Losing a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a horrifying event for a parent, made all the worse by the fact that there is no known cause that can explain why a baby dies for no apparent reason. Concerned that the common practice of prone sleeping (on the stomach) might contribute to SIDS, the American Academy of Pediatrics launched the “Back to Sleep” campaign in 1992 and, from that time forward, along with its counterparts in select countries, AAP has recommended that all babies sleep on their backs at all times.
Newborns of all species begin moving, literally, toward biologically-driven goals from the moment they arrive in this world. Baby kittens, mewing loudly with eyes shut tight, are soon clamoring one on top of the other, pushing their way through a pile of wriggling siblings, in search of the mother cat’s milk. Behaving as if they were born starving, new kittens instinctively root around, attaching themselves to their matrix, with a determination that’s driven by an instinct for survival.
This post has been renamed and expanded upon from its earlier publication as “Losing the Ballgame Before It’s Begun.”
After delivering a presentation at a conference on learning disabilities recently, I was approached by a number of parents whose children are challenged with a variety of neurological disorders. One after another, they said essentially the same thing to me: “You just told my child’s story!”
This isn’t a surprise. The story I had just told, using images as much as words, is one shared by babies everywhere in our modern world who spend almost every waking and sleeping moment in a supine position (on the back) or propped up in a semi-reclining position in one sort of device or another—a bouncy seat, a baby swing, a car seat or stroller—always with the weight of the body somewhere on the back of the pelvis. This, it turns out, is a physically disempowering position Continue reading