David Brinkley took to social media to explain why his wife, Alora, made the best decision for their family by agreeing to co-sleep with their toddler and baby. Brinkley’s post has sparked a debate about co-sleeping habits that led to his post going viral. David Brinkley never expected that his messaging praising his wife’s actions would be shared so widely and cause so many arguments. What shocked him most were the harshly criticized responses he received from internet trolls.
Alongside a picture of his wife sleeping with their two children, Brinkley wrote, “Do I have to squeeze into a small corner of the bed sometimes? Yeah? But my God how beautiful does she look holding my children? I just want to say that I am proud of the decisions my wife makes as a mom and I support every single one of them.”
Unfortunately for this doting father, the post unleashed a wave of harsh critics who attacked his family’s practice in the comments section of his Facebook post. One critic stated in response to Brinkley’s post, “This is dangerous for the baby. Babies should sleep alone, on their back, in a crib. Remember the A< B< Cs of safe sleep.”
Another parent denouncing the practice added, “Co-sleeping is not safe. Children get rolled on all of the time, and this type of behavior creates children who can’t sleep on their own without touch!” Brinkley also has his defenders, as some other parents disagreed with the critics and praised the Brinkley family for their habits. Others responded with pictures of them also co-sleeping with their children.
One supporter of Brinkley added, “Co-sleeping happened for thousands of years until we became a ‘civilized’ society and put the kids at the other end of the house! It calms the kids and the mothers and encourages somewhat deeper sleep.”
Another supporter also rushed to Brinkley’s defense, adding, “I love this. We did everything ‘right’ with our first child. Own cot, own room… We relaxed with numbers 2 and 3 and both co-slept till well past a year.” A controversial topic among parents for years, even experts cannot agree on whether co-sleeping is a fantastic notion or a terrible idea. Susan Castellano, a maternal and child health director at the Minnesota Department of Health, disagrees with Brinkley’s habits. “First of all, you can’t argue with [Brinkley’s] sentiment and his support of his wife. That was so sweet. But I think the danger is that we do know co-sleeping can end in infant death. It does. It happens all the time.”
Dr. James J. McKenna, who teaches anthropology as a professor and works in the Mother-Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, disagrees completely with Castellano’s assertions. McKenna has supported the practice of co-sleeping for over thirty years and has conducted much research to support his theory of safety.
“You have to go out of your way to make [co-sleeping] dangerous. No matter how many warnings or misrepresentations of inherent dangers moms and babies find themselves. Babies have always slept and always will sleep next to their mothers,” McKenna explains.
In a sweet defense of her husband’s post, which sparked so much unexpected debate for the couple, Brinkley’s wife assured the world her children are never in danger when she co-sleeps with them. “We would never put our children in a dangerous situation and our night time sleeping looks completely different than this. As far as co-sleeping goes, that was not the point of my husband’s post.”
Alora Brinkley went on to clarify that the point of her husband’s post was a way for him to support her choices as a mother and that the couple did not expect such an intense debate to spark from such a simple post.