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Empty Cradles

25 Jan

It breaks my heart and infuriates me all at the same time.  And I am feeling guilty.  Feeling like I dropped the ball.

Milwaukee – known for Laverne and Shirley, Happy Days, beer and brats,  and an infant mortality rate that rivals 3rd world and developing nations.  Many of the babies are born early (often due to lack of proper prenatal care), many are born to impoverished families, some had parents who decided to drink and share a bed with them and they all leave us far too soon.  And in most cases their loss can be prevented.

Now, when I first began this crusade, I ended up being lambasted by those touting the long lasting bonds that have been formed because of co-sleeping.  It is always a choice – it is not a law.  I personally am NOT on that bandwagon.  My children slept in their own bed from day 1.  Partially because I was following the recommendations of the medical community and partially because I wanted to be sure my kids could sleep without me – in their own beds.  I also know there are safety measures that can be put in place to reduce the risks for those who choose to co-sleep – co-sleepers for the side of the bed that allow mom easy access, but still give baby their own space; bassinets, pack-n-plays, etc.  BUT – in most of these cases that Milwaukee has seen – it ends up that there are things that COULD HAVE BEEN DONE.  Google “Milwaukee Infant Deaths”  and you will be surprised (and sickened) at the results.  It is even making news in France.

Parents/caregivers SHOULD NEVER share a bed if there are over tired, sick and taking meds that cause drowsiness, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Comforters and pillows, other children – more no-nos.  The Milwaukee Fire Department has a pack and play on their trucks and engines for any calls they go to and notice there is a baby, but no crib.  St. Joseph’s hospital has a program where you can literally walk in with your baby and they will give you a pack n play.  There are several organizations working with mothers who cannot afford the cribs to allow them a safe sleeping environment for their babies.  They just have to ask.

Here is where I dropped the ball.  Last year, I started a blog, Twitter and Facebook page called Pleasant Dreams, Sleep Tight.  The whole purpose was education and community involvement.  Then the summer came and all the kids were home, the MFD  Class of 07-26-2010 hit us full force, the boys and started at a new school and then I started working to acclimate to fire life and it totally slipped my mind – until we started losing more babies

I have lost sleep, I have had guilt hit me like you would not believe.  My husband feels I am being silly, what could I do – go house to house checking for cribs?  And in all reality, I do have to take care of my family first.  But, what if I used some of those sleepless nights and kept up with the mission I had started?  What if one of these moms happened across one of the pages? What if? What if? What if?

So, my Crusade is back on.  If one baby is saved…you know the spiel.  No more empty cradles, no more lives cut short when their death could have been prevented.