, removing and setting them above the common flow of human life. I have never seen so many entitled parents who always put responsibility on others and not their child, teaching their children they are above expectations. These people don’t usually tussle with the real destroyers, drugs, crime, mundane violence, hopelessness, but in their disconnection they are making children who lack the ability to be part of an interconnected community, kids who don’t have concepts of virtue other than winning, dominating and getting yours.

    Sigh…here we conflict over the minutia of the best sleeping position and the vagaries of nudging separation while elsewhere some come up with the bright idea of tying a baby to a potty chair with shoelaces and “helping” baby sleep with booze or giving a single parent girl a male connection by letting her stay with a nudist acquaintance. There are tons of people who know not to do those things. Why are some of us not connected to those ignorant or incapable parents?

  • Amy

    Wendy,
    Thanks for the link. My daughter never slept away from me as a baby. I figured it would be cruel to leave her completely alone after she’d been so completely together with me. Would be scary for her. What I didn’t plan for was seeding her eventual solitude and pressuring her out of the bed. I confused fear and discomfort.

    I always hated that “let’r cry” attitude. After all, she was communicating a need. What I didn’t realize was that I could meet her need partially, supportively, so she had to learn to meet her own needs.

    Parenting is just so damn subtle and complicated. Even for infants who have fairly basic needs. I think of how thoughtful and intentional I was as a parent. I think of how even with my intense attention to the matter, reading and being responsive, I missed something as small as her need to learn to deal with being unhappy, dissastisfied, alone, not having her needs met by someone else right away. Now she’s grown I see those things manifest in her, things she now has to untangle and work through.

    It’s such an innocent small mistake. Then I think about the parents who are more limited, too young or have mental or intellectual limitations, addictions, who were misguided and had bad models and think parenting is like caring for a puppy, who live in cultures that scorn the subtlety of the psychology therefore never reach out when parenting is beyond them.

    As society becomes more and more electronically connected and less humanly connected, when families needn’t live in the same state, when the woes of poor communities are compounded over generations, it gets harder and harder to parent. When was there a time when a mother didn’t have someone else to hold her baby for a few hours/week? Young women go weeks on end with no hope, no help, no education, not even the simple dignity of showering freely and maybe going for a walk alone.

    Then there are affluent and middle class parents who are doing unhealthy things in the name of indulgence, empowering their kids in such a way that the child is not accountable, teaching dog-eat-dog as a noble trait, removing and setting them above the common flow of human life. I have never seen so many entitled parents who always put responsibility on others and not their child, teaching their children they are above expectations. These people don’t usually tussle with the real destroyers, drugs, crime, mundane violence, hopelessness, but in their disconnection they are making children who lack the ability to be part of an interconnected community, kids who don’t have concepts of virtue other than winning, dominating and getting yours.

    Sigh…here we conflict over the minutia of the best sleeping position and the vagaries of nudging separation while elsewhere some come up with the bright idea of tying a baby to a potty chair with shoelaces and “helping” baby sleep with booze or giving a single parent girl a male connection by letting her stay with a nudist acquaintance. There are tons of people who know not to do those things. Why are some of us not connected to those ignorant or incapable parents?

  • Alexandra

    I don’t see anything wrong with co-sleeping. If your body knows when it’s too close to the edge of the bed, it knows if there’s something–or someone–there.

    My son’s first night home from the hospital…poor little guy kept crying (only three days old) and when my husband and I took him to bed with us, he calmed down and went to sleep. I just made sure that any blankets and pillows were out of reach.

    My mother says that when I was a baby she put me face-down. I’m still here 35 years later. Back then they’d heard that face-down helped prevent SIDS.

    I think something fishy is going on though.