If there are two facts that new mothers hear more than anything, it’s that folate vitamins are good and co-sleeping is bad. Well, recent studies have questioned those words of wisdom and will perhaps correct long held assumptions from parents and mainstream parenting authorities.
The folate study looked at the Norwegian mother-child cohort study that follows 32,000 children born between 2000 and 2005. The researchers noticed that mothers who took folate in the first three months of their pregnancy were more likely to have children who wheezed and had lung problems. One thing that has been pointed out is that folate alters the process of methylation and therefore alters genetic activity. Folate has been shown in mice studies to increase allergic reaction in offspring, so this look at the cohort study confirms previous research. Folate’s better qualities (helping baby’s growth) surely outweigh the risks discovered in this latest study, but pregnant mothers may want to wait until after the 1st trimester to start popping those vitamins.
Co-sleeping causes much angst and debate, and I’m not eager to start a war here. I’ll just come out and say that my personal opinion is that co-sleeping is safe unless parents are morbidly obese, extremely deep sleepers, or addicts. In this latest study, researchers showed that co-sleeping in and of itself is not a risk to the child because when you eliminate all other factors, the risk of SIDS goes away. The risk factors that make co-sleeping dangerous are parents who drink or smoke and/or have too much soft and pillowy bedding. My advice is to go with a co-sleeper that attaches to the bed, that way you have the convenience of co-sleeping without any of the potential risks.
I welcome comments on the two topics, as I have not had time to completely investigate the scientific literature.